Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Biology: Genetics with a smile

This week the kids carried out a simulation in which they explored how traits are passed down from one generation to the next in the strange but cheerful species, commonly known as "Smiley faces." The kids flipped coins to see which genes the smiley faces would pass on to their offspring. While the kids observed several differences between smiley faces and us - e.g. smileys have eyes that are shaped like stars (maybe that's why they're so happy?), we also noted the basic principles of inheritance we share.
  • individuals carry 2 versions of each trait, one from the mom and one from the dad
  • individuals pass one 1 version of each trait to each offspring
  • an offspring's phenotype (what he looks like) is the combined result of the 2 versions he got from mom and dad - sometimes, but not always following the rules of dominance

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