In this PCR experiment, students make billions of copies of a small amount of DNA. Students mix template DNA & Primers with PCR beads that contain all of the other components required to carry out a PCR reaction. The results of the experiment will help you to solve a crime and catch a thief.
- Learn how the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used to make multiple copies of DNA fragments
- Learn about the processes involved in DNA fingerprinting and how gene sequencing allows for genome-wide comparisons between individuals
- Appreciate the forensic implications of this area of research
- Discover how DNA fragments can be separated by size by electrophoresis
- Reinforce prior knowledge of DNA structure and function
- Consider the ethical implications of genetic research
- Practical skills including using a micropipette
- Develop existing laboratory skills
- Understand how to use an electrophoresis tanks, in particular how to pipette into wells once filled with buffer solution
- Comment on the reliability of their results; assess where mistakes were made and how they could be reduced.
- Observation skills
- Work effectively in a team
- Debate ethics of this area of research
Pre and post visit ideas:Make a DNA helix out of pipe cleaners and beads.
Collect headlines from newspapers on genetic testing and debate about how truthful they are.
Write the following on separate paper: genetic, not genetic and a variety of traits e.g. eye colour, hair colour, sickle cell anaemia, alcoholism etc. Give each student a word and they have to place it in genetic or not genetic, or you can have a spectrum to make it more flexible.
PCR, DNA, Genes, DNA fingerprinting, Genetics, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Laboratory
Medicine Matters Gallery: The Gene Mixer, Cracking the DNA Code, Gene Switch and Genetics: What would you do?
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