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Name _________________________ Date _______ Pd.

______ Page # __________

Virtual Lab: Gel Electrophoresis


Applications of DNA Technology

Keys to remember for the lab:


• DNA is the information molecule in EVERY living thing
• Everyone’s DNA is unique to that individual (except for identical twins)
• If you can find a cell belonging to some one, then you can basically get a sample
of his/her DNA
• DNA has a slightly negative charge to it (and opposite charges attract)
• Enzymes are proteins that are able to break or form bonds between atoms

Procedure:
1. Go to the website http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sheppard/analyze.html . (You will
need Adobe flash player to use the site.)

2. Read the introductory information.

3. Click on the Part I exercise: “It Takes A Lickin’…” to find out the details about the
crime behind the lab.

4. Click on the “Part 2: DNA Fingerprinting at the NOVA Lab” link. Follow the
directions to the virtual lab, and answer the following questions as you go:

• What do restriction enzymes do?

Cut DNA strands into shorter segments

• Which fragments of DNA travel the fastest? Why?

Smaller fragments move faster because the agarose gel has high viscosity

• What causes the DNA fragments to move through the gel?

The slight electrical charge. The DNA fragments are slightly negative so they

move towards the positive end

• What do the probes poured onto the DNA do?

The probes attach themselves to the corresponding DNA parts along the nylon

membrane, allowing the DNA fragments to give off radioactivity.

5. Click on “Part 3: Evaluate the evidence; Choose the Culprit,” and follow the
instructions as you try to decide who the criminal is. Answer these questions as you go.
Name _________________________ Date _______ Pd. ______ Page # __________

• How can we conclude which sister (if any) was behind the crime?
The saliva’s DNA prints were identical to Honey’s DNA so she is the culprit.

• Sketch what the DNA fingerprint taken from the crime scene looks like. 

Honey:

• What does each dark band (or stripe) of the fingerprint represent?

Locations on the nylon membrane where the probes attached themselves to the

DNA fragments

6. Summary: Explain how the fact that each person has a unique sequence of DNA leads
to a gel electrophoresis of their DNA producing a unique fingerprint image. Use new
terms from the virtual lab in your explanation.

Since everyone's DNA segments are arranged in unique ways, the probes attach
themselves in different ways for different people’s segments. When the probes give off
radioactivity, the DNA “fingerprints” look differently on the x-ray images.

Since everyone's DNA segments are arranged in unique ways, the probes attach
themselves in different ways for different people’s segments. The probes arrange
differently for different DNAs, and therefore the x-ray images look different for every
person.