RFLP Paternity Testing -- A Simulation
- Teacher: Janet K. Williams
- Tampa, FL
- Subject: Biology, AP Biology, Genetics
- Grade Level(s): 9 10 11 12
- Target Audience: Biology I & II, AP Biology
- Materials Needed: Pre-made bead sets
- Class Time: 20-30 minutes
- Brief Summary:
After learning the mechanism of gel electrophoresis in DNA profiling, students will use simulated autorads to discover the principle utilized to determine paternity.
- Student Objective(s):
Students will discover the reasoning used to compare autorads for the determination of paternity.
- Description of Activities:
Students will be given a set of four bead strands (representing the mother, child and two possible fathers), which simulate autoradiographic results of DNA profiling. Without guidance, they must determine which man appears to be the father, and must write a summary of the logic used in their determination. Group results could then be presented to the class. (The students would have been instructed previously in basic patterns of inheritance and principles of electrophoresis.)
- Integration (tying it all together):
This lesson is designed to be a portion of a much more extensive genetics unit. Mendelian genetics provide a background for this concept, and must precede it. Extensions of this lesson could involve social/ethical/legal implications of paternity issues, as well as criminalistic applications of DNA profiling technology. Situational creative writing assignments could focus on the role of a genetic counselor in presenting such results to the mother and the suspect fathers.
- Further Information and References:
Two colors of beads are strung on lengths of ribbon -- one to represent the background of the autorad and one to represent the dyed bands. The bands seen in the child's autorad must be accounted for on either the mother's bead strand or the actual father's.
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