Which Genetic Organism Is Best for Your Classroom?

With so many genetic organisms to choose from, it can be difficult to find the organism that fits your instructional and time needs. Do you need a specimen that requires no culturing and is ready to use out of the box like genetic corn ears for mono and dihybrid traits? Do you want students to perform their own genetic crosses and grow multiple generations as with Wisconsin Fast Plants® or Drosophila?

 

No matter the curricular need or available classroom time, Carolina has you covered. This guide offers benefits, best uses, time requirements, and example lessons for each of our most popular genetic organisms, making it easy to find the best fit for you and your students.

Genetic Corn Ears

Grade level: Middle school, high school, and college

Best use(s): Monohybrid and Dihybrid traits; Chi-square statistical analysis

Benefits: Reusable and ready to use out of the box

 

Genetic corn ears feature kernels that demonstrate traits that are easy to identify and score, and that align with traditional Mendelian ratios. Our monohybrid and dihybrid genetic corn show the inheritance patterns for kernels that are purple (R), yellow (r), starchy/smooth (Su), and sweet/wrinkled (su)—just as predicted with Mendel’s laws.

Activities using genetic corn often involve students making predictions using Punnett squares and comparing their predicted phenotypic ratios to the ratios found on actual genetic corn ears by counting their kernels. Chi-square analysis can be conducted to further determine if Mendel’s predicted ratios are supported or rejected by the actual phenotypic ear kernel count.

 

 

The lesson “Corn as an Introduction to Mendelian Genetics” is one of the many activities that can be performed using genetic corn.

176900 Corn Mount, Dihybrid Cross (R/R SuSu x r/r su/su)

For beginners to genetic corn, we recommend these kits:

176362 Monohybrid Genetics with Corn Kit

Monohybrid Genetics with Corn Kit

As an introductory activity for middle school or early high school, the Monohybrid Genetics with Corn Kit covers the basics of Mendelian genetics, including the inheritance of a single pair of alleles, one of which is dominant and the other recessive. Students score the phenotypes of the F2 and compare their data to their predictions.

176360 Mendelian Genetics of Corn Kit

Mendelian Genetics of Corn Kit

Designed for advanced high school or introductory college-level classes, this comprehensive kit covers all the basics of Mendelian genetics such as segregation, independent assortment, and monohybrid and dihybrid crosses, while also providing opportunities for analyzing data using Chi-square analysis.

176602 Corn Segregating Ear, R and Su Alleles 1:1:1:1

Corn Segregating Ear, R and Su Alleles 1:1:1:1

Purple Starchy:Purple Sweet:Yellow Starchy:Yellow Sweet. The result of testcrossing the F1 hybrid with the recessive parent (R/r Su/su x r/r su/su).

176540 Corn Segregating Ear, Su Endosperm Alleles 3:1

Corn Segregating Ear, Su Endosperm Alleles 3:1

Starchy:Sweet. An F2 ear from a cross between a starchy (Su/Su) and a sweet (su/su) parent. The sweet seed are wrinkled and the starchy seed are smooth.

176502 Corn Segregating Ear, R Color Alleles 1:1

Corn Segregating Ear, R Color Alleles 1:1

Purple:Yellow. The result of testcrossing the F1 hybrid with the recessive parent (R/r × r/r).

For teachers already using genetic corn:

Consider adding more phenotypic ratios to your corn lessons such as 1:1:1:1 to further challenge your students or explore the epigenetics of corn with the free resource below.

Genetic Corn Seedlings

Grade level: Middle school, high school, and college

Best use(s): Monohybrid traits; albinism; Chi-square statistical analysis

Benefits: Results in only 14 days

Genetic corn seeds will grow into seedlings with identifiable phenotypes for genetic studies in as little as 14 days. Simply plant, water, and watch an excellent demonstration of germination as seedlings appear with traits consistent with Mendelian ratios.

Genetic corn seeds are available with monohybrid traits, such as tall (D) and dwarf (d) or green (G) and albino (g), or as a dihybrid F2 seed demonstrating tall green:tall albino:dwarf green:dwarf albino (9:3:3:1). In addition to scoring of genetic ratios, corn seeds can provide a great example of albinism and its viability.

