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  • Developing an Explanation for Mouse Fur Color

    Developing an Explanation for Mouse Fur Color

    Activities

    Students collect and analyze evidence for each of the major conditions for evolution by natural selection to develop an explanation for how populations change over time. Also available in Spanish.

  • Pelvic Evolution in Sticklebacks

    Pelvic Evolution in Sticklebacks

    Data Points

    Scientists used SNP genotyping in populations of freshwater stickleback fish to determine the genetic mutations responsible for the impaired development of pelvises and spines.

  • Central Dogma Card Activity

    Central Dogma Card Activity

    Activities

    In this hands-on activity students review the steps of eukaryotic gene expression and learn how this knowledge can be used to treat genetic disease.

  • Monkey Social Status and Immune Response

    Monkey Social Status and Immune Response

    Data Points

    Scientists studied how the dominance ranking of female rhesus macaques living in social groups affected the expression of genes linked to immune response

  • Stalking the Genetic Basis of a Trait

    Stalking the Genetic Basis of a Trait

    Activities

    In this activity students analyze data on the expression of the tb1 gene and use it to formulate an explanation as to how a specific difference in the corn version of the gene explains the phenotype of less branching.

  • Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence

    Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence

    Activities

    Students explore the geographic distribution of lactase persistence around the world by analyzing real data collected by scientists.

  • DNA Profiling Activity

    DNA Profiling Activity

    Activities

    This multi-part lesson is designed to give students a firm understanding of genetic profiling using short tandem repeats (STRs), which is a process used by forensics labs around the world. 

  • Understanding Variation

    Understanding Variation

    Activities

    This lesson complements the film The Biology of Skin Color and discusses variation in human skin color and polygenic inheritance. Also available in Spanish.

  • Zebrafish and Skin Color

    Zebrafish and Skin Color

    Activities

    This lesson complements the film The Biology of Skin Color and explores how experimental work in zebrafish led to a better understanding of the role of the gene SLC24A5 in human skin color.

  • Using Genetic Evidence to Identify Ivory Poaching Hotspots

    Using Genetic Evidence to Identify Ivory Poaching Hotspots

    Data Points

    A team of scientists analyzed the DNA from seized ivory to determine where the ivory from poached elephants came from.

  • Origin of a Gene Mutation Causing Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

    Origin of a Gene Mutation Causing Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

    Data Points

    A team of scientists built a pedigree of a large extended family in Antioquia, Colombia, that has a high prevalence of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease due to a mutation in the PSEN1 gene. Worksheets also available in Spanish.

  • Identifying Autism Genes by Tracking Gene Mutations

    Identifying Autism Genes by Tracking Gene Mutations

    Data Points

    A team of scientists used homozygosity mapping to map SNPs on chromosome 3 in a family with an autistic son to identify a likely gene that caused the disorder.

  • The Teosinte Hypothesis

    The Teosinte Hypothesis

    Activities

    In this lesson, students work through the mathematics and concepts behind George Beadle’s claim that teosinte is the wild ancestor of maize. Also available in Spanish.

  • Genetic Origin of Variation in Human Skin Color

    Genetic Origin of Variation in Human Skin Color

    Data Points

    Dr. Rebecca Lamason and colleagues studied the genetic origin of variation in human skin color using a model organism, the zebrafish.

  • Lactase Persistence: Evidence for Selection

    Lactase Persistence: Evidence for Selection

    Activities

    This activity provides a case study in human evolution that connects genotype, phenotype, culture, and graphical analysis skills. Also available in Spanish.

  • Pedigrees and the Inheritance of Lactose Intolerance

    Pedigrees and the Inheritance of Lactose Intolerance

    Activities

    Students explore the genetic changes associated with lactose tolerance/intolerance and how the trait is inherited in families. Also available in Spanish.

  • Mapping Genes to Traits in Dogs Using SNPs

    Mapping Genes to Traits in Dogs Using SNPs

    Activities

    In this hands-on genetic mapping activity students identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) correlated with different traits in dogs.

  • Cancer Discovery Activities

    Cancer Discovery Activities

    Activities

    These two hands-on activities are based on a Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2013 Holiday Lectures on Science video featuring researcher Dr. Charles L. Sawyers. Also available in Spanish.

  • Pulse Chase Primer: The Meselson-Stahl Experiment

    Pulse Chase Primer: The Meselson-Stahl Experiment

    Activities

    This activity can be used in conjunction with the short film The Double Helix. It introduces students to the classic experiment by Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl, which revealed that DNA replication follows the semiconservative model.

  • Using DNA to Explore Lizard Phylogeny

    Using DNA to Explore Lizard Phylogeny

    Activities

    This activity supports the film The Origin of Species: Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree. Students are guided to sort the lizard species by appearance, then generate a phylogenetic tree using the lizards’ DNA sequences to evaluate whether species that appear similar are closely related to each other.

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