This lesson presents an interrupted case study based on the true story of the 2002 murder of Christa Worthington in Massachusetts. The case was developed for use in an undergraduate non-majors life science course, but would also be appropriate for a high school biology course or a forensic science course. During this lesson, students examine a crime scene diagram and discuss evidence collection. Students then conduct a hands-on activity extracting DNA from wheat germ to simulate how DNA would be isolated from crime scene samples. Lastly the students will analyze simulated DNA profiles produced using STRs, polymerase chain reaction, and gel electrophoresis to help match a crime scene sample to one of five suspects. The pros and cons surrounding the use of a DNA dragnet are also discussed.
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Vol. 79 • No. 9