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Chapter 28 : Forensic DNA Typing
This chapter contains three easy activities that illustrate applications of DNA typing plus a reading about applications of DNA analysis to human remains found at an archaeological site. The original reference for the archaeology case is listed. In Exercise 1, students assign babies to the correct pair of parents based on DNA profiles. In Exercise 2, students analyze DNA typing data to determine if I. M. Megabucks, a recently deceased megabillionaire, is actually the father of any of three children alleged to be his heirs. This activity can be done, with some discussion, by students who have completed Comparing Genomes. Students should also have completed DNA Scissors (the introduction to restriction enzymes) and DNA Goes to the Races (the introduction to electrophoresis) before doing this activity. DNA-based identification methods focus on highly variable regions of the human genome. To conduct DNA typing, the students must have a DNA containing sample. In paternity cases, blood is drawn from the child, its mother, and the alleged father, and DNA is extracted from the white cells. The first DNA-typing methods used Southern hybridization; now, PCR-based approaches are increasingly popular. It is not possible to say that no small ethnic group anywhere has a special, common DNA-typing profile not often seen in any other population—not unless everyone everywhere has been typed. In about one out of three cases, the perpetrator was unknown to the victim.
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- Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism