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A Recessive Gene in Utah

Group Size:


Students participate in an activity which models transmission of a recessive gene.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Biology
Standard 4 Objective 1

Compare sexual and asexual reproduction.



Background For Teachers:
Time Needed: Will vary depending on what you wish to do with the article

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Read the article. The last couple of paragraphs may be problematic depending on your school situation and you may wish to delete them.
  2. Have students answer questions such as:
    • What is fumerase deficiency?
    • What are the symptoms?
    • Why is it concentrated in So. Utah?
  3. Use checkers or other markers and demonstrate in class how a trait can be concentrated though intermarriage of related persons.
    • Give 4 students two markers apiece and have them hide them in their hand. They are carriers from the same family.
    • Each carrier should be assigned 3 “children”. They should give 2 children markers and one not.
    • Each of the “children” should pair up with a “child” from another family carrying the trait. They should not reveal whether they have marker or not.
    • Count how many of the pairs get two markers and would have a child with the recessive condition.
    • For the more normal condition: Give a member of the class outside the “families” a marker and redo the simulation.
    • Instead of marrying inside the family, the children should choose a class member outside the family to pair with. Count the number of offspring with two markers under these conditions.
    • The model should show students that if they marry outside the “family” they would have had little chance of two markers coming together.
  4. For a writing activity, ask students to write a paragraph defending a persons’ choice to marry within their family or to defend a position that it should be unlawful to marry closely related persons.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Dec 01 2014 11:30 AM