The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Towson University Center for STEM Excellence

Bioscience Education and Outreach Program

SciTech Student Learning Laboratory

Wildlife Forensics Lab
Appropriate for grades 9 through 12

Picture of a sharkIn this lab, students will use act as wildlife forensic scientists, testing whether tissue confiscated by U.S. Customs officials comes from a protected species, the great white shark or another species of shark which is legal to possess. Using DNA gel electrophoresis, students will visualize and analyze the resulting banding pattern on an agarose gel. They will be challenged to interpret their results and provide a report to the Customs officials on the identity of the confiscated samples. This activity introduces students to one of the most powerful tools in DNA analysis, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and challenges them to identify similarities or differences among DNA molecules. The following is available for printing and download:




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