Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

DNA Profiling: The Great Escape

Farmer Jamie needs your help to find a mischievous sheep. Can you use evidence from the farm and DNA profiling to solve the mystery?

Learning Level: National 5, National Certificate: Applied Science, Higher 

Location: Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre, University of Edinburgh Easter Bush Campus, EH25 9RG

Availability: Mid-Late January 2020 | March 2020 | June 2020

Minimum attendance: 16   

Maximum attendance: 24

Duration: 3-4 hours

Cost: £5 per student

Workshop Description

Farmer Jamie owns a small herd of Shetland sheep. During the past few weeks, they have escaped several times from their paddock, each time breaking the fence and causing havoc on the rest of the farm. Jamie needs your help to discover the identity of the mischievous sheep using clues from the scene of the escape and DNA profiling to compare the DNA of five sheepy suspects.

Learning Objectives

  • To understand DNA structure and function
  • To understand that there are some characteristics that we cannot see and that DNA technology can reveal
  • To understand that we can identify individuals using DNA profiling
  • To understand how restriction enzymes cut DNA
  • To interpret and discuss experimental results

Techniques used

  • Micropipetting
  • Restriction digest*
  • DNA gel electrophoresis

Workshop timeline

  • Analysis of sheep fleece from the scene of the escape
  • Introduction to micropipettes
  • Restriction digest of DNA samples*
  • Introduction to DNA profiling and DNA fragment analysis
  • DNA electrophoresis using agarose gels
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • Discussion linked to workshop topic

*Full-day workshop includes DNA digest with restriction enzymes, shorter workshop uses pre-digested DNA samples.


Risk Assessment