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  • Writer's pictureJolene Pappas

Heredity Simulation

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

The first of several planned heredity simulations is now up and running! This first one covers basic dominance for two autosomal (not sex-linked), non-linked traits. The wild type phenotype for this fictional organism is black eyes and tailless. The mutant traits are white eyes and presence of a tail. Both the mutant phenotypes are recessive.

The simulation has randomized results, so each time a student runs it they will get slightly different numbers. From a science standpoint, this is good for running multiple trials. From an education standpoint, it's good for making sure each person practices with their own data.

Students can run both monohybrid and dihybrid crosses with this simulation. The results are present separate numbers for males and females. The results can be used for casual comparisons or for chi squared statistical calculations.

There are a total of 16 different combinations of males and females that can be bred for the P generation cross. Just as in the sexual selection simulation, the females are smaller and have dull coloring and the males are larger with bright coloring. When the user hovers over a selection, the pair becomes slightly transparent.

User selection of P generation phenotypes for a heredity virtual lab
Selection of P generation phenotypes

After clicking on a P generation pair, the F1 results are displayed. The numerical results are found at the top of the simulation, with a visual representation of the offspring in the middle. At the bottom of the simulation, is a breeding pair of F1 individuals. The user clicks on the F1 cross to get the F2 results.

F1 results from a monohybrid cross
F1 results

The F2 results will be displayed in the same format as the F1. In this case, the results are for a monohybrid cross, and can be used to determine the inheritance pattern of the white eye trait. At the bottom of the simulation, click on "Click to return" to go back to the P generation selection screen.

F2 generation results for a monohybrid cross
F2 results

The simulation can also be used to run a dihybrid cross, which examines both traits at the same time.

Selection of P generation for a dihybrid cross
Selection for a dihybrid cross

F2 generation results for a dihybrid cross
F2 results for dihybrid cross

There is also a backcross option available when selecting a black eyes/no tail x white eyes/tail P generation cross.

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