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Gene linkage and pedigree analyses Virtual Lab

Put yourself in the place of a genetic counselor and find out if the daughter of a breast cancer patient is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer herself. Help her by constructing a pedigree and finding the defective gene by using linkage analysis.

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Gene linkage and pedigree analyses

About this Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length Medical Genetics simulation. 

Did you know you can easily check if you have a small mutation in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 that can make you more likely to develop breast cancer? In this simulation, you will learn to construct a pedigree based on the acquired data from the DNA of the patient and discover the potential relationship between mutations and cancer development risk but using linkage analysis.

Constructing pedigree

Your first task is to construct a family pedigree based on the gathered information. You will learn how to read a family pedigree and determine whether or not traits are hereditary. You will visit the hospital and talk with a doctor to learn about hereditary cancer and identify genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that can cause hereditary breast cancer in a family.

Linkage analysis

Next, you will arrive in the laboratory to start your experiments. You will begin with a linkage analysis using four microsatellite markers that are located close to BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Then you will perform a PCR to amplify the microsatellite markers and interpret the results by using gel electrophoresis. 

Analyze the pedigree

In the end, by using the gel electrophoresis results, you will analyze the genotypes from family members. Will you be able to determine which gene is linked to hereditary breast cancer in this family?

Learning Objectives

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

  • Construct a pedigree using a polymerase chain reaction derived data

  • Interpret the relationship between specific genetic mutations and cancer development risk

Techniques in Lab

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

  • Pedigree/ linkage analysis
  • Pedigree trees

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