Mapping Genes to Traits in Dogs Using SNPs
In this activity, students explore single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with different traits in dogs to identify genes associated with those traits.
The activity is based on actual genome-wide association studies (GWAS) with dogs. First, students learn about GWAS and SNPs, then answer questions about a news release that describes a real GWAS. Students then engage with a hands-on card activity to identify associations between certain phenotypes and SNPs in dogs. The activity includes an optional extension in which students use chi-square analysis to determine whether the associations are statistically significant.
This activity complements the 2013 Holiday Lecture “Dog Genomics and Dogs as Model Organisms,” in which biologist Elinor Karlsson discusses how dogs can be used as model organisms for genomic studies, such as GWAS. The activity includes actual sequence data from DNA isolated from dog saliva, which was obtained and analyzed by Karlsson and her colleagues.
Student Learning Targets
- Describe how a genome-wide association study (GWAS) works and what questions it can be used to investigate.
- Explain how GWAS uses single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to identify genes that affect a trait of interest.
- Identify and interpret patterns in real genomic data.
allele, base pair, genome sequence, genome-wide association study (GWAS), genotype, nucleotide, phenotype, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1; SEP4, SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
IST-2.E, IST-4.A; SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
Common Core (2010)
Math.N-Q.1, Math.S-ID.1, Math.S-IC.1; MP2
Vision and Change (2009)
CC3; DP2, DP6