J.M. was convicted of attempted homicide and is currently serving a life sentence. J.M. has always maintained his innocence, and after years of appeals, the court has approved his request for DNA analysis of the evidence from his case. In this lab students will use gel electrophoresis to examine newly collected DNA evidence from J.M.’s case. Will the DNA evidence prove that J.M. was wrongly convicted, or will it only implicate him further? This lab demonstrates the power that DNA analysis brings to forensic investigations. An optional extension allows students to explore population genetics and the statistical analysis forensic scientists use to evaluate the strength of DNA evidence.
Key info and benefits:
- Techniques: Micropipetting, gel electrophoresis
- Topics: Infectious disease, molecular and clinical diagnostics, evolution, biotechnology
- Time required: Can be completed in one 45-minute class period
- The miniPCR Forensics Lab kit contains DNA samples for 8 lab groups of up to 4 students each (32 students). These DNA samples are compatible with blueGel™ or other standard DNA electrophoresis systems.
- Reinforces how molecular tools allow healthcare providers to diagnose hard-to-distinguish infections.
- Victim DNA sample
- J.M. DNA sample
- DNA Evidence 1
- DNA Evidence 2
- DNA molecular weight marker (Fast DNA Ladder 1)
- This kit provides DNA samples, DNA ladder and gel loading dye only. To perform this lab, you will require electrophoresis equipment; such as electrophoresis chamber, agarose, TBE buffer and Midori green gel stain. Our electrophoresis starter kit contains the hardware and reagents required.
- For best results, we recommend running your gels in the blueGel electrophoresis chamber. If you do not have a blueGel electrophoresis unit with built-in illuminator, we have a transilluminator onto which you can place your gels to visualise your results immediately after the electrophoresis run is complete.
- These DNA samples require frozen storage, which will keep them stable for 12 months. They are stable for a couple of weeks at room temperature.