Animal Genetics

Learn about the Mendelian inheritance of double muscling in cattle. Find the responsible gene using linkage analysis and learn how mutation in this gene alters gene expression resulting in double muscled cattle.

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About This Simulation

In the Animal Genetics simulation you will learn about Mendelian inheritance and how a mutation in DNA can give rise to an altered phenotype. You will use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis to perform genotyping in order to identify the gene that causes double muscling in cattle.

Fill in the pedigree

As a researcher you will be called to a farm to investigate a case about double muscled cattle. In your first task you will fill in a pedigree to help identify the double muscled cattle. By studying the pedigree, you will learn about heritable traits and whether double muscling is autosomal or sex-linked and whether it is dominant or recessive. You will then draw a blood sample, and from that, extract DNA and perform further experiments in the lab.

Identify the candidate gene

Your next task will be to perform genome scanning, which involves an analysis of the entire genome and identifying the candidate gene by using short tandem repeats (STRs) as markers. By detecting STR patterns and similar gene sequences in double muscled cattle DNA, your goal will be to narrow down the genomic location of the candidate gene. Experimentally, this will be achieved by amplifying the STRs using PCR and analyzing the PCR product size using gel electrophoresis.

Develop a DNA test

After identifying the gene responsible for double muscling, your last task will be to develop a DNA test. This test will be used to determine the origin of organic meat; as it is prohibited to label meat as organic if derived from double muscled cattle. You will use your newly developed DNA test on three meat packages from an organic farm.

Will you be able to use your understanding of animal genetics to find the gene which causes double muscling and develop a reliable commercial test for organic meat?

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