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ZingPath: Mendelian Genetics

Find the Heir: Genetics Applied

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Mendelian Genetics

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Find the Heir: Genetics Applied

Life Science

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Learners are asked to study genetic traits of five individuals to find the rightful heir to a very wealthy deceased couple.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain that heredity is the passing of genetic information through chromosomes from parents to their offspring.
  • Explain that when a dominant gene and recessive gene for the same trait are both inherited, the dominant gene is expressed.
  • Describe codominance as occurring when two genes for the same trait are both expressed.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Genetic Inheritance is a very complex concept that revolves around the transmission of genes from a set of parents to their child. This transmission can have several combinations that will impact the genetic characteristics that are expressed in the individual. These genes are carried through microscopic thread-like structures called chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes that are paired up with one another to create 23 sets. Within these sets, an individual receives all the instructions for their characteristic traits, as well as one specific set of chromosomes that will determine if the person will be male or female.

As stated above, this genetic make-up relies on the instructions of the genes passed down to an individual from his parents. These genes found within chromosomes are linked together to form a twisted double strand called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. With this transmission, an individual will receive a gene from his father and a gene from his mother to create a set. Except in codominance situations, this set will contain only one of the following combinations: one dominant and one recessive gene, two dominant genes, or two recessive genes. This combination will be reflected in the child's appearance, gender, and other inherited traits. Within these three combinations it is important to understand the differences between a recessive and dominant gene. When paired with the dominant gene, the recessive gene is not expressed, and that gene will not show its appearance in the child. In contrast, if a child receives two recessive genes from his parents, the gene expressed will be recessive.

The combinations of these genes become an essential part in acquiring genetic information used in DNA testing. These tests, which can also be referred to as DNA profiling or DNA typing were first introduced in 1985 in England and have now become the basis of conquering genetic uncertainties. Although blood samples were originally one of the only means of collecting such vital information, a simple cheek swab can now be done in the privacy of one's home. The individual will then mail this sample to a special testing center where it will then be analyzed in a lab. If administered correctly,results are more than 99% accurate and can help to resolve such matters as paternity,who are identical twins (zygosity) in multiple births, or commonalities amongst ancestors. Even though humans possess 99.9% of the same DNA sequence,enough of the DNA is different to distinguish one individual from another.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts genetics, genes, dominant traits, recessive traits, codominance
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary alleles, attached earlobes, biology, blood types, characteristics, chromosomes, co-dominant, deceased, detached earlobes, dimples, DNA, DNA test, dominant, earlobes, genes, genetic characteristics, genetic inheritance, genetics, heir, heredity, inheritance, life science, offspring, recessive, Rh factor, traits, widow’s peak