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DNA Fingerprinting *

Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability PV92 PCR Informatics Kit available for purchase online from Bio-Rad. A teacher's help is required as Bio-Rad only sells directly to schools.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Are you interested in the technical and ethical aspects of genetic screening, forensic science, and DNA fingerprinting? Scientists use different forms of a gene, called alleles, to differentiate between two fingerprints. One such sequence used in human DNA fingerprinting is the Alu repeat (a 300 base pair repetitive sequence of DNA) on chromosome 16. During evolutionary time, up to 1 million copies of the Alu repeat have become randomly inserted throughout the human genome. Within a specific region on chromosome 16 called PV92, some of us carry an Alu repeat and some of us do not. Such small variations among individuals' genotypes are inherited. These variations are the raw material for natural selection and evolution. These subtle variations in our DNA also provide evidence about our ancestry and form the basis of personal identification via DNA fingerprinting. You can investigate these alleles in your family with the PV92 PCR Informatics Kit from the Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer Program. Which alleles are present in your family? Can you test a larger group of people and study population genetics? Do the alleles differ according to ancestry? You can extend this kit by using primers for other alleles. How does this change the fingerprint? Do you think the quality and unique identity of the fingerprint will improve as more specific alleles are used? Remember that most science fairs require Scientific Review Board approval for experiments that involve human subjects. (Bio-Rad, 2006)

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Science Buddies Staff. "DNA Fingerprinting" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 2 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/BioChem_p022.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 2). DNA Fingerprinting. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/BioChem_p022.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-02


Bio-Rad, 2006. "Biotechnology Explorer Program," Bio-Rad Laboratories [accessed 3/25/06] http://explorer.bio-rad.com.

Materials and Equipment

Note: Bio-Rad Kits are sold directly to schools. To purchase, please have your school contact Bio-Rad at 800-424-6723 to verify account information and to place the order for you. Existing accounts will have orders processed within a day, and establishing an account will take approximately 48 hours.

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Share your story with Science Buddies!

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