DNA Learning Center Kits


Detecting Genetically Modified Food by PCR

Explore a modern application of genetic engineering through this exciting laboratory activity. This activity investigates whether the soy or corn ingredients in various processed foods contain a genetic modification. Students isolate DNA from wild-type and GM plant material, and from food products of their choice. They use the extracted DNA as a template in 2 separate PCR reactions run under the same conditions. One reaction serves as a positive control to amplify a portion of the tubulin gene found in all plants, and the other assays for genetic modification. Each group works with a plant control and a food product.

Detecting a "Jumping Gene" in Arabidopsis

A great lab for increasing students' understanding of the relationship between genotype and phenotype! Students isolate DNA from Arabidopsis thaliana with either the curly leaf or wild-type leaf phenotype and perform PCR to determine the genot Correlate genotype with phenotype.

Using a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) to Predict Bitter Tasting Ability

This kit explores the molecular basis of the inherited ability to taste the bitter chemical phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), which was first described in the 1930's by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientist Albert Blakeslee. Students determine their ability to taste PTC using taste paper. They then use safe saline mouthwash and Chelex extraction to obtain a sample of their own DNA and amplify a 221-nucleotide region of the PTC taste receptor gene. The 2 alleles differ by a single nucleotide, so restriction digestion of the amplified product followed by gel electrophoresis effectively differentiates the 2 alleles. One allele strongly correlates to the ability to taste PTC. After scoring their SNP genotypes, students determine how well the SNP genotypes actually correlate to tasting.

Using an Alu Insertion Polymorphism to Study Human Populations

Students use safe saline mouthwash or hair and Chelex extraction to obtain a sample of their own DNA. Then they use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify a 300-nucleotide Alu insertion into an intron of H-cadherin gene. Gel electrophoresis seperates the 2 alleles, and each student determines their own genotype. The experiment provides an introduction to human population genetics, as participants learn to score genotypes and calculate genotype and allele frequencies.

Recovering the Romanovs

Students learn how DNA and other forensic evidence can be used to solve an intriguing historical mystery. This CD-ROM is an interactive exploration adapted from DNA Interactive. First, students learn about the privileged lives and untimely deaths of Tsar Nicholas and the Romanov family during the Russian Revolution. Then they use computer forensics and DNA comparisons to determine if bones found in an unmarked grave in Siberia belong to the murdered members of the Romanov family. Finally, students use DNA sequence evidence to solve the mystery of Princess Anastasia Romanov: Did she survive the massacre? Was she the woman named Anna Anderson? Includes a printable teacher's guide and reproducible student workbook.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
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