Flight450 minilab - Context

There’s been an accident at Pierre-Édouard Tremblay airport. The plane had just taken off for a transatlantic flight when it crashed at the end of the runway. Witnesses report that a fire broke out on impact. The emergency slides were deployed and most of the passengers and crew were able to evacuate the plane. Unfortunately, the accident claimed eleven victims, five of whom have not been identified.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is currently investigating the causes of the crash. The Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale du Québec was tasked with identifying the victims.

Students will conduct a few standard tests (blood, mass density of objects, urine analysis) that will help them identify some of the victims. But to identify the last victim, they will need to perform DNA testing.

During the learning and evaluation situation, students will use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to replicate real fragments of human DNA. They will then analyze the result of the PCR by having DNA migrate in agarose gel electrophoresis.

By the end of this process, you and your students will have uncovered the secrets of analyzing DNA results!