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Sackler Educational Laboratory for Class Trips

Lab E: Wildlife Forensics - Identifying Endangered Species through Gel Electrophoresis

October 7, 2013 - June 12, 2015



In this advanced 90 minute genetics activity, students investigate the illegal trade of endangered sturgeon species for caviar. Students load DNA digested with restriction enzymes into an agarose gel and run gel electrophoresis to visualize unique DNA fingerprints of different sturgeon species. Students will understand that restriction enzymes are used to cut the DNA of different species in different places, resulting in each species' unique pattern. 


Grades 9-12 Science

Essential Question: How can we identify different species unique DNA fingerprints using restriction enzymes?

Students will be able to explain how different enzymes cut DNA into different length fragments and how these length differences make up a species unique DNA fingerprint.

When: Monday - Friday
Morning Lab: 10:30am - 12:00pm


Living Environment Key Idea 2: Organisms inherit genetic information in a variety of ways that result in continuity of structure and function between parents and offspring.

New York State Science Core Curriculum
Major Understanding 2.2c: Different enzymes can be used to cut, copy, and move segments of DNA.



AMNH Bio Bulletin, "Biologists Push to Save Sturgeon"
Click here.


"The Last Sturgeon"
Click here.


American Museum of Natural History

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New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

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except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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