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Fiona E. Rawle
Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Biology
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Sex and the Komodo Dragon 

In this clicker case study for a flipped classroom, students familiar with the stages of meiosis work in small groups to determine the predicted genetic makeup of the parthenogenetic offspring of a Komodo dragon, based on four different types of parthenogenesis. Students then learn about the actual genetic makeup of the offspring and determine how meiosis was modified to allow parthenogenesis in this fascinating lizard. The sex of the offspring is explained, based on ZW/ZZ sex determination. A video specifically made for this case prepares students for the in-class activities, which are guided by a PowerPoint presentation. The case also examines how facultative parthogenesis may be adaptive in Komodo dragons and the implications of facultative parthogenesis to conservation of these vulnerable lizards. The case was developed for a general biology class, but could also be used in an introductory course on conservation or cell biology.