DNA Detectives

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

This course is recommended for students participating in Ecolinc’s onsite program ‘Be a DNA Detective’ but can also be completed as a stand-alone course. It begins with an overview of the structure and function of DNA. It then considers how it can be manipulated for use in detective work and some biotechnology that is used. A simple mode of inheritance are also explored.


DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is the heredity material found in all living things. Since 1988, DNA has been used in forensic science for criminal trials including proving the innocence of suspects or previously convicted people. Further applications of DNA profiling include identifying victims in war graves, mass casualty incidents, serious accidents and also for identifying a father through paternity analysis. Scientists even use DNA to identify the evolutionary history of specific species.

Year Levels: 9 – 10

Prior Knowledge:

None required

Course Connections:

Does this course link to other Ecolinc programs?

This course is recommended as pre-learning for Ecolinc’s onsite program:

‘Be a DNA Detective’

Learning Intentions:

In this program, students will:

  • become familiar the structure and function of DNA at a basic level
  • explore the role of restriction enzymes in cutting DNA
  • determine patterns of inheritance of dominant/recessive alleles

Estimated Duration: 40 minutes

Victorian Curriculum:

Science – Science as a human endeavour

  • Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (VCSSU115)

Science – Biological sciences

  • The transmission of heritable characteristics from one generation to the next involves DNA and genes (VCSSU119)

Course Design: David Tait