Activity 2: Discovering Your Creatures' Genetic Code

In the real world, we know that the physical characteristics we are born with are due to the genes we inherit from our parents. Human cells contain 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Each chromosome contains several genes, which dictate how our bodies will look and behave. What truly distinguishes each of us from everyone else is our genes. For example, Susie has longer arms than her sister Sally. Chances are Susie has a different gene than Sally that has "programmed" her to have longer arms. Since humans have thousands of different genes, it is sometimes difficult to know which genes control particular features or functions of our bodies. That is why scientists started the Human Genome Project. The goal of this project is for scientists to work together to discover all the different genes in humans and to know their function.

A. We might imagine that each characteristic of your creatures is caused by a different gene. Using the Genetic Code Chart, write out the genetic code for the original creatures you created in Activity #1.

Creature #1:

Creature #2:

Creature #3:

B. In question I from Activity #1, you were asked which one change you would have made to your creature to make it more successful in its environment. Write out the genetic code of your creature as if it possessed these new characteristics.


C. Have one member of your group change one aspect of the environment used in the previous question. Describe how the creature would have to change in order to adapt to this environmental change. Write a new genetic code for the creature to reflect how it might change to adapt to its new environment.



D. As an environment changes over time, we note that an organism evolves to adapt to those changes. On the cellular level, what is it specifically about an organism that must also change with time if the organism is to survive?