How Do Some Cells Affect Mouse Color?
In this phenomenon-driven activity, students investigate how cells are signaled to make melanin and explain how mutations in melanin pathway proteins affect the coat color of various organisms.
This activity is based on content covered in the short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation. Students make predictions based on the rock pocket mouse fur color phenomenon, observe models of the MC1R protein and its amino acid sequences, and explore the pathway for the biosynthesis of melanin in melanocytes. They transfer what learn about melanin production to interpreting the genotypes and phenotypes of other mammals.
Student Learning Targets
- Use a model to illustrate how changes in a biosynthetic pathway can lead to different phenotypes.
- Develop and use a model to make connections between changes in amino acid sequences and the resulting phenotype.
- Analyze and interpret a visual representation to determine how mutations affect a phenotype.
amino acid, cell signaling, eumelanin, genotype, melanin, melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), phenotype, phaeomelanin, Punnett square, transduction
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS4-2; SEP2
AP Biology 2019
IST-1.N, IST-1.O, IST-3.C, IST-3.D, IST-3.E, IST-3.G, IST-4.B, EVO-1.D; SP1, SP2, SP6
IB Biology 2016
2.4, 3.1, 5.2
AP Environmental Science 2020
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H; SP2
IB Environmental Systems and Societies 2017
Common Core 2010
Vision and Change 2009
CC1, CC2, CC3; DP3