A CIESE Collaborative Project

Reference Materials

Ask the Expert Below are a few sites that list scientists and professionals that voluntarily respond to students' questions. Remember, some experts receive many of the same questions and respond to only 2 of 40 inquiries and direct the other inquiries to a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Therefore, please refer to the FAQs before sending an e-mail.


  • Hungarian Flash Animation- Challenge yourself to understand how this animation works and what it means, even if you do not know Hungarian. Courtesy of http://biologia.sulinet.hu.
  • Natural Selection Animation - Courtesy of Sulinet. It is evolution on the screen. There are a hundred of the animals, and they have three characteristics: red, blue and green which determine their color. You can set the environment with the sliders. When you start the process with the speed slider, first only that 50 survives of them which are closest to the color of the background (which are most adapted to the environment). Then each survivor will have a child, the characteristics of the child differ a little from that of the parent by a random amount. Again only that half population survives which is adapted the most and so on. You can change the environment anytime you want.
  • Independent Assortment - Courtesy of Sulinet. Click on the question mark for an explanation of what is happening. Select one animal and a circle will appear around it. Then select "Father" or "Mother" and click "X" and the cross will be made. Percentages will appear to the right for each phenotype. Can you figure out which trait is dominant?


  • iDNAfication- Teaches students to use biology and molecular biology techniques (including DNA fingerprinting) to solve forensics mysteries. Teachers may customize the game to omit some modules and to create a list of suspects that includes the students.
  • Origin: Unknown: Teaches students and science educators how to utilize WWW-based Bioinformatics tools in the analysis of biological macro-molecular sequence data.
  • Outbreak! Teaches students the clinical and diagnostic methodologies, and skills used in microbiology.

Genetics background

  • Morgan: A Genetics Tutorial - developed by Drs. Mary Gribbin and William Sofer of Rutgers University
  • Recessive and Dominant Inheritance
  • Inheritance Of Single-Gene Defects - Details from the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and therapy
  • The Debate over Dominance - A must read
  • Genetic Science Learning Center - Provides information to help people understand how genetics affects their lives and society from the University of Utah
  • DNA from the Beginning - "An animated primer on the basics of DNA, genes and heredity"
  • The Centre for Genetic Education - Several genetics fact sheets from the University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Basic Principles of Genetics -Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, San Marcos, California
  • Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA: A great story including primary documents outlining the search for the structure of the DNA molecule.

Problems and Activities

  • Virtual Fly Lab - In this module you are a scientist trying to discover the rules of genetic inheritance. Purchase required.
  • My Family and Me - pedigree activity (needs some "assembly")
  • What Will Our Baby Look Like? - coin flipping to determine what offspring will look like
  • Flash animation in ungarian - Challenge yourself to understand how this flas animation works without speaking hungarian

Color Blindness

  • Human Genetics Problem Set - color blindness pedigree problem
  • Color Vision Color Deficiency - information about color blindness
  • Color Blindness Problem Set -From The Biology Project, an interactive online resource for learning biology developed at The University of Arizona.
  • Colorblind filter - Filters the colors you see on the computer to simulate what a colorblind person would see.

Hardy-Weinberg Links

  • Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium According to Hoyle - Using playing cards to model basic population genetics
  • Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium - Explanation of the major objective of the project!! Lots of additional exercises.

Related Information

  • Blazing a Genetic Trail - How genetic disorders are inherited
  • The Gene Almanac ; Cold Spring Harbor… DNA fingerprinting and more
  • Tongue-Rolling is NOT a Simple Inherited Trait - Worthwhile explanation

Current issues in genetics and evolution

These articles provide some background on current issues in fields related to genetics and evolution and can be used as part of a class discussion or an extension reading for interested students.

Science Friday: Produced through NPR has had a month of great shows on genetics.

  • April 8, 2008: Genetic testing: How are genetic tests being used in the health care field?
  • February 22, 2008: What makes stem cells stem cells?
  • October 14, 2005: The Perfect Person. This one students will really like!!!!

At the above websites you can read more topic details and you should be able to download and play those broadcasts in the classroom with a computer and some small speakers. This is a great resource to current and engaging news that you can use in your classroom!

Intelligent Design

  • Show Me the Science by Daniel Dennett August 28, 2005 New York Times. The title really says it all! Professor Dennett cuts to the heart of the matter regarding the issues that underlie intelligent design. The article originally appeared in the New York Times.
  • Intelligent Design? a special report reprinted from Natural History magazine


  • Expressing Our Individuality, the Way E. Coli Do. from the New York Times Science Section, April 22, 2008.
  • REALLY?; The Claim: Identical twins have identical DNA. from the New York Times Science Section, March 11, 2008.
  • Prosecutors to retry twin in case marked by DNA limits. from the Boston Globe, August 26, 2005.

Stem cell research