Why do family relations share common characteristics? How is genetic information passed down from generation to generation?
Students partner up to explore these central modern genetics concepts by cross-breeding aliens and tracking how observable characteristics (phenotypes) are expressed in offspring as a result of parental gene combinations (genotypes). Students also learn about dominance relationships between gene variants (alleles) by using Punnett squares to analyze the probability that offspring will have particular genotypes, and drawings to demonstrate an understanding of the connection between genotype and phenotype.
As a result of the Alien Babies activity, students will understand the two laws of Mendellian inheritance–random segregation and independent assortment–and be able to apply their knowledge to explain the genetic basis underlying the similarities and differences between family relations.