Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait

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RWLO Science: Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
Name:_________________________
Date:___________________________
Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
In a given population, is the dominant trait the most frequently occurring? One way to
find out would be to participate in the Human Genetics: A Worldwide Search for the
Dominant Trait telecollaborative project and ask a lot of people all over the world which
traits they have and then analyze the collected data to see if the dominant trait occurs
more frequently than the recessive trait. This telecollaborative project is geared to high
school students and is run twice a year, in the fall and spring.
While this experience can be both exciting and an authentic learning experience, it
unfortunately may take longer to implement in a college course than the time allotted.
Therefore for this activity, you will make predictions and conduct a brief genetic survey with
peers in your classroom by analyzing several common dominant / recessive traits and then
use archived data collected from the Human Genetics project to determine if dominant
traits occur more frequently.
A. Introduction to Human Genetics: Dominant & Recessive Traits
1. Review the following slides from the short PowerPoint presentation "Human
Genetics: Dominant & Recessive Traits" individually, w/ a partner, or as a class:
Copyright © 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, All Rights Reserved
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RWLO Science: Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
Copyright © 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, All Rights Reserved
2
RWLO Science: Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
Copyright © 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, All Rights Reserved
3
RWLO Science: Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
2. Find a partner or individually determine whether or not you have the dominant or
recessive trait for each of the traits. Write down the genetic trait you possess
and if it is dominant or recessive for each of the characteristics.
 Earlobes:

Thumbs:

Pinky:

White Forelock:
3. Based on your observations so far, do you think dominant trait is the most
frequently occurring in a given population? Why or why not?
B. Class Poll: Conduct a Brief Genetic Survey
1. Download the following Excel spreadsheet and conduct a simple poll of
everyone in your class to see how many of your peers have the dominant or
recessive traits (NOTE: optionally, you can tally up the responses and keep
track of them on paper).
o genetics_worksheet.xls - 18 KB (change the "Total Number in Sample" to
the number of students participating in this class poll).
2. Were your previous hypotheses correct? Explain why you think they were or
were not.
3. While interesting, these results are not conclusive. Why do you need more data
to make a more definitive conclusion?
Copyright © 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, All Rights Reserved
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RWLO Science: Human Genetics and the Dominant Trait
C. Increasing the Survey Population: The Human Genetics Project
Human Genetics: A Worldwide Search for the Dominant Trait is a telecollaborative
project implemented twice a year, every year where classes from around the world
compare these and other common genetic traits.
1. Download and analyze the archived data accumulated from schools participating
in this project since 1998: cumulativedata.xls - 7.5 KB
2. Calculate the percentage for the dominant and recessive characteristics for each
of the surveyed traits:
Earlobes
Thumb
Pinky
White Forelock
Total Free Attached Total Straight Curved Total Bent Straight Total With Without
Totals
Percentage 100%
100%
100%
100%
3. Based on this data, is the dominant trait the most frequently occurring? Why or
why not?
Copyright © 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, All Rights Reserved
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