1. Seeing DNA: Genetics can be a difficult subject to understand, especially, because we cannot “see” our DNA. The first part of this activity is to pull DNA out of a cell. When I was in college (and this was legal), we drew blood from our lab partners and isolated their DNA! Since times have changed and I don’t expect any of you to pull out the needles, I ask that you watch this Do-It Yourself Strawberry DNA video. It is completely optional if you would like to recreate this experiment at home. My kids loved it and you really don’t need any scientific equipment. We used items from our kitchen. The goal is to understand how DNA is contained in a cell and how scientists are able to pull it out or isolate it for genetic testing or modification.
2. Next, you will complete the virtual activity about Punnet Squares. You may complete as many scenarios as you’d like, but I only need to see one. Please submit a screenshot (saved as a Word document, .DOC or .png) of your completed punnett square to Dropbox. Even though this example uses fruit flies as the species, this is the same method used to determine if two parents will have children (offspring) with recessive genetic diseases or simply to determine what eye color they may have. The goal is to understand how genetic testing of two parent’s genotypes can help determine what physical traits (phenotypes) their children can have. NOTE: Be cautious when submitting your work. Sometimes, students do not check their work and submit an empty square. Make sure your submission shows the completed assignment and includes the flies to avoid losing points.
3. Current Event: GMO’s: Love them or Hate them?
Independently research GMO’s using scientific resources (make sure and check your websites, there is a ton of fake science on this subject. Use the databases given in the orientation module to help you find reliable sources). Next research the Zika virus and it’s ties to GMO controversy. You may use any of the links below, but since this is a current event, you may find more recent information available online. Finally, submit a brief and cited opinion on how you feel about GMO’s in general (for food, viruses, animals, etc)
What is Zika? (From Unit 1 Dropbox)
What is the connection between GMO’s and Zika?