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Others Like “Who Done It? DNA Fingerprinting and Forensics”

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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail When biologists want to separate different pieces of DNA, RNA, or proteins they use a technique called gel electrophoresis. In this science project you'll build a gel electrophoresis chamber and use it to discover how many components are in different colors of food coloring dye. Read more
BioChem_p028
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Imagine that you want to create your own brand of colored candies. You know they would be a success if only you could figure out how to make a certain color, such as purple. How can you do this when government regulators have approved just a few food dyes? First, you will need to find out how your competitors make all of their colors from these few dyes. Do different candy brands use the same or different dyes? This can be figured out with gel electrophoresis, a technique commonly used in… Read more
BioChem_p039
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires a [# Link Name="BioChem_p039.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Use caution when heating the agarose. Never connect more than five 9-volt (V) batteries together for this project.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail 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… Read more
BioChem_p022
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability [# Link Name="BioChem_p022.5" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] available for purchase online from Bio-Rad. A teacher's help is required as Bio-Rad only sells directly to schools.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like solving mysteries? In this experiment, you can find out how a DNA fingerprint can help you figure out whodunit. The answer might just be in the "sequence" of events! Read more
BioChem_p016
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail First came the and now (drum roll please) the . Confused? Not surprising as the Human Proteome Project has not received the kind of press that the Human Genome Project did. Nonetheless it is a major, and potentially important, scientific undertaking. Just as the genome is the complete set of an organism's DNA, the proteome is all the proteins expressed in an organism. Why study the proteome? It is because proteins are the work horses of biological systems, performing all of the biochemical… Read more
BioChem_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with gel electrophoresis equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability This science project requires the purchase of Bio-Rad's [# Link Name="BioChem_p020.5" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. You will need a teacher's help to order the kit as Bio-Rad only sells directly to schools.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision in the laboratory facility is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have your favorite foods been genetically modified? Genetically modified (GM) foods do not require labeling in the USA, and foods with less than 5% content from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be labeled "GMO free." In Europe and Asia, GM foods require labeling only if they contain more than 1% GM content. You can investigate whether your favorite food products, like corn tortilla chips, are made from genetically modified organisms using the from the Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer… Read more
BioChem_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability Requires purchase of Bio-Rad's [# Link Name="BioChem_p025.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. A teacher's help is needed to order as Bio-Rad sells directly to schools.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Native plants are important for both ecological and medicinal reasons. However, most native plants are not very well studied. One way to know more about these plants is to understand which other species of plants they are most closely related to. In this science project you will sequence part of the chloroplast genome from a native plant and use this information to determine its evolutionary relationship to other species of plants. If the plant you chose has not been sequenced before, you can… Read more
Genom_p012
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites High school biology class; familiarity with using the PCR machine and gel electrophoresis equipment, and/or using the equipment with a mentor.
Material Availability You will need specialized pieces of equipment, including a PCR machine (thermocycler) and a gel electrophoresis apparatus. If your school does not have this equipment you might want to seek out a mentor at a junior college, university, or biotechnology company. If you have the resources you can do the DNA sequencing yourself, otherwise you can send the samples to Dr. Baysdorfer at California State University, East Bay, see Experimental Procedure for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety This project uses ethidium bromide, which is a carcinogen. Always wear gloves and safety goggles when handling. Dispose of the ethidium bromide according to your school or institute's hazardous waste protocols. If you have concerns, ask your teacher or mentor for advice.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Ever used a pair of molecular scissors? Restriction enzymes are molecular scissors that cut DNA into pieces. Find out which enzymes will cut, and where by making a restriction map. Then you can figure out what will happen if you change the sequence of the DNA. Will the same enzymes still cut the new DNA sequence? Read more
BioChem_p014
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Is it possible to manipulate bacteria to become protein production factories? Can diabetics control blood glucose with insulin produced by bacteria? How cool would it be to take advantage of these microorganism's sophisticated makeup, short doubling times and cheap growth media to mass produce medically and commercially useful proteins? All of these are possible with a few simple genetic manipulations. By the end of this project you would know the basic foundation on which many… Read more
BioChem_p013
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some laboratory experience required: knowledge of sterile technique, working with bacterial cultures, and using automatic pipets all helpful.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Requires adult supervision in a laboratory facility. For ISEF-affiliated fairs, this project will require [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ScientificReviewCommitteeSRC" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="SRC" #] approval.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever looked at two girls and thought they looked so similar that they must be sisters? What about a father and his son — have you ever seen a boy who looked just like how his father did when he was younger? We can often tell that two people are related because they appear to have several similar physical traits. This is because children receive half of their DNA — their genetic blueprints — from each parent. What about fingerprints — are they an inherited trait?… Read more
Genom_p009
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of genetic inheritance

Consent forms must be signed for each person participating in this experiment. You should inform people that although fingerprints can be used as forms of identification, you will assign their fingerprints a code and not use their name so that the fingerprints remain anonymous. For children under the age of 18, parents must grant consent. In addition, the fair's Scientific Review Committee (SRC) must approve the experimental design (including consent forms).

Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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