This lab activity is an excellent way to introduce students to the process of DNA gel electrophoresis and the action of restriction enzymes. Additionally, if your school does not have access to real electrophoresis equipment, this lab is a great alternative! It is well suited for a ninth or tenth grade biology class, and can be completed in a 40 minute class period.
Students will analyze the DNA samples of each of four possible suspects in a bank robbery, and compare that DNA to the DNA found at the scene of the crime using a simulated gel electrophoresis. Scissors are used to represent restriction enzymes, and the DNA banding patterns created by each individual are used to determine which suspect is a match.
Included in the zip file: Lab Document (simulated gel is located in a separate PDF), Complete Answer Key, DNA Sequence Strip Sheets
Teacher Recommendation: Use a different colored paper for each of the 5 DNA sequences so students don't mix them up. Also, selecting students to become the "suspects" usually makes the activity more fun!
**New York State Living Environment Teachers: This lab is very much like the simulated electrophoresis test (test #7) used in the Relationships and Biodiversity NYS Mandated Lab. I often like to do this lab first so my students have an easier time with that component of the state lab when we get up to it later in the year.