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. See this page for details on how to purchase kits from Bio-Rad.|
AbstractAre 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. An example of DNA fingerprinting is shown in Figure 1, below. 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)
Figure 1. This is an example of DNA fingerprinting made by staining DNA on a gel. (Photo courtesy of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.)
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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
BibliographyBio-Rad, 2006. "Biotechnology Explorer Program," Bio-Rad Laboratories [accessed 3/25/06] http://explorer.bio-rad.com.
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Materials and EquipmentNote: Bio-Rad Kits are sold directly to schools. Please visit this page to learn how to purchase one.
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