Many students may know about DNA fingerprinting, one application of the discovery of DNA's structure. Today, scientists use DNA "fingerprints -- genetic sequences that vary from person to person -- to observe and track patterns of inheritance. Scientists have identified about 2,000 of these variable DNA sequences. By comparing the lengths of selected sequences among individuals, they can establish paternity, track the inheritance of genetic disorders, or even solve crimes.
Students can take on the role of scientists by analyzing DNA fingerprints to solve a paternity case. Click here for a Relevent Appendix: DNA Findgerprinting worksheet you may print out and distribute to students. Students should (1) look for evidence that would determine the possibility that the alleged father is related to the child and (2) justify their conclusions.
Earth and Life Sciences Program Contents