Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

The Genetics of Sickle Cell Anemia and Sickle Cell Trait – How One Gene Affects Multiple Characteristics

In this activity, students analyze information about the molecular and cellular basis for sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait. This provides the basis for understanding how a single gene can affect multiple phenotypic characteristics.

Students also create a Punnett square, analyze a pedigree, and evaluate the relative advantages of Punnett squares and pedigrees as models of inheritance.

The Teacher Notes include several optional questions which apply student understanding of the biology of sickle cell trait to practical and policy issues.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in online instruction and distance learning. The Teacher Notes, available in the last two attached files, provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Genetics sickle cell anemia SH.docx1.17 MB
Genetics sickle cell anemia SH.pdf392.99 KB
Genetics sickle cell anemia TN.docx214.54 KB
Genetics sickle cell anemia TN.pdf558.97 KB


Serendip Visitor's picture

Answer key!

where is the answer key?

iwaldron's picture

Answer key

As explained in the Teacher Notes, you need to write me to get the answer key. Please read the Teacher Notes for additional information. The key is confidential, for teachers only.

iwaldron's picture

2022 revision

The Student Handout has been revised and reorganized with increased emphasis on analyzing the molecular and cellular effects of the sickle cell and normal hemoglobin alleles to understand how two alleles of a single gene can have multiple different phenotypic effects. The Teacher Notes have additional information about the relevant biology and an expanded optional section of questions concerning practical applications of understanding the biology of sickle cell trait.

Ann Dixon's picture

Latest experimental gene therapy for sickle cell

View a video about Helen Obando, a 16 year old undergoing experimental gene therapy for sickle cell, and read her inspiring story, from the New York Times.

Edit: Unfortunately, the video is only available to NYT subscribers, but the story is freely available.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
4 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.