Everyone knows the power of DNA as not only one of the building blocks of life, but also from the reliance of DNA evidence in modern forensics. Just how do scientists and crime scene investigators pull the famous double helix out of our cells or off a cotton swab though? Help your students understand the process by using the University of Utah’s DNA Extraction Virtual Lab.
The DNA Extraction Virtual Lab walks students through background information on the uses of DNA in research and forensics, where it is found and how it is obtained. They then have the ability to perform a virtual cheek swab to find cells to then burst, separate DNA from other proteins, and then isolate the concentrated DNA for analysis. The Virtual Lab also introduces students to the various processes involved as well as the equipment used to perform the DNA extraction.
This is a fantastic lab to use not only in biology and genetics lessons where actual DNA extraction is not feasible, but also in forensics classes as students learn the process of gathering DNA evidence. The DNA Extraction Virtual Lab is an excellent stand-alone activity or as an introduction to a broader study of genetics or DNA analysis.
Also of interest: Check out the website on how to Extract DNA From Any Living Thing to use as a lab or home activity to learn how to isolate the DNA from your veggies!