DNA fingerprinting is routinely used to identify individuals based on their genetic makeup. The power of DNA as a tool for identification has been harnessed in a broad range of human applications, from forensic science to paternity testing, as well as in ecology and biodiversity conservation. As backdrop to this DNA gel electrophoresis investigation, students will help marine biologists understand the source of shark attacks that are frightening Australian beachgoers.
This guided-inquiry activity exposes students to the fundamental principles of DNA analysis comparing patterns of cleaved DNA by gel electrophoresis. Students will gain familiarity with DNA gel electrophoresis techniques and engage in determining DNA fragment size to compare presumed shark identities.
- Techniques utilized: gel electrophoresis, DNA visualization, DNA fingerprint analysis
- Time required: can be completed in a 45 min. class period
- Reagents needed: ‘Shark Attack’ reagents kit (included in this product), blueGel™ starter kit (electrophoresis reagents, available separately, RG1510-01)
Suggested skill level: Intended for any student seeking basic familiarity with DNA gel electrophoresis and micropipetting, from middle school to college.
The blueGel™ Electrophoresis Shark Attack Lab kit contains reagents for 8 lab groups of up to 5 students each (40 students):
- 4 DNA samples for fingerprinting analysis
- 1 tube of DNA molecular weight marker (DNA Ladder)
- 6X gel loading dye
- Reagents are compatible with blueGel™ or other standard DNA electrophoresis systems