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Complex Traits

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD.

Canine Chromosomes

Traditionally, genetics researchers have focused on identifying single genes, their variant forms (alleles) and their functions. Genes are hereditary units that occupy a fixed location on a chromosome or DNA molecule. Each gene has a specific influence on the characteristics of an individual (phenotype) and provides the instructions for creating proteins (technically, certain sections of genes code for strings of amino acids or polypeptides). Usually a single gene has various forms, known as alleles. Since every individual has two sets of chromosome, each individual also has two versions or alleles for each gene. The interaction between the two alleles, and of a particular gene with other genes and the environment, determines the phenotype of the individual.

Procedure (cont.)

2. Tell students that living cells also use a code, which contains all of the instructions for a living organism. This information, which is contained on long DNA molecules, is packaged inside the nucleus of every cell. Show the following three-minute video created by the BBC (Knowledge Explainer DNA), which provides a general explanation of the genetic code in DNA.

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