Screen Your Genes
- Teacher: Helen M. Thompson
- Wilmington, DE
- Subject: A Simulation of Meiosis, Fertilization and Reproduction
- Grade Level(s): 7 8 9 10 11 12
- Target Audience: Biology I & II, Genetics, Life Science
- Materials Needed: paper, tape, scissors
- Class Time: 2 class periods
- Brief Summary:
This lesson can be used to introduce students to the concepts of meiosis, independent assortment, fertilization and genetic variation.
- Student Objective(s):
Students will understand the processes of meiosis, independent assortment, fertilization and genetic variation by constructing simple pedigrees, determining their genotypes and phenotypes for five traits and their sex chromosome types and by transferring this information to paper model chromosomes which are used to simulate the process of fertilization.
- Description of Activities:
Students determine their genotypes for five traits using family pedigree charts (or by guessing genotypes in lieu of family data). Students transfer data to five different autosomal chromosome pairs and one pair of sex chromosomes. Chromosome models are cut out and taped in half. (Folding of paper models represents "gametogenesis.") Partners are assigned and pairs drop their chromosomes simultaneously to the ground to represent fertilization. Chromosomes are picked up in pairs, one from each partner, and the genotypes and phenotypes of offspring are determined and recorded on a data table. Birth announcements are created to describe baby's characteristics.
- Integration (tying it all together):
By understanding the passing on of traits from one generation to the next, students are then prepared to discuss the importance of genetic counseling and genetic screening as well as the bioethical implications of predicting fetal genotypes.
- Further Information and References:
This lab was adapted from the activity by Atkins, Thomas and MacFall Roderick, Joyce, "(Dropping Your Genes) A Genetic Simulation in Meiosis, Fertilization and Reproduction," The American Biology Teacher, Volume 53, No. 3, March 1991.
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