Trades and Technical HS
Students will read and discuss the article “Genome’s Riddle: Few Genes, Much Complexity” by Nicholas Wade (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2001). They will use the article as an introduction to a trip to the Museum of Natural History’s “The Genomic Revolution” exhibit. They will complete the experience with a laboratory exercise on DNA Electrophoresis and Forensic Science from Carolina Biological.
New York Times Article “Genome’s Riddle: Few Genes, Much Complexity” by Nicholas Wade (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2001)
Materials on Genetics
to the exhibit
with Internet access
a. Read the above-mentioned article in groups of four.
list of questions related to the article.
Class discussion on article and questions.
Assign genetic terms (DNA and RNA, gene and chromosome, meiosis and mitosis,
exons and introns) to the various groups and have them use the Internet and
other references to research the terms. They must create a chapter of a
children’s book explaining the terms. Each group’s work will be put together
to create a book.
II: Trip to AMNH Exhibit
will be able to visit the DNA learning lab where they will isolate and sequence
their own DNA with the use of a centrifuge, PCR thermal cycler and a DNA
S2- Demonstrates an understanding of the cell
an understanding of big unifying concepts
individually and in teams to collect and share data and ideas
technology and tools to measure objects, organisms, and phenomena
scientific competence by completing fieldwork.
III: Lab on DNA Electrophoresis and Forensic Science
DNA Electrophoresis and Forensics
will be able to:
Materials: Can be purchased from
samples (victim, suspect 1, suspect 2)
Overview: DNA isolation from blood, hair, skin cells, or other genetic
evidence left at the scene of a crime can be compared with the DNA of a criminal
suspect to determine guilt or innocence. This is due to the fact that every
person has a different sequence. Scientists use a small number of sequences of
DNA that are known to vary among individuals, and analyze those to get a
possibility of a match. DNA is
isolated, cut using restriction enzymes and sorted by size by gel
electrophoresis. DNA is placed in a gel and an electrical charge is applied to
the gel. The positive charge is at the top and the negative charge is at the
bottom. Because DNA has a slightly negative charge, the pieces of DNA will be
attracted to the bottom. The smaller pieces move more quickly towards the bottom
than the larger pieces. The DNA can then be analyzed.
will create a crime scene scenario and students will be given information to
assist them in determining how the crime was committed and who might be suspect.
Students will work in groups of four. The teacher will prepare any needed
material to expedite time. Each group will obtain their gel chambers, agarose,
1. Pour agarose gel into the gel electrophoresis chamber.
2. Place a comb in the agarose and allow it to harden.
3. When the agarose is solid, cover it with TBE electrophoresis buffer and remove the
4. In the first well, pipette DNA from the victim. Using a clean pipette each time, place. DNA from suspect 1 into the second well and DNA from suspect 2 into the third well.
5. Put lid on gel chamber and plug into the power supply. Allow the fragments to separate.
1. Visualize the bands by placing the gel carefully in methylene blue stain. Let the stain set for 30 minutes, remove and place the gel in distilled water to destain.
2. Set the gel on the white light source and compare the bands.
3. Measure and draw the bands exactly as they appear on the gel.
4. Determine which suspect was at the scene of the crime and write a one page report supporting your suspicion.
Referenced Science Standards
S2-Demonstrates a knowledge of life science concepts
S4a-Demonstrates an understanding of big unifying concepts
S5f-Works individually and in teams to collect and share data and ideas
S6a-Uses technology and tools to measure objects, organisms, and phenomena
S7b-Argues from evidence