This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Chautauqua Short Course -- Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting, and Knitting-together at Grand Valley State University in August 2006. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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Using mtDNA to trace human geographic origin
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Mohammed Abbas
Schoolcraft College

Michael Sierk
Saint Vincent College

Amy Wernette
Hazard Community and Technical College

Bradley Isler
Ferris State University

Barbara Beck
Rochester Community and Technical College


Possible Audiences:

High school and college-level biology students  


Brief Overview:

Mitochondrial DNA is sufficiently diverse that it can be used to track human migration patterns and ancestral origins. We can use a kit to isolate DNA and amplify (by PCR) the mitochondrial control region sequence. This DNA can be sequenced (DNALC Sequencing Service) and the sequences analyzed using a database of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.  


Project Materials:

Carolina Science mtDNA amplification kit, PCR machine, agarose gel electrophoresis equipment.  


Resources and References:

Map of mtDNA haplogroups
Database (needs work)  



- MitochondrialDNA.ppt