Unit 5: Molecular Genetics

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Content Standards:
Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.
Students will know…
  • DNA and in some cases RNA is the primary source of heritable information.
  • Cells can be activated, produce new products, and retain their activated state through gene regulation.
  • A variety of intercellular and intracellular signal transmissions mediate gene expression.
  • Changes in genotype can result in changes in phenotype.
  • Biological systems possess multiple mechanisms that increase genetic variation.
  • Viruses reproduce and can introduce genetic variation into their hosts.
Students will be able to…
  • Construct scientific explanations and use data to justify that DNA, and in some cases RNA, is the primary source of heritable information.
  • Describe representations and models of how the cellular processes pass genetic information from generation to generation.
  • Describe representations and models by which genetic information is translated to the production of polypeptides
  • Describe how humans can modify heritable information.
  • Use appropriate representations and examples to describe how inter- and intra-cellular signals affect gene expression.
  • Articulate the connection between regulation of gene expression and observed differences between organisms.
  • Explain how the regulation of gene expression is essential for efficient cell function.
  • Explain how signal pathways mediate gene expression and how this process affects protein production.
  • Use appropriate representations and examples to describe how inter- and intra-cellular signals affect gene expression.
  • Predict how a change in genotype, when expressed as a phenotype, provides a variation that can be subject to natural selection.
  • Analyze through visual representation how changes in a DNA nucleotide sequence can result in a change in the polypeptide produced.
  • Predict that changes in a specific DNA or RNA sequence can result in changes in gene expression.
  • Evaluate scientific explanations of mechanisms that increase variation within a population.
  • Describe mechanisms that increase genetic variation in organisms.
  • Construct an explanation of how viruses introduce genetic variation in host organisms.
  • Describe how viruses reproduce in host organisms.
  • Use appropriate models and representations to describe how viruses introduce genetic variation into their host organisms.
Reading Assignments:

  • History of DNA Research research
  • DNA Structure/Replication p. 305-324
  • Protein Synthesis p. 325-344
  • Mutations/Cystic Fibrosis p. 344 – 350
  • Operon p. 351 - 356
  • Control Mechanisms/eukaryote p. 356- 379
  • Viruses p. 381-395
  • Biotechnology: Recombinant DNA p. 396-404
  • Biotechnology: DNA Sequencing p. 405-423
Lab Activities:
  • A.P. Lab 6: Molecular Biology
  • Lab: DNA Extraction
  • Lab: Cystic Fibrosis
  • Simulation: DNA Fingerprinting
  • Paper Plasmid Lab

  • Here is a link to a website that has lots of good explanations of all things involving DNA!


1. History of DNA Research

  • Here is a link to the paper published by Watson and Crick in 1953. Read it carefully and answer the questions on the worksheet (paper copy....PASS IN)


  • Take notes as you watch this video about the experiments of Meselson and Stahl

  • Complete the following essay based on your work on the history of DNA research.

Experiments by the following scientists provided critical information concerning DNA. Describe each classical experiment and indicate how it provided evidence for the chemical nature of the gene.
    1. Hershey and Chase- bacteriophage replication
    2. Griffith and Avery, MacLeod and McCarty- bacterial transformation
    3. Meselson and Stahl- DNA replication in bacteria. PASS IN ESSAY.
  • Complete this webquest to review the history of DNA research.

  • To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, more than 60 scientists were interviewed regarding their contributions. This is an amazing resource regarding the history of genetic research!


2. DNA Replication

  • Still confused about DNA replication? Watch this video.

  • Here is a very short video showing an animation of DNA Replication and the formation of Okazaki fragments.

3. Protein Synthesis

  • Watch this video of transcription and translation.

  • Here is an animation showing protein synthesis.

  • Go to the Reading the Code segment of this website to answer the questions on the worksheet.


4. Control of Protein Synthesis

  • Click on the link below to read the article on epigenetics.


  • Below are questions to be answered as you watch the Nova video "Ghost in Your Genes" .

5. Biotechnology

  • Use the website to investigate the topic of recombinant DNA


  • Click here to bring you to the Sandwich High School Biotechnology Website


6. Viruses

  • Use powepoint to take notes and complete questions on virus study guides chapter 19. (Download from home page of WIKI) Make sure to include a diagram comparing the lytic and lysogenic cycles. Use texts in back of classroom (Duck books) to answer questions. Complete any missing questions using your text tonight for homework.

  • This is a link to an animation of the viral life cycle.

  • Here is a video on the techniques used in gel electrophoresis.

  • This is a video that introduces the techniques needed to use a micropipette.