Identifying Penguin Species with Restriction Enzymes

In this simple exercise, students simulate how restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis can be used to identify different species of penguins.

The first section describes how DNA fingerprints are made using restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis. Students label an image that outlines the steps in the process.

The next section describes how the HaeIII enzyme cuts DNA at specific cites (GG/CC). Five sequences from different penguins are listed. Students find the restriction enzyme site in each sequence. This creates fragments of different lengths, or base-pairs.

By comparing the lengths of the fragments to the five penguins, students can identify which DNA sample belongs to which animal. This is a great way to introduce students to DNA biotechnology! Plus, who doesn’t love penguins!

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