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The Wolfman and the Chromosomal Basis of Heredity



Author:

Nancy A. Rice
Department of Biology
Western Kentucky University
nancy.rice@wku.edu

Abstract:

This “clicker case” tells the story of Danny Gomez, a Mexican circus performer, and his family in order to teach basic principles of genetics and chromosomal inheritance. Five generations of the Gomez family suffer from a very rare disease called congenital generalized hypertrichosis, which results in excess body hair in places that would not usually have significant hair growth. During this case, students explore basic Mendelian inheritance patterns, learn how probability is connected to genetic outcomes, and are introduced to the concepts of lyonization and atavism. The case is designed for use in an introductory non-majors biology course; it could also be used in a high school AP-Biology course. It consists of a series of PowerPoint slides (~800KB) presented in class that are punctuated by multiple-choice questions the students answer using “clickers.” It could be adpated for use without these technologies.

Objectives:
  • Understand the organization of DNA into genes found on chromosomes.
  • Predict genetic outcomes from various monohybrid mating scenarios.
  • Explain the difference between autosomal and sex-linked inheritance.
  • Understand genetic mosaicism.
  • Demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of atavism.
Keywords: Hypertrichosis; lionization; atavism; chromosome; DNA; genetic disease; genetic mosaicism; karyotype; genotype; autosomal inheritance; sex-linked inheritance X-inactivation; Mendelian genetics; Danny Gomez
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Clicker, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Genetics / Heredity  
Date Posted: 09/10/10
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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