How did you do on your work?
The work for this week centered around patterns of inheritance. This included such activities as the virtual fruit fly lab, various worksheets, and vodcasts 4.10, 4.11, and 4.12. I think I did well on this work. Much of the information in the vodcasts was new to me, like the examples of diseases that are caused by certain allele combinations, etc.; however, I had a good foundation of understanding to start from, so this new information was not overwhelming.
What do you think you understand well?
I understand how to use probability to solve problems relating to inheritance. This is in large part due to my experience in Statistics last year. Coupled with my understanding of the meiosis process, this knowledge allows me to solve most of the problems we are given correctly.
Where do you think you can improve?
While I understand how to perform crosses and find probabilities, interpreting the findings is more difficult for me. For instance, we did four crosses in the fruit fly lab; the first three were assigned, and the last one was chosen by the students. After performing each cross, we were supposed to use the results to hypothesize what type of inheritance pattern the particular trait in question showed. The first three were fairly easy for me, but the last was very difficult. I definitely wouldn't have figured it out without help from Mrs. Cole. It turns out that the trait I was investigating, antennae, was lethal to the fruit fly in the homozygous dominant genotype. While it is important to know how to perform crosses, it is equally as important to know how to interpret them. I could improve in this area so that in the future, I could see and identify the patterns myself.
What strategies will you use to improve?
I think time and experience is all I really need to improve in this area. I think after working a lot with many patterns of inheritance, I will eventually be able to reach my own (hopefully correct!) conclusions. As always, extra studying and asking more questions could help me improve in all areas covered this week.
How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
You don't have to look hard to see how all the work we do in this class fits together. Biology is the study of life; thus. the goal of studying biology is to understand how life operates. Earlier in the year, we explored life at its simplest level, the atoms that make up the four molecules of life: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Next, we looked at how these come together to form organelles and the function of these organelles in the cell. From there, we learned about functions of the cell itself, such as replication. It is only natural that then we learn about "replication" of entire organisms, or reproduction. Understanding inheritance is important in its own right, because it allows us to answer questions about real populations, but it is also a stepping stone to other topics that are soon to come.