HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveAllele and Phenotype Frequencies in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations


Free Resources for Science Education

Classroom Resource
Allele and Phenotype Frequencies in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations


A lesson that uses real rock pocket mouse data collected by Dr. Michael Nachman and his colleagues to illustrate the Hardy-Weinberg principle.

Appropriate for: high school biology (all levels), introductory college biology.

This activity serves as a guide to the HHMI short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation and a means of reinforcing the concepts of variation and natural selection. If your class does not cover the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, you may wish to use the other activity, "Color Varation Over Time in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations."

Curriculum Connections:

NGSS (April 2013)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-3, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5, HS.LS1.A, HS.LS2.C, HS.LS4.B, HS.LS4.C

Common Core (2010)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7, CCSS.Math.Practice.MP.2, CCSS.Math.Practice.MP.3, CCSS.Math.Practice.MP.4, CCSS.Math.Practice.MP.5

AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.1, 1.A.2, 1.A.4, 1.C.3, 4.C.3

IB Biology (2009)
4.1, 4.3, 5.4, D.2, D.4, G.1

Supporting Materials (6)

Classroom Resource
An activity in which students analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat color phenotypes in different rock pocket mouse populations.
Short Film
The rock pocket mouse is a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection.
Classroom Resource
An advanced lesson that requires students to analyze partial DNA sequences of the Mc1r gene and identify the effects of mutations on the MC1R protein pathway.
Classroom Resource
A lesson that requires students to transcribe and translate portions of the wild-type and mutant rock pocket mouse Mc1r genes and compare sequences to identify the locations and types of mutations responsible for the coat color variation described in the film.
Classroom Resource
A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time.
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation, which describes the physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations.

Download this item