Bio 103, Lab 9, Mendel's Garden Revisited
One central piece of modern biology derived from Darwin's voyage to the Galapagos in the latter part of the 19th century. A second emerged, more or less independently, during the same period and resulted from the work of Gregor Mendel breeding pea plants and carefully observing the results. This work produced the first clear understanding of "laws of inheritance", and remains fundamental to most modern understanding of genetics. And it revealed a mechanism for generation of diversity above and beyond mutation.
In this lab you will be invited to participate yourself in making the kinds of observations and inferences that Mendel made. We will do so together studying not pea plants but fruit flies, and using not live animals (for which the studies would take weeks or months) but a computer simulation which is quite realistic in most important characteristics. The simulation, called FlyLab, is available to registered individuals (students in this class) at http://www.biologylabsonline.com.
After we've worked through some of the basic observations together, you should work in pairs to make observations yourself on some fly traits other than those we have explored together. Your task is to "make sense" of your observations starting with the basic ideas we develop together and adding whatever additional ideas seem necessary. Try and find some traits that yield unexpected results in a monohybrid cross, as well as some that yield unexpected results in a dihybrid cross. For the latter, be sure you have fully understood the behavior of each trait in monhybrid crosses first.