In this activity, students interpret several pedigrees of autosomal dominant and recessive conditions and consider the benefits and limitations of genetic testing.
Students answer multiple-choice questions about these pedigrees and explain their reasoning. For some questions, the goal is not to get the “right” answer but rather to discuss how pedigrees can be used to make decisions about one’s health. Students can answer questions as a class, in small groups or individually.
You can share the pedigree images via the “Student Handout” or “Slide Deck” presentation. The “Educator Materials” provides suggestions for implementing the activity and guiding discussion. A separate “Additional Background” document provides more information about pedigree symbols and other notations.
Student Learning Targets
- Interpret data in pedigrees of monogenic autosomal traits.
- Apply the information in a pedigree to predict health outcomes and make decisions about genetic testing.
- Consider the potential benefits and limitations of genetic testing for inherited diseases.
BRCA1, breast cancer, carrier, dominant, genetic counseling, heterozygous, homozygous, recessive, spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (SCA1), thalassemia, variant
Bennett, Robin L., Kathryn Steinhaus French, Robert G. Resta, and Jehannine Austin. 2022. “Practice resource‐focused revision: Standardized pedigree nomenclature update centered on sex and gender inclusivity: A practice resource of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.” Journal of Genetic Counseling 31, 6: 1238–1248. https://doi.org/10.1002/jgc4.1621.
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-3; SEP2, SEP6
AP Biology 2019
IST-1.I, IST-4.A; SP1, SP2
IB Biology 2016
Common Core 2010
Vision and Change 2009
CC3; DP2, DP6