Students in Upper School biology recently delved into the practical application of dog genetics. Science teacher Katrina St. John arranged for her classes to collaborate with Debbie Landry, founder of iXplore, an organization that promotes STEM lab activities and curriculum in classrooms.
For this project, students looked at the trait of furnishings (longer facial fur) in dogs. By using DNA extracted from eight dogs and running it on gel electrophoresis, students were able to determine whether a dog was homozygous wild type, homozygous mutant type, or heterozygous (a mix of both).
Students were able to deduce the dominance pattern in this trait. Having furnishings is dominant, which is why we see dogs like golden doodles with long facial fur. Using sophisticated laboratory equipment, biology students were able to put their newfound knowledge of genetics to use and witness the power of genotyping.