NOVA Online (click here for NOVA home)
Killer's Trail
Site Map

Jimmy and lollipop Create a DNA Fingerprint
Part 1: It Takes a Lickin'...

The Crime
On the evening of November 1, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Jimmy Sweet entered his bedroom, walked over to his desk, and sat down at his computer. While reaching for the computer's switch he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, that one of the items on a typically well-organized shelf was out of place.

Jimmy shot across the room for a closer examination. Sure enough, the object in question had indeed been disturbed.

The object had been sealed in an air-tight package. The package was now ripped open. The object was still inside, but it was no longer in its original condition. In Jimmy's eyes, it was now worthless.

Jimmy pulled out what had been his most-valued possession—his holographic NOVA lollipop. The confectionery treat was now a sticky mess. Someone had obviously indulged him- or herself in its sugary molecules. The lollipop's holographic image had been licked away.

The Suspects
The culprits
The prime suspects in this case are Jimmy's seven sisters: Candy, Cookie, Sugar, Lolly, Honey, Brandee, and Carmela. Each one of these sisters is a notorious candy lover and is easily capable of committing this crime of confection.

The suspects have been detained. DNA fingerprints of each are available.

What You Need to Do
Fortunately for this case, a lollipop cannot be licked without leaving behind a bit of saliva.

Your task, as NOVA Lab's chief technician, is to create a DNA fingerprint from the saliva left on the lollipop. You must then use the fingerprint to single out the culprit of this crime.

Part 2: DNA Fingerprinting at the NOVA Lab

Chronology of a Murder | Science in the Courtroom
Create a DNA Fingerprint | 3-D Mug Shot | Cleared by DNA
Resources | Transcript | Site Map

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000