MadSci Network: Molecular Biology

Re: What equipment do I need to make a DNA Fingerprint

Date: Fri Dec 15 13:53:13 2006
Posted By: Dale L. Laux, Staff, Serology/DNA, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification
Area of science: Molecular Biology
ID: 1163227243.Mb

Dear Shivalika,

You have set very high goals.  I've thought quite a lot about your 
question and unfortunately, I have to tell you that it would be nearly 
impossible for you to obtain a profile, even using the equipment at a 
university lab; at least not how we do it in a crime laboratory.  The 
equipment and reagents that we use to obtain a profile (13 loci) are 
hundreds of thousands of dollars and the analysts train for a year.  It's 
not quite as simple as it appears on TV.

Rather than leave you discouraged, I browsed the internet and found some 
sites that have projects that are more attainable.  An excellant project 
can be found at
excellant project that I've recommended to students can be found at:

These are ways to study and explain DNA without the tremendous cost of 
reagents and equipment.  

If you are determined to obtain a DNA profile from an envelope, perhaps 
you can contact the South Carolina State Crime Laboratory and check to see 
whether they would accept a student as an intern or show you how samples 
are analyzed.  

I hope this helps and good luck with your project.


Dale L. Laux
Forensic Scientist 

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