Dog SNPs and Curly Hair


In an effort to add more real data to the DNA (genetics) unit, I added a shortened form of the HHMI activity:  “Mapping Genes to Traits in Dogs Using SNPs”   The activity on HHMI is too advanced for freshman level biology, but I thought it would be a good introduction to DNA sequences.

The activity looks at a GWAS (Genome Wide Association Study) on dogs that examines the single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with curly and straight hair.

In my version, students just look at a small sampling of SNPs and try to determine which set is most likely responsible for the curly hair trait.

I laminated the cards so that students could use expo pens to make notations and count differences with the bases shown.  We also discuss the notations about where the bases are found (chromosome 27) and why the chart has three colors, each denoting a homozygous or heterozygous state.   Students seem to like any activity that involves dogs!