August 10, 2005
Bobby began the day by giving the class an introductiong to DNA testing and its uses in forensic science. The class then had an activity in which they looked at information form the murder of the Romanov family, the family of the last Tsar of Russia. The students wokred to identify the bodies found in a grave and prove whether or not they were the Tsar, Tsarina, and their children. They looked at the DNA of the boides and compared tandem repeats to identify the parents of the children found in the grave. Using an Excel simulation of gel electrophoresis for their investigation the students also performed paternity tests. To ensure more accurate results, the class used six different DNA samples for each of the nine bodies.
Once they had identified the parents of the children they analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) in the bodies to determine if the children were from the Tsar's family. Since mDNA is passed on through the mother's side of the family and all family members have the same mDNA, they were able to take a distant relatives mDNA for comparison. Using this information they proved that the three children and the parents were members of the Romanov family. They also determined that the bodies of Anastasia and Alexei, the Tsar's two other children, were missing.
Afterwards the class moved into an experiment with ink chromatography. Thr purpose of ink chromotography is to sepearte out the different molecules in an ink sample to separate out the colors. Using water and alcohol the class experimented on different ink samples from markers and pens.