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.
Appropriate for: high school biology (all levels), introductory college biology
This lesson serves as an extension to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation. Students will transcribe and translate portions of the wild-type and mutant rock pocket mouse Mc1r genes. By comparing DNA sequences, students identify the locations and types of mutations responsible for the coat-color change described in the film. Students will form a hypothesis to explain how a change in amino acid sequence affects the functionality of the MC1R protein, and how that change might directly affect the coat color of the rock pocket mouse populations.
NGSS (April 2013)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-2, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5, HS.LS1.A, 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
AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.1, 1.A.2, 3.A.1, 3.C.1, 4.B.1
IB Biology (2009)
3.5, 4.1, 4.3, 5.4, 7.3, 7.4, D.2, G.1