Sex determination using PCR

Authors

  • Peter E. Kima,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611
    • Microbiology and Cell Science Department, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110700, Gainesville, FL 32611-0700
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Madeline E. Rasche

    1. Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant MCB-9876212 and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. This article is Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series Number R-09889.

Abstract

PCR has revolutionized many aspects of biochemistry and molecular biology research. In the following exercise, students learn PCR by isolating their own DNA, amplifying specific segments of the X and Y chromosomes, and estimating the sizes of the PCR products using agarose gel electrophoresis. Based on the pattern of PCR products, students can distinguish between male and female samples and determine the gender of an unknown DNA donor. The exercise is presented for upper division undergraduate majors in microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, but can be adapted to different academic levels and disciplines. The use of student samples in the exercise can enhance learning of these techniques by making PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis directly relevant to the students.

Ancillary