Corn Cob Sprouting in Water

Description:  This dramatic time lapse shows corn kernels sprouting over time. Each of the kernels represents a new corn plant and so corn cobs represent a wonderful organism for studying genetics. In elementary this phenomenon can be used to show what plants need to survive. In secondary students can investigate specific crosses, analyze patterns in the offspring, and could even study transposons "jumping genes".

Web Resources:  Why Is Our Corn Changing? - Next Gen Storylines, Corn Genetics - Biology4Friends, Corn Genetics - Wikipedia


The Potential And Ethics Of CRISPR

Description: CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. It is an immune system in bacteria that has been co-opted by scientists to create a powerful DNA editing tool. It is a powerful tool that can be used in research and may eventually eliminate certain diseases. However it also could allow humans to create designer babies and through the use of gene drives eliminate certain problem species (like mosquitoes) forever. CRISPR, as a new technology, can be used to give meaning to a unit on inheritance and variation.

Web Resources:  CRISPR - Wikipedia, The Ethics of CRISPR - Fast Company


Ice Turns Himalayan Rabbits Black

Baby Himalayan rabbit Compared to adult

Description:  The Himalayan rabbit is an excellent example of an organism that shows how the environment can affect traits. A rabbit kit (baby) that is exposed to as little as 20 minutes of cold will develop darker fur. Since the ears and feet of a Himalayan rabbit are colder they are generally black in color. In a classic genetics experiment a Himalayan is shaved and then an ice pack is placed on its back. The fur grows back black in the location that was cooled.

Web Resources:  Himalayan Rabbit Markings - Wikipedia , Pathwayz - Genetics/Environment

Chilled and Warm Himalayan rabbit kits