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Animal Genetics Virtual Lab

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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.

About the Animal Genetics Virtual Simulation Lab

In the Animal Genetics simulation, you will learn about Mendelian inheritance and how a mutation in the DNA can give rise to an altered phenotype. Use PCR and gel electrophoresis to perform genotyping in order to discover the gene causing double muscling in cattle.

Fill in the pedigree

You arrive on a farm where they observe normal and double muscular cattle. Your first task is to fill in a pedigree that identifies double muscled cattle provided by the farm. By studying the pedigree, you’ll learn about hereditary traits and whether double muscling is autosomal or sex-linked and whether it is dominant or recessive. You can then draw a blood sample, and from that, extract DNA and perform further experiments in the laboratory.

Identify the candidate gene

Your next task is to perform genome scanning, which involves searching the entire genome and identifying the candidate gene, and using STR (Short Tandem Repeat) as markers; polymorphic sequences found evenly spaced in mammalian genomes that vary in different individuals. Recognizing STR patterns and similar gene sequence in double muscled cattle DNA, the goal is then to narrow down the genomic location of the candidate gene. You do so by amplifying the STR using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) and analyzing the PCR product size using gel electrophoresis. This step reduces the number of genes needed to investigate further.

Developing a DNA test

After identifying the responsible gene for double muscling, the last task is to develops a DNA test. This test will be used to identify meat that is sold with an organic label, because it is prohibited to sell organic meat coming from double muscled cattle. You’ll then get to use your newly developed DNA test on 3 meat packages from an organic farm.

Going through the Animal Genetics lab, you’ll learn all about Mendelian inheritance, genetic disease as well as molecular biology techniques in veterinary science. Can you use your animal genetics knowledge to find the gene causing double muscling?

Techniques In Lab

  • PCR
  • Gel electrophoresis
  • Pedigree/ linkage analysis

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Understand the different hereditary traits and the modes of inheritance
  • Construct a pedigree analysis based on observed phenotypes
  • Understand the genome scanning method to identify candidate genes
  • Identify the causative gene using various methods
  • Develop a DNA test

Screenshots of Animal Genetics Virtual Simulation Lab


Prof. Claus Bøttcher Jørgensen

Prof. Claus Bøttcher Jørgensen

Institute for Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences

University of Copenhagen

Dr. Camilla Vibeke Sichlau Bruun

Dr. Camilla Vibeke Sichlau Bruun

Institute for Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences

University of Copenhagen

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