Exploring Genetic Variation in a Caffeine Metabolism Gene

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-9-2015


This laboratory unit illustrates the core concept of genetic variation by having students analyze a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) from their own DNA, and can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of majors and nonmajors alike. Briefly, DNA is isolated from cheek cells, and a specific region of the CYP1A2 intron is amplified via PCR. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis is then used to detect the SNP,which is visualized with gel elecrophoresis. Students can generate a hypothesis based on their own behavior, test it, and interpret the results. Overall, this series of laboratories exposes students to a variety of basic molecular biology techniques, correlates to an observable phenotype without causing serious health concerns, and caters to students’ innate desire for self-discovery.

Publication Title

Exploring Genetic Variation in a Caffeine Metabolism Gene.