Samples of DNA

KS5 Biology: DNA profiling

Students apply the technique of DNA fingerprinting in a Customs and Excise investigation and provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate skills included in the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC).


As the scientific authority for the plants listed in the CITES treaty in the UK, Kew scientists use DNA profiling to identify plant material impounded by HM Customs and Excise which is thought to be contravening CITES.

Students treat samples of DNA amplified by PCR with restriction enzymes and separate these with gel electrophoresis.

Students will be provided with a record of the activity, providing evidence of the skills covered.

This is a half-day session or part of a full-day visit that is tailored to suit the needs of your group and planned in detail prior to the visit.

  • Length: 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Group size: 20 students maximum.
  • Minimum supervision required: 1 adult per 10 students.
  • Programme cost: Part of a full- or half-day visit.

Key stage 5 - school visit programme information
Prices and visit information

Learning outcomes

School visits at Wakehurst support and enhance the curriculum offered in schools and colleges. We aim to give students opportunities that are difficult or impossible to create in the school or college environment.

We design our sessions to match the learning outcomes in the National Curriculum, AL and BTEC specifications.

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • demonstrate the use of DNA profiling in the operation of CITES regulations for conservation
  • use sterile forensic techniques
  • treat samples of DNA, amplified by PCR with restriction enzymes
  • use gel electrophoresis to separate the DNA fragments
  • compare the results of the different samples
  • discover the aims and workings of the CITES treaty

Links with the Advanced Level curriculum

The specifications for exam boards vary. When you book a school visit at Wakehurst, let us know which exam board you are using and we will work with you to tailor the session for your students.

AQA - Gel Electrophoresis
Biology A  -  6.3 Immunity Infection and Forensics
Biology B  -  7.1 Modern Human Genetics
OCR A - 6.1.3  Manipulating genomes    
OCR B - 5.1.3. Gene technologies
IB - 3.5 Genetic modification and biotechnology