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genetics

What types of mutations cause more vs. less severe muscular dystrophy?

This analysis and discussion activity begins with a brief video presenting the anchoring phenomenon – a teenager who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Then, students investigate the types of deletion mutation that cause the more severe Duchenne muscular dystrophy vs. the milder Becker muscular dystrophy. During this analysis, students review transcription and translation, learn how to use a codon wheel, and analyze the molecular effects of different types of deletion and point mutations.

Finally, students investigate X-linked recessive mutations to understand why almost all Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients are male.

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. (For additional instructions, see https://serendipstudio.org/exchange/bioactivities/Googledocs, especially item 7.) 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 (NGSS).

Learning about Genetic Disorders

This activity provides brief instructions and recommended reliable sources for students to investigate and report on a genetic disorder of their choice. The Student Handout is available in the first attached file and as a Google doc designed for use in online instruction and distance learning.The Teacher Notes, available in the second attached file, provide instructional suggestions and background information.

How Genes Can Cause Disease - Introduction to Transcription and Translation

Process of transcription and translation

To begin this hands-on, minds-on activity, students learn that different versions of a gene give the instructions for making different versions of a clotting protein, which result in normal blood clotting or hemophilia.

Then, students learn how genes provide the instructions for making a protein via the processes of transcription and translation. They develop an understanding of the roles of RNA polymerase, the base-pairing rules, mRNA, tRNA and ribosomes.

Finally, students use their learning about transcription and translation to understand how a change in a single nucleotide in the hemoglobin gene can result in sickle cell anemia.

Throughout, students use the information in brief explanations, figures and videos to answer analysis and discussion questions. In addition, students use simple paper models to simulate the processes of transcription and translation.

An alternative version omits the paper models (How Genes Can Cause Disease – Understanding Transcription and Translation).

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Were the babies switched? – The Genetics of Blood Types and Skin Color

3 babies with different skin color

In this minds-on, hands-on activity, students learn about the genetics of ABO blood types, including multiple alleles of a single gene and codominance. Then, students use chemicals to simulate blood type tests and carry out genetic analyses to determine whether hospital staff accidentally switched two babies born on the same day.

Next, students analyze the genetics of skin color in order to understand how fraternal twins can have different skin colors. In this analysis, students learn about incomplete dominance and how a single phenotypic characteristic can be influenced by multiple genes and the environment. (NGSS)

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

Dragon Genetics – Understanding Inheritance

In the simulation activity, Dragon Genetics – Understanding Inheritance, students mimic the processes of meiosis and fertilization to investigate the inheritance of multiple genes and then use their understanding of concepts such as dominant/recessive alleles, incomplete dominance, sex-linked inheritance, and epistasis to interpret the results of the simulation. This activity can be used as a culminating activity after you have introduced classical genetics, and it can serve as formative assessment to identify any areas of confusion that require additional clarification.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Dragon Genetics: Independent Assortment and Gene Linkage

Dragon!In the lab, Dragon Genetics: Independent Assortment and Gene Linkage, students learn the principles of independent assortment and gene linkage in activities which analyze inheritance of multiple genes on the same or different chromosomes in hypothetical dragons. Students learn how these principles derive from the behavior of chromosomes during meiosis and fertilization.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

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