A basic understanding of molecular biology and access to a research laboratory with PCR and gel electrophoresis equipment are required for this project.
The kit required for this project can only be purchased through a school or educational business.
Very High (over $150)
Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility.
For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.
If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.
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.
An example of DNA fingerprinting is shown in Figure 1. You can investigate your own DNA fingerprint, and that of family members, using a
Human Alu DNA Extraction and Amplification kit
from our partners at Carolina Biological and basic biotechnology techniques like PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and gel electrophoresis. 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?
Figure 1. This is an example of DNA fingerprinting made by staining DNA on a gel. (Photo courtesy of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.)
Ask an Expert
Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Guilty or not guilty? The fate of the accused in court lies with the evidence gathered at the crime scene. The job of the forensic science technician is to gather evidence and use scientific principles and techniques to make sense of it. It can be a grueling and graphic job, but very rewarding. If you like the idea of using science to help deliver justice, then you should investigate this career.
I have black hair, you have blonde hair. I have blue eyes, you have brown eyes. These, and other characteristics, describe what we look like, how tall we are, and even what our personality is, and they are all controlled by our chromosomes. Chromosomes are packages within each of our cells that hold our genes. Our chromosomes also determine if we might inherit any genetic diseases or if birth defects are present. Extracting, testing, and examining the chromosomes from cells is the job of the…
Many decisions regarding a person's health depend on knowing the patient's genetic risk of having a disease. Genetic counselors help assess those risks, explain them to patients, and counsel individuals and families about their options.
Growing, aging, digesting—all of these are examples of chemical processes performed by living organisms. Biochemists study how these types of chemical actions happen in cells and tissues, and monitor what effects new substances, like food additives and medicines, have on living organisms.
Science Buddies Staff.
(2020, November 20).