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Genetics Construction Kit (GCK)

John N. Calley (University of Arizona), and John R. Jungck (Beloit College)
Screen Shots | *New Beta Version* | System Requirements

Genetics Construction Kit is a simulation of a classic Mendelian genetics laboratory. It provides you with a set of organisms with unknown patterns of inheritance, and gives you the tools to design and perform an experimental strategy to discover these inheritance patterns. You will be able to cross the unknown organisms and analyze your crosses in ways much like those used by practicing scientists.

GCK is not meant to replace work with real organisms. But the constraints of time, space, money, and unskilled laboratory technique important parts of real scientific research make it difficult for many students to experience the excitement and challenge of a real research problem. GCK can give you the chance to work with problems that have the real surprise and real complexity that make scientific research a fascinating activity.

A GCK problem always starts with a vial of organisms of unknown genetic constitution (on the left). GCK usually starts every new problem with a new set of inheritance patterns. In the figure below, the vial on the right shows the results of the first cross.

 

Screen Shots

A GCK window with two vials of organisms. Vial 1 contains the field population and Vial 2 contains the results of the first cross.

GCK provides several tools for analyzing and organizing your data. The Vial Summary Chart allows you to summarize the contents of a vial or set of vials, and the Cross Matrix is a record of the crosses you have made so far; it is also an index of the vials generated by these crosses. The Chi Squared worksheet allows you to test how closely an observed ratio matches the ratios you expect under a given hypothesis.

A Chi Squared worksheet. The hypothesis tested predicts a ratio of 2:1 for Aristaless and Aristopedia. The p value is .5650.

GCK comes with several predefined problems designed to present a different aspect of genetics or to illustrate a particular problem. In addition, using the problem editing utility, it is possible to customize a problem to meet your specific needs.

 

Beta version available

A beta copy of the next version of GCK (version 1.1B3) is included in this volume of the Library. This is a beta version because it has not yet been used in the classroom and may still have some problems. This new version of GCK will support traits which affect viability, sterility, or recombination frequencies as well as single traits controlled by multiple loci (genetic interactions) and multiple traits controlled by a single locus (pleiotropy), and traits which are differentially expressed in different sexes. Traits may be controlled by either the maternal or the zygotic genome (though not by combinations of the two).

 

System Requirements

Macintosh or Power Macintosh

  • System 6.07 or later; System 7.1 or later for Power Macintosh.
  • At least 800K of available RAM, more for complex simulations.

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