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DNA Detectives

Many of the revolutionary changes that have occurred in biology since 1970 can be attributed directly to the ability to manipulate DNA in defined ways. The principal tools for this recombinant DNA technology are enzymes that can "cut and "paste" DNA. Restriction enzymes are the "chemical scissors" of the molecular biologist; these enzymes cut DNA at specific nucleotide sequences. A sample of someone's DNA, incubated with restriction enzymes, is reduced to millions of DNA fragments of varying sizes. A DNA sample from a different person would have a different nucleotide sequence and would thus be enzymatically "chopped up" into a very different collection of fragments. We have been asked to apply DNA fingerprinting to determine which suspect should be charged with a crime perpetrated in our city.

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Resource Type: Teaching strategies & guidelines, Laboratory exercise, Assessment- tool
Audience Level: High school lower division 9-10, High school upper division 11-12

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Suzanne Black of Inglemoor High School, Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Publisher: Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No

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