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DNA fingerprinting simplified
Date:5/13/2008

another experiment from the study, Trigiano continued: The second laboratory exercise requires more extensive equipment and a more advanced set of skills, but the exercise has been completed successfully by middle school-level through graduate-level students and teachers. In this exercise, the internally transcribed spacer region of the ribosomal subunit for a fungus, plant, and insect are amplified and separated electrophoretically on agarose gels. A simple crime is solved using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA fingerprinting.

The experiments outlined in the study provide students with hands-on practice assembling master mixes for PCR, using pipettes, and performing the various steps involved in PCR amplification. Instructions for both exercises are formatted in easy-to-follow procedure boxes, and a downloadable presentation is available on the web. The cost of supplies is about one dollar per student, making these exercises relatively inexpensive to conduct.

Dr. Trigiano hopes the experiments will be a vehicle to introduce electrophoresis to students of all ages. The experiments are fun, engaging and inexpensive compared to most commercially available kits. The downloadable PowerPoint presentation also helps explain the process visually. The techniques are easily understood and completed by students of all ages with a minimum of equipment and other resources.

Trigiano attributes his son Andrew for much of the research studys success. Andrew did most of the PowerPoint presentation, the dye figures in the article, much of the experimentation with the dyes and helped develop the dye-based forensic exercise. From the results, its clear that this teenager has science in his DNA.


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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