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Others Like “What Makes a DNA Fingerprint Unique?”

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 Do you like reading detective stories or watching crime shows on TV? This advanced project idea in the area of forensic science might be right for you. Read more
BioChem_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites High School Biology
Material Availability This project requires you to order specialty items and have access to some laboratory equipment, see the Materials & Equipment section for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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 Woolly mammoths shook the ground of ice-age tundras for millennia, living next to saber tooth tigers and prehistoric man. Although they have been extinct for thousands of years, scientists continue to learn more and more about this mighty animal. Some of the most exciting new research is being produced by looking at DNA extracted from the hair and bones of woolly mammoths entombed in ice. In this genomics science fair project, you will use bioinformatics tools to determine the woolly mammoth's… Read more
Genom_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with basic biological concepts, including DNA, proteins, and mutations.
Material Availability Must have access to the Internet.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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 How do scientists "copy" DNA? They use a process called the Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR. The key to making this process work is having a short piece of DNA, called a primer, that will stick to the larger piece of DNA you want to copy, called a template. In this science project, you will test how the number of matches and mismatches in a primer will affect its ability to stick, or anneal, to the DNA template during PCR. Read more
BioChem_p017
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A large number of magnets are needed.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
The DNA in our cells contains our "blueprints," but it's the proteins in our cells that do most of the work. The Human Genome Project has allowed us to start reading the blueprints, but we still don't understand what most of the proteins do. This is a fairly advanced project that explores ways of identifying the function of unknown proteins. Read more
Genom_p002
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites High School Biology, excellent computer skills
Material Availability None required
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Imagine that a biologist arrived at your big family reunion and had no idea who were sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., but tried to sort it out by how all of you look. Just based on how you look, would s/he be able to guess whether the kid standing next to you is your sister or your cousin? The biologist might be able to make some good guesses this way, but by using samples of your family's DNA, s/he could construct your whole family tree. In this project, you'll use Web-based computer… Read more
Genom_p001
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites High School Biology, excellent website navigation skills
Material Availability None required
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Did you ever wonder about your ancient ancestors? Who they were? Where they came from? In this science project, you will investigate the secrets of your distant past as revealed by your DNA. In order to obtain a sample for DNA analysis, you will scrape a soft swab inside your mouth to collect cheek cells. The cheek cell sample will be sent to a lab for processing, and the results of the analysis will be sent to you. Based on the genetic markers in your DNA, the ancient clan that your… Read more
Genom_p014
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with the concepts of basic human genetics.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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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