VNTR Analysis: The Science Behind DNA Fingerprinting

Overview:  In this lab, students will analyze a single VNTR locus (Variable Number of Tandem Repeats) known as D1S80 in several different subjects.  They will use agarose gel electrophoresis to separate PCR products and compare the bands on the gel to a DNA ladder in order to determine each subject's genotype.

Curriculum Connections:  DNA structure, genetic variation, heredity, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

Experimental Timing:  From start to finish this lab takes a single 45-50 minute class period.  Additional time may be required if you choose to have students prepare their own gels.

Specialized Equipment Required: p20 micropipettes • gel electrophoresis unit with power supplies (each student group will run four samples plus a ladder)  blue or UV light source  centrifuge (optional)