Year 8 Science classes visited the University of Otago Genetics Department this week to solve a murder mystery
This week the two year 8 Science classes spent an afternoon at the University of Otago Genetics Department. As we arrived we witnessed a crime scene. One of the department staff members had been murdered with a pipette and we were tasked with finding the murderer through DNA testing.
This was the context for exploring DNA and how to see the DNA fingerprint using a technique called Ge Electrophoresis. Samples of the suspects DNA were loaded onto a gel made of agarose. An electric current was passed through the gel and the DNA which is negatively charged move towards the positive electrode.
We discovered that although we all look different, our DNA is actually very similar to each other. However, we have areas in our DNA where some patterns of the bases are repeated many times. We each differ in the number of repeats we have.
We were able to match the DNA on the murder weapon with one of the suspects, and the suspect was arrested and taken away in fluffy handcuffs!!
While we were in the lab we learnt how to use a pipette which helps when we need to measure very small volumes of liquid accurately.
We also explored varieties of the fruit flies. We were interested in the mutations. We were able to observe them under the microscope and discover the different mutations of each group.