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Giving Birth to Someone Else's Children?

A Case of Disputed Maternity



Author:

Jessica Hutchison
Biological Sciences
Alfred State University
HutchiJM@alfredstate.edu

Abstract:

Most students have heard about situations in which the paternity of a child is questioned, but maternity? This case was designed for introductory biology students and asks them to develop hypotheses to explain how a mother cannot be genetically related to two of her three sons. Through an interrupted, progressive disclosure format, students reject hypotheses and form new ones as data is revealed. This case involves concepts in genetics, inheritance, and the formation of pedigrees. At the conclusion, students are asked to think about the moral, ethical, and legal implications of the mother’s rare condition.

Objectives:
  • Formulate testable hypotheses given preliminary data.
  • Suggest tests to evaluate current hypotheses.
  • Interpret data to evaluate and revise hypotheses.
  • Draw a pedigree based on given genetic information.
  • Use a Punnett square to predict the likelihood of a genetic combination.
  • Discuss the condition of the protagonist of the case study and describe its implications.
Keywords: Inheritance; pedigree; human reproduction; haplotype; chimera; tetragametic chimerism; maternity
Topical Area: Ethics, Legal issues, Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Genetics / Heredity  
Date Posted: 09/01/07
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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