This worksheet helps students understand the connection between DNA sequence, RNA transcript, and phenotype. It loosely uses the concept of Hox genes guiding phenotype development to illustrate what might happen if the Hox gene experiences mutations. Students create an mRNA transcript from a DNA sequence, and then use the dictionary of the genetic code to determine the amino acid sequence.
I have students imagine that mutations in this gene are beneficial (clearly this is not usually true, and this requires some discussion as well as suspension of disbelief for the purposes of the activity). I provide a list of mutations that result in the production of superpowers. Students determine what the new amino acid sequence would be if the Hox gene experienced a mutation, and determine what super power this would produce. More advanced biology students can tell you what kind of mutation each one is (missense, nonsense, frameshift, silent substitution etc).
An answer key is provided.
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