SOFTWARE: Desktop Genetics Lab

Science  16 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5669, pp. 367
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5669.367c

By firing up this free program, beginning biology students can run simple genetics experiments, and they'll never have to swat an escaped fruit fly. Created by Brian White of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and colleagues, the software simulates crosses between animals with particular characteristics. As in a real genetics lab, users design their own procedures, deciding how many matings will provide enough evidence to deduce how the trait is passed on. The exercises challenge students to recognize not only simple dominant traits but also more complex types of transmission, such as sex linkage and incomplete dominance. Although the problems illustrate real inheritance patterns, they use hypothetical traits, so students can't track down the answers on the Web.

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