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Complex Traits

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD.

Changes in Message Codes

Procedure (cont.)

11. Remind students of the text messages used to begin the activity. Ask, What would happen if the message were changed in the following way?

Person 1: hru? 

Person 2: hv hw Person 1: cul8r? 

Person 2: gr8 ttys changes to gr8 ttyl (“talk to you soon” changes to “talk to you later”)

[The change probably would not affect the overall message, although one word was changed. This is similar to the many mutations in DNA that do not change characteristics (phenotype) of the individual.]

12. Next, ask about the following changes.

Person 2: gr8 ttys changes to gr8 ttyt (“talk to you soon” changes to “talk to you tomorrow”)

Person 2: gr8 ttys changes to g2g ttyt (“great”: changes to “got to go”)

[These changes not only change the words designated by the code, but also alter the meaning of the messages.]

13. Help students understand that mutations in DNA act in similar ways. Most mutations lead to no detectable changes in phenotype. Other mutations cause variations that are helpful or harmful, or have neutral effects. Variations at a single location along a DNA strand are called “single nucleotide polymorphisms.” (Refer to Slide 20, if needed.)

14. This activity provides a different perspective on the dominant/recessive view of genes and alleles, because the mutation for long hair causes a loss of function in dogs that receive two copies of the allele. 


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