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Species Diversity: Using Mosquitoes as an Indicator of Pesticide Run-Off

Activity Summary
Students use mosquitos, a pollinator species, as an indicator of unintentional pesticide run-off. Students compare DNA from a known site of pesticide spraying (a farm), a site which commonly receives run-off (a river located near the farm), a site where no spraying occurs (near a well), and an unknown (near a school or other area that is not supposed to receive spraying). They examine the DNA banding patterns produced by each sample and use those to determine whether pesticide spraying unintentionally impacts the unknown site.

Grade Levels

Learning Objectives
1. Describe the process of gel electrophoresis in own words and explain how and why it works
2. Identify 3 potential uses of DNA analysis
3. Explain why scientists use PCR on DNA samples
4. Read the resultant gel and articulate the results of the DNA comparison

Lesson Materials (view or download)
PowerPoint 1
PowerPoint 2
Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2
Teacher prep video: Micropipetting
Teacher prep video: Preparing DNA samples
Teacher prep video: Pouring a DNA gel
Teacher prep video: Running a DNA gel

gel electrophoresis, DNA analysis, indicator species, ecology

Last updated: 8/9/2021