Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Bashaw Lab

I See You Cuz!

Big Fly EyeObjectives:

  1. SWBAT analyze molecular genetic technologies (DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, BLAST) IOT (a) construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life (b) communicate evidence of common ancestry and biological evolution
  2. SWBAT analyze informational text and visual diagrams IOT (a) propose evolutionary relationships among species (b) interpret the evidence supporting the theory of evolution
  3. SWBAT interpret gel electrophoresis and BLAST search results IOT explain how genetic technologies have impacted the field of biomedical research

I. General Overview and Suggested Timeline

Despite being a well-supported scientific theory that helps to unify the study of biology, evolution is still a controversial topic in today’s society. Much of the controversy, however, stems from a lack of understanding both the process itself as well as the evidence supporting the theory. In this series of lessons, students will explore modern genetic technologies and analyze the resultant data to better understand how DNA evidence is used to demonstrate common ancestry and biological evolution.

Prior to beginning this unit, students should be familiar with the structure of DNA, protein expression, and the mechanisms of evolution. Some exposure to phylogenetic trees and how they can be constructed is helpful, particularly for the final portion of the BLAST activity.

DAY 1 - Review/Discuss Robo receptor function; Extract DNA from cheek cells and & Drosophila DNA

DAY 2 - make hypotheses to the question: how similar is the human ROBO1 gene to the Drosophila ROBO1 gene?; complete a virtual simulation of PCR and gel electrophoresis

DAY 3 - Analyze gel electrophoresis results and ask clarifying questions; begin BLAST activity

DAY 4 - Finish BLAST activity

DAY 5-  Phylogenetic tree construction and analysis


Curriculum Connections