Questions for Bio Sci Fi
Teaching full time again, I don’t get to update as often. I thought you might enjoy some of the questions my students are working on for Biology in Science Fiction.
1. Pandora isn’t the only place where people are blue. There is a real genetic condition of “blue people,” who lead normal lives. Here is their pedigree (above).
A. Is the blue condition dominant or recessive?
B. In the pedigree, who do you think carries two different alleles? (one dominant, one recessive) Name three individuals.
2. Suppose you are a genetic counselor. A couple comes to ask you about cystic fibrosis, an inherited recessive disorder with lifelong complications of breathing and digestion.
A. Both members test positive that they carry a recessive allele. What do you tell them is the likelihood that their child will have the disease? Explain.
B. Suppose the couple have two children. What is the chance that both will have cystic fibrosis? Explain.
C. Suppose the couple already have two children with the disease. The parents then come to you and ask: What is the chance that our next child will also have the disease? Explain.
3. Dr. Augustine is studying the prolemuris population of Pandora. She compares the DNA of a large number of prolemuris offspring with that of their parents. Offspring of a 7-year old prolemuris have 20 mutations compared to the parent, whereas offspring of a 12-year old prolemuris have 30 mutations compared to the parent. Assuming the mutation rate increases exponentially, what is the doubling rate of mutations in Prolemuris?
4. Suppose some people evolved the ability to absorb solar energy through photosynthesis, besides eating food.
a. What kind of evolution would generate people who resemble plants?
b. Would these people be able to interbreed with plants?
c. Do you think they would be human?