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DNA Profiling

All organisms, including humans, have short sequences of nitrogenous bases that are repeated
again and again in their DNA. This DNA varies tremendously from individual in patterns and
organization of the bases. Two techniques of electrophoresis and the use of restriction enzymes are
how DNA types are differentiated.
DNA profiling has also been used to try to determine the identity of the remains of dead
people. Many people claimed that the Tsar of Russia and his family were shot during the Russian
Revolution and bodies were shown to prove this. The identity of these bodies was not conclusive until
DNA fingerprinting was brought in. By taking blood samples of distant relatives of the Romanov’s,
DNA patterns could be established. Samples from the bodies showed similar DNA patterns and the
colclusion was that the bodies were likely to be the Romanov family.

DNA Fingerprint: This picture (an autorad) is the result of the electrophoresis machine.

The following activities show the practical applications of DNA profiling and/or electrophoresis.

Activity 1
Complete the online tutorial on how to do profiling at:
There is information here on RFLP’s, electrophoresis, and what is involved in being a DNA analyst Go
all the way through trying to answer the questions that analyze the autorads of this family. The last
page is a list of further resources if you are interested.

Activity 2
Go to this website: “Putting DNA to Work”
This website contains a number of modules, several of which are review. The modules do include
sound if you have your headphones. The first one at the top, Probe the Sequence, is an
introduction to DNA Fingerprinting and what we need to make it work. The 2nd, Inherited
Disease, is an absolutely great video on why early genetic screening is important. The 3rd
activity “Catch a Criminal” is what you HAVE to do. The last 2 activities are very good as well,
and display other uses of our genetic knowledge.
Activity 3
This PBS site takes you through an interactive DNA study. I hope the shockwave works on
our labs in the computer lab!!

Activity 4
This link takes you to the beginning of a complete learning module on DNA, protein synthesis
and biotechnology. Specifically I want you to go through the information on DNA profiling
but everything else (in the left hand side menu and subtopics is great review.) Click on
“What is Biotechnology?” to get started.

Then, under Human Uses, go to DNA profiling. At the bottom of that page (read it!) there
is a link to an interactive DNA profiling activity. Investigate the “robbery” and the “will.”
Did you get the correct answers to both of the scenarios?

Activity 5
These are great animations on how the different techniques used in genetic engineering are
completed. The Sanger sequencing is basically a type of DNA profiling. You won’t need to
spend too much time here but the modules are good review. Don’t bother with the stem
cells as that is not on our syllabus.