Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit



The Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit is an introductory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit that allows students to simulate DNA profiling as commonly used in forensic laboratories.

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The Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit allows students to simulate DNA profiling as it is commonly used in forensic laboratories. The laboratory activity is designed to introduce the concepts of PCR, which is widely used in forensics, diagnostics, and archaeological procedures. It is performed without the need for complex genomic DNA extraction steps.

Features and Benefits

  • Two–session laboratory activity, 45 min per session
  • Materials sufficient for eight student workstations, up to four students per workstation
  • Includes curriculum with Teacher's Guide, Student Manual, and graphical Quick Guide

With this kit, students are able to:

  • Perform real-world DNA profiling
  • Use PCR to amplify multiple DNA samples
  • Use agarose gel electrophoresis to visualize results

NEW! Fast PCR and Fast DNA Gel Protocols

  • Fast PCR Protocol — PCR in 55 Minutes
    Prepare the PCR reactions as described in the kit instruction manual, then use the Fast PCR Protocol to complete PCR amplification
    in <1 hr.

Step Temperature Duration # Cycles
Initial Denaturation 94°C 2 min 1
Denaturation 94°C 4 sec 35
Annealing 52°C 4 sec
Extension 72°C 20 sec
Hold 12°C    
  • Fast DNA Gels — Electrophoresis in 10 Minutes
    After PCR, use our Fast Gel Protocol for clear results in 10 minutes!

Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit gel results. Products from the Fast PCR Protocol separated using the Fast Gel Protocol.

How It Works

DNA profiling determines the exact genotype of a DNA sample, distinguishing one human being from another by identifying each person's unique DNA "barcode." This powerful tool aids investigations of crime scenes, missing persons, mass disasters, immigration disputes, and paternity. Crime scenes often contain tiny biological specimens (blood, semen, hairs, saliva, bones, pieces of skin) from which DNA can be extracted. The reason DNA profiling is so useful for forensic scientists is that a definitive DNA profile can be obtained from a minute biological sample using the power of DNA amplification afforded by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

There are ~3 billion bases in the human genetic blueprint, and more than 99.5% of them do not vary among human beings. Within the variant areas of the genome are the special polymorphic ("many forms") sequences used in forensic applications. The DNA sequences used for forensic typing are derived from regions of our chromosomes that do not control any known traits and have no known functions. They contain segments of short tandem repeats, called STRs. STRs are very short DNA sequences that are repeated in direct head-to-tail fashion.

The example below shows a locus (known as TH01) actually used in forensic DNA profiling. Its specific DNA sequence contains five repeats of [TCAT]

For the TH01 STR locus, there are many alternate forms (alleles) that differ from each other by the number of [TCAT] repeats present in the sequence. More than 20 different alleles of TH01 have been discovered in people worldwide. Each of us still has only two alleles, one inherited from our mother and one inherited from our father.

Two sample TH01 genotypes

Each STR allele has a different length depending on the number of tandem repeats it contains. When the alleles are amplified by PCR, alleles of different lengths can be distinguished by electrophoresis. The number of tandem repeats contained in each allele can be determined by comparing the locations of the DNA bands with a DNA size standard that corresponds to the known sizes of TH01 alleles. In real crime scene applications, using the international CODIS system, DNA profiling is performed using 20 loci to increase the power of discrimination. With the addition of each locus to the analysis, the possibility that any two genotypes will match due to chance drops off significantly. This exercise allows students to grasp the concept of the power of discrimination — the more loci that are used, the greater the ability to discriminate between any two samples.



Kit contains sufficient materials for 8 student workstations (2–4 students per workstation)
Crime scene DNA sample, 250 µl
Suspect A DNA sample, 250 µl
Suspect B DNA sample, 250 µl
Suspect C DNA sample, 250 µl
Suspect D DNA sample, 250 µl
PCR master mix (Taq DNA polymerase dNTPs, buffer), 1.2 ml
Primers (blue), 25 µl
Allele ladder, 200 µl
Orange G loading dye, 1 ml
PCR tubes, 0.2 ml
Capless PCR tube adaptors, 1.5 ml
Colored micro test tubes, 2.0 ml
Curriculum, including teacher's guide, student manual, and graphic quick guide




Use the filters below to refine results!

Introductory PCR classroom study kit, includes crime scene and suspect samples, PCR master mix, primers, allele ladder, test tubes, curriculum, and more, for 32 students; education use only
Classroom study kit includes Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics kit (1662600EDU) and agarose gel electrophoresis reagents for 48 (1%) or 16 (3%) 7 x 10 cm agarose gels; education use only




Consumables refill kit for use with Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics kit (1662600EDU), contains PCR master mix, primers, crime scene and suspect DNA samples, and more; education use only

(Discontinued) Master Mix For PCR
90 units, 1.2 ml includes 0.075 units per µl Taq DNA polymerase, reaction buffer, 4 mM MgCl2, 0.4 mM of each dNTP (dATP, dCTP, dGTP, dTTP); education use only
Agarose gel preparation kit,makes 16–48 mini gels, includes agarose powder, Fast Blast DNA Stain, buffer; education use only



Number Description Options
Instruction Manual, Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit, Bio-Rad Explorer™
Map of AP-Aligned Bio-Rad Kits with Investigative Laboratories
Fast PCR and Fast DNA Gels (CSI PCR Kit)
Crime Scene Investigator PCR Basics Kit, Bio-Rad Explorer™, Quick Guide
Refresh Kit Components — Large Class/Multiple Class Preparation Guide
UView™ 6x Loading Dye and Stain Guide, Bio-Rad Explorer™