Where Did You Get Those Genes?




Where Did You Get Those Genes?

Welcome to Discovery Lab 2000 ~~ Series #2

Today we will be studying the science of inherited characteristics.

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Professor Mill Ennium

Helping us again will be Professor Mill Ennium.  Professor Mill Ennium has been working on the Human Genome Project

He has been studying genes, and by the way...

Where did you get
your genes?

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At   Discovery Lab 2000, Professor Ennium has lab assistants and students that work with him often.  Today, one student named Phoenix has come to the professor with a problem. The problem just happens to be about inherited characteristics.   


Professor Mill Ennium

Lucky for Phoenix, I am quite familiar with the study of genes.  Let's take a look at his problem and see if we can help.

Phoenix has just been given a shoebox of old black & white photographs by a relative, and one of the people in the photos looks just like him. 


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This is Phoenix

Phoenix, a student at the Discovery Lab

Take a look at the pictures Phoenix brought to show the professor.   Picture A is Phoenix's great-great-grandfather as a baby.  Picture B is Phoenix as a baby. 

Phoenix's Great-Great-Grandfather Phoenix as a baby

Picture A

Picture B

What do you notice that is the same about the two pictures?

To answer the question, place your arrow in the box and "click" the mouse to get a cursor. Type in what you observe.

Click "Done" when you are finished.

What do you notice that is different about the two pictures?

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Professor Mill Ennium Professor talking

Phoenix talking


Do you have any idea what the professor is talking about?

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Professor talking
Professor Mill Ennium

Click on the pea plant image for more information about Gregor Mendel.  Mendel Page

Mendel's pea plant

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Professor Ennium reading Professor talking


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Phoenix writing

Phoenix's sister


Why do you think Mackenzie looks different from her brother?

Take a minute to guess what you think causes Mackenzie to look different.  Then take a peek here.  Use the vertical scroll bar to discover whether you were right or not.

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Professor Ennium studying cells under the microscope
Professor talking
Phoenix writing


Phoenix talking

Phoenix needs help.  What guess can you make about the picture of Phoenix's ancestor?

Remember that a hypothesis is a likely explanation for a problem.

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Professor studying specimen under the microscope


Professor talking

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Phoenix at the computer  

Phoenix talking


Because of the relationship between Phoenix, his ancestors, and his siblings... they share something.  What is it they share?

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Professor studying a specimen under the microscope


Professor talking
Professor talking  


hands at the keyboard


Finish the following sentences by filling in the blank:

Place your answer in the text  boxes, and then click "Check Me" to find out if you are correct.

Each living thing has a set of _____ that controls its traits.       

Individual traits are inherited as ____________.

Many characteristics of an organism are inherited down through the generations from the genetic ________ of the organism.      

Children will often resemble both their ___________.

Happy family

What it all comes down to is this:  The many characteristics we have are inherited from our genetic ancestors.

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I believe that we have helped Phoenix answer his question.

Phoenix looks like his great-great-grandfather because they are genetically related.

Phoenix has inherited some of his relative's characteristics.

The same is likely true for you. You have inherited some characteristics from your genetic ancestors. 

Do you remember Phoenix's family tree? 

Try making your own family tree sometime.  

Consider what traits you have in common with your ancestors, parents, or siblings. 

Click on the different members of this family tree.  Answer the questions that relate to your own family.

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Science study group

Now for a little fun!

Imagine if you could monkey around with your genes.  What would you get?

Click on the picture of the monkey-man to find the answer.

monkey business

Imagine if you wanted genes that would help boost your memory power.  You would never have to study again, right?  What animal's genes would you use to achieve this effect?

Click on the picture of the elephant-man to find the answer.
An elephant never forgets!

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Professor pouring chemicals Well, our time here at the Discovery Lab has ended.  I hope you have come to realize the importance that your ancestors play in the way you are today.  We owe it all to our genes, and we owe them to our ancestors.    

Phoenix talking

If you would like more information on genes, try exploring the web site established by The Human Genome Project.

World Wide Web


If you are interested in exploring that site, make certain that a parent, guardian, or teacher has agreed to extending this activity with futher explorations on the World Wide Web. 

Here are some of the great things you will find online at The Human Genome Project:

Miniature search engine to explore the entire site
List of genetic links
List of research sites with links
Virtual library of genetics
Discussions re: ethical, legal, and social issues
Publications re: genetics
Sections for medical professionals
Fact sheets on hot issues such as cloning
Resources for teachers and students
Image, video, and audio files
Genome glossary
Acronym listing

             and much, much more!

If you think you would like to explore the site, type this URL into your location bar in your browser: http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/Human_Genome   or click on the genome icon below.

Human Genome Logo

If you would like to explore other lessons in the Discovery Lab Series try out these lessons found at the BEACON Learning Center:

Series #1 What's Buggin' You?

Series #3  Double Trouble

Series #4  Mixed Up Cells   

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