The purpose of this lesson is for students to discover about the genetic inheritance of traits, through the design and analysis of on-line genetic experiments utilizing the Interactive Virtual FlyLab. Students will learn about Mendelian ratios for dominant/recessive traits, ratios due to sex-linkage, homozygous lethals, epistasis, linkage, and the determination of genetic maps.
Students will be engaged in a conversation dealing with the inheritance of traits. They will be challenged to theorize on how they acquired their traits. Students will then be placed in working groups and instructed they will be functioning as a genetics research team. Each team will be assigned one fly trait which they will research by conducting multiple crosses on-line at the Virtual FlyLab. Once each team has recorded sufficient data and has reached a conclusion about the inheritance of that trait, a research report on their findings should be completed. Each group will then share their findings with the class and turn in their report.
Computers with Internet Access.
Students will be engaged in a conversation dealing with the inheritance of traits. They should be challenged to theorize on how they acquired certain traits. Questions could include "Why is your hair color the color it is?", "Are your eyes the same color as one of your parents? Why is that?" "Are you taller or shorter than your parents?", "Why does is seem that some traits are inherited and others are not?", etc. Teacher led dialogue should be directed toward the inheritance of traits. An option for the dialogue is the creation of a two lists based on class opinion: "Traits that are Inherited" and "Traits that are Not Inherited".
Students should then be placed into no more than 9 groups, and instructed they will be functioning as genetics research teams. Each team will be researching the inheritance patterns of a single trait in a population of flies. Each research team will be assigned one of the following traits for research (these are the nine traits the Virtual FlyLab makes available for crossing).
Each of these traits has a variety of mutations that are observed, as well as the "wild" (normal) feature. Teams should conduct their research by assigning a certain mutation to the male, one to the female, and observing the results. Varying the mutations and the sex will allow them to amass large quantities of data.
The Virtual FlyLab comes with very clear directions and instructions that must be followed in order for the research to be successful. Teams should read very carefully the information that is provided by the Virtual FlyLab before beginning their research. It will be necessary for the teacher to be present during the research time to answer procedural questions from the groups. It is thus advisable for the teacher to become familiar with the Virtual FlyLab prior to its use.
The Virtual FlyLab http://vflylab.calstatela.edu/edesktop/VirtApps/VflyLab/IntroVflyLab.html
Once each team has recorded sufficient data, analyzed it for patterns, and has reached a conclusion about the inheritance of their trait, a research report on their findings should be completed. Research reports should include team objective, trait researched, process, crosses, results, and conclusions. Each group will then share their findings with the class and turn in their report. Once each team has shared their findings, a teacher led discussion on the principles of genetics should be conducted. This time can be utilized to eliminate any misconceptions and place research findings into context. Research reports should be collected.
Having completed an activity such as the Virtual FlyLab allows for a large variety of extension studies. Currently the field of cloning and genetic alteration has been in the media and is considered to be a "hot" topic. Cloning could be addressed as a scientific, social, ethical, economic, and political issue.
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