Appy Olidays

Last burble of the Spring term 2016. And a very brief one, as I wrestle with the logistics of the last ever OCR PSAs for A-level (good riddance!) whilst also trying to fit in what’s left of the AS specification with only 4 weeks before study leave. Gulp.

So, here’s an app recommendation for all you ipad users out there.

It was one of those happy accidents. I was looking for an entirely different app – something called Fly Lab which was a superb interactive website for trying out Drosophila crosses, and which I was convinced must have been turned into an app. Alas, it hasn’t, but as I worked through a variety of search terms on the App Store, I stumbled upon…

pigeonetics-front

Developed by the learn.genetics people at Utah university, it’s free and fantastic. Students are introduced to pigeon breeding and have to produce “target” birds with specific combinations of phenotypic features, by selecting parent  birds from a variety of possible genotypes/phenotypes.

It starts easily – target bird: male.

And so they learn about the homogametic nature of male birds – ZZ.

Then a female bird. ZW. Heterogametic.

It rapidly gets more complicated, but you can see the set up below. You choose two parent birds from the ones sitting on the wire at the top. It shows both their phenotype and relevant genotype. Having selected the birds, you then select which alleles you want in your offspring. Then you press Hatch!

pigeon

It’s perfect for Year 11 students as either a revision game or an extension challenge. Even if they don’t get the finer details, the basics of diploid organisms contributing one allele each to their offspring couldn’t be clearer. There’s basic dominant/recessive alleles of a single gene, but there are plenty of multiple alleles kicking around, along with sex linkage and epistasis. My students absolutely loved it.

PS – you can also just play it from the learn genetics website – book your ICT suite and get stuck in!

http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/pigeons/pigeonetics/

Wishing you all a very happy and restful Easter holidays.

success

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