- Teacher: Carole A. MacMullan
- Subject: RFLP
- Grade Level(s): 9 10 11 12 13
- Target Audience: Biology I, II, AP Biology, Genetics
- Materials Needed: overhead, magnetic blackboard
- Class Time: 15 minutes
- Brief Summary: This lab simulation is built around the scenario of
lost baby. The students are introduced to the lost baby and circumstances surrounding her dilemma. In order to find her parents, each male student is given a blue DNA paper strip and each girl is given a pink DNA strip. By using the restriction enzyme EcoR1, they create
restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP), analyze the results, and solve the mystery of the lost baby.
- Student Objective(s): Students will simulate the steps involved in creating a DNA fingerprint by the RFLP technique. They will analyze RFLP patterns to determine the parentage of a missing baby.
- Integration (tying it all together): This simulation helps students
understand that DNA is the genetic basis of each person's uniqueness. By completing the steps of DNA fingerprinting, students can easily understand how DNA technology is
being used to identify this uniqueness and identify murderers, assailants and missing persons. In other words, they can see the practical use of DNA and DNA technology in today's society.
- Description of Activities: RFLP's are being used in a variety of
circumstances: in murder cases, immigration cases and kidnapping, as well as
identification of bodies of accident victims and combat victims. The focus of this lab
stimulation is to define how RFLP's are obtained and used. Two biology teachers from
North Carolina and Washington have designed a fun and easy simulation of the RFLP technique to solve the mystery of a missing child. Each student is given a different paper
version of a 100 base pair DNA and a Eco R1 restriction enzyme with which to cut their
DNA into fragments. By counting the number of bases in the DNA fragments, they create a DNA fingerprint and use it to determine the parentage of a lost baby. One male student
and one female student match the RFLP pattern of the lost baby and are the baby's parents.
- Further Information and References: Discover, October 1990, "Genetics Wars"
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