Investigating Plant Evolution: amplifying chloroplast DNA using PCR


This practical kit, developed by SAPS and the NCBE, provides materials for the simple extraction of chloroplast DNA from plant tissue, its amplification by the PCR, and gel electrophoresis of the PCR product. Students can use plants of their choice and identify possible evolutionary relationships between different species. This mirrors the molecular methods used in modern plant taxonomy.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one of the most important and powerful methods in molecular biology. It enables millions of copies of specific DNA sequences to be made easily and quickly. The technique and variations of it are used extensively in medicine, in molecular genetics and in pure research.

This activity presents an ideal opportunity for open-ended investigations by individual students or groups.

Full kits, colour teachers’ guides and students guides can all be ordered from the NCBE.

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