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DNALC Live: DNA Fingerprint


Date: Friday, March 27, 2020
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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In this lab, participants will learn how to extract DNA and analyze it to look for whether a transposon called Alu is found at a location on chromosome 16 called PV92. Discovered by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Nobel Prize winning researcher Barbara McClintock, transposons, or jumping genes, are pieces of DNA that actively move or get copied from one chromosomal location to another. Thousands of years ago, the Alu at PV92 “jumped” into this location in one person. Now, people all over the world can have the insertion at PV92, and all of them must be related. Learn how you can figure out if PV92 shows that you are part of this giant family!

In this session, participants will learn how:

    • to extract and purify DNA from human epithelial cells;
    • to amplify the PV92 locus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR);
    • to analyze PCR products and score Alu genotypes by gel electrophoresis;
    • polymorphic sites are used to track human migrations and populations.


Audience: Grades 10 and above
Duration: 1 hour