Salmon Lab

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 LAB INVESTIGATION
Heredity and Genetically Modified
Organisms
Timing Chapter 12, Lesson 2
Ask Questions
How could a genetic modification in salmon spread through a marine ecosystem?
Introduction
Atlantic salmon have been modified with a gene that enables them to grow year-round rather than
only during spring and summer seasons. Genes from different fish have been removed and inserted
into the salmon to allow them to be genetically modified. The new gene allows the salmon to reach
mature growth much quicker than salmon that do not have this modification. In this lab, you will
model how a genetic modification in salmon can spread through a marine ecosystem by allowing
genetically modified animals to breed with wild type animals.
Focus on Science Practices
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Materials per group
• 28 Colored Squares to represent “salmon”
• Black black marker
• paper plate
• bowl
• coin
Safety
Be careful when using scissors.
Procedure
Investigate the spread of genetic modification through a marine system.
1. Place all 28 salmon in the bowl.
2. Label your plate “pond”. The pond is where the fish will be mating.
3. Starting Generation: Pick 6 salmon out of the bowl and place them into the pond.
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4. Use the marker to write the letters “XX” on one of the salmon in the pond. Each letter “X”
represents an allele for GM salmon, or a salmon that has been genetically modified. Mark the
remaining salmon in the pond with the letters “OO” to represent wild-type salmon. Record the
number of wild-type salmon and GM salmon in the data table under “Starting Generation”.
5. Randomly pair up the 6 salmon to produce 3 pairs.
6. Mating Event 1: Each pair of salmon in the pond will have one offspring. Pick a colored square
from the bowl and place the square (representing an offspring) below each pair of fish. Use
a coin to randomly choose one of the two letters from each parent and write them on the
offspring. Use heads to represent X and use tails to represent O.
So, each offspring will be labeled XX, XO, or OO.
For this, you will flip a coin 6 times, twice for each pair of salmon parents.
7. For this lab, we will assume that the GM gene is dominant over the wild type. Look at the
offspring from the first mating event. Determine the number of both parent and offsping salmon
(total population of salmon) that express the GM gene and the number that express the wildtype gene. Record your data in the data table.
8. Mix up all the salmon in the pond and randomly pair them together. You may find one salmon
that does not have a mate. This fish will still stay in the pond and be part of your data, but will
not produce an offspring.
9. Mating Events 2, 3, and 4: Repeat steps 6, 7, and 8 to model three additional generations of
goldfish.
Analyze and Interpret Data
1. Compare and Contrast Share the results with your classmates. How does the results of the
class compare?
# GM Salmon (“XX”
or “XO”)
# Wild Type Salmon
(“OO”)
Total Number of
Salmon
% of Genetically
Modified Salmon
Starting Generation
Mating Event 1
Mating Event 2
Mating Event 3
Mating Event 4
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2. Use Models How does this activity model the spread of genes from one generation to the
next?
3. Draw Conclusions Did any of the mating events show the same number or a decrease in GM
salmon? Explain your response.
4. Interpret Data Review the results of the lab as recorded in your data table. Based on your data,
how could a genetic modification in salmon spread through a marine ecosystem?
Extend Your Inquiry
Research another organism that is genetically modified. What are the benefits of the modification?
What are the drawbacks? Are there harmful effects to the organism or another organisms’ health as
a result of the modification?
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