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Complex Traits

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD.

Dovekie's Heritage

Procedure (cont.)

6. Play the radio story, The Case of the Mystery Puppy Solved! (Sort Of). The story can be found at the link below. Tell students that they should be prepared to discuss the following questions after listening to the story. Alternatively, you may download and print the transcript and have student read the story.

The Case of the Mysterious Puppy, Solved! (Sort Of)

7. Have students work in groups to answer the following questions. Afterward, conduct a class discussion about the story and guiding questions. 

  • What did his owners learn about Dovekie? 
  • What kind of dog is Dovekie? 
  • What does this story tell us about the commercial applications of genetic testing?

Dovekie is a mixed breed dog with an unusual appearance. After genetic testing by three different companies, his owners learned that he had a mix of genetic material from a rare breed (purebred wirehaired pointed griffon) and golden retriever or golden retriever mix. The somewhat different results from each lab demonstrate that genetic testing techniques still are being refined, and that results, while informative, may need interpretation. 

Note: The photo is of Dovekie meeting Henry, one of his “people.” To view additional images of Dovekie, visit the following web page.

Dovekie’s DNA (Part Two)

8. To conclude, have each team of students select a dog breed from the diagram, and use resources on the website of the American Kennel Club ( to learn more about their assigned or selected breed. Each team should prepare a written description of the origin, original purpose, physical characteristics and unique attributes of their selected breed. Have students report their findings during the next class period. 


If students have immediate questions about DNA and genes, have them complete the online Tour of the Basics found at the Learn Genetics website ( The tutorial will introduce and explain key concepts and terms related to genetics, which also will be introduced as they move through this unit. 

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Gene U: Inquiry-based Genomics Learning Experiences for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25OD011134

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Using Learning Technology to Build Human Capital
Grant Number: 57363