 

Activities with genetic corn often involve students counting the phenotype of corn seedlings to identify predicted Mendelian ratios with the potential addition of Chi-square analysis. Unique to the green:albino corn seed, an investigation into population genetics and lethal traits, such as albinism, can also be conducted for greater depth into genetics studies. See these free sample lessons for more details:

 

177130 Genetic Corn Seed, Green:Albino

For beginners to genetic corn seeds, we recommend:

177050 Carolina BioKits®: Albino Corn

Carolina BioKits®: Albino Corn

The perfect budget-friendly tool for teaching Mendelian genetics—your students witness dominance/recessiveness firsthand! Seedlings segregate in a ratio of 3 green:1 albino, and students can infer that the parent plant was heterozygous for albinism.

177160 Genetic Corn Seed, Tall:Dwarf 3:1, Pack 100

Genetic Corn Seed, Tall:Dwarf 3:1, Pack 100

About 100 F2 seeds give a ratio of 3 tall:1 dwarf in the seedlings, making this a great tool for demonstrating monohybrid Mendelian genetics.

For teachers familiar with genetic corn seeds, consider F2 dihybrid seeds or a plastomount demonstrating corn germination to cover even more concepts with your genetic studies.

177212 Genetic Corn Seed, Dihybrid, Tall Green:Tall Albino:Dwarf Green:Dwarf Albino

Genetic Corn Seed, Dihybrid, Tall Green:Tall Albino:Dwarf Green:Dwarf Albino

Tall Green:Tall Albino:Dwarf Green:Dwarf Albino (9:3:3:1). F2 seed showing the segregation of 2 independent plant characteristics, dwarf (d5and albino (lw3). About 100 seed.

POM17564 Corn Germination Plastomount

Corn Germination Plastomount

Early monocot development from seed to young plant with secondary roots and leaves. Includes an instructional illustration. Size, 3-1/2 x 3-1/2″.

 
177165 Genetic Corn Seed, Tall:Dwarf 1:1, Pack 100

Genetic Corn Seed, Tall:Dwarf 1:1, Pack 100

1:1. F2 seed giving a ratio of 1 tall:1 dwarf in the seedlings. About 100 seed.

Wisconsin Fast Plants®

Grade level: Elementary, middle school, high school, and college

Best use(s): Monohybrid and dihybrid traits; plant biology and multigenerational studies

 

Benefits: Diverse selection of phenotypes; 40-day life cycle; students perform the genetic cross, growing F1 and F2 seeds simultaneously; easy to care for; excellent source of large data sets

Wisconsin Fast Plants® feature many easy-to-identify phenotypes with a diverse range of different stem colors, leaf shapes, hairiness, height, and more. In as little as 15 days, planted Fast Plants® will reach maturity, demonstrate target phenotypes, and produce flowers ready to be pollinated for producing the next generation of your study. This provides not only rapid genetic data but also an opportunity for students to experience a complete plant life cycle and engage in plant breeding.

 

To use Fast Plants®, a variety of growing methods and learning objectives are available to choose from. Teachers seeking the quickest and easiest way to demonstrate Mendelian ratios often select our Wisconsin Fast Plants® 72-Hour genetics kits, which feature observable phenotypes to score in only 72 hours, or our Wisconsin Fast Plants® seed disks, which have seeds stitched into a disk for easy planting and plant separation.

 

For a complete and in-depth genetics study using Fast Plants®, growing systems or deli containers can be used with proper lighting to grow any of the large number of seed varieties available to meet a teacher’s objective in covering monohybrid traits, dihybrid traits, selection, and other subjects. For an example of a Fast Plants® lesson, please visit the Carolina Knowledge Center.

158804 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Standard Brassica rapa Seed

For teachers new to Fast Plants®, we recommend:

158940 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Monohybrid Genetics

Wisconsin Fast Plants® 72-Hour Monohybrid Genetics

Students germinate seeds from P1, P2, F1, and F2 generations. They observe the seedlings from P1 and F1 and construct an inheritance pattern model to predict the phenotype and genotype of P2 and what the F2 seedlings will look like. After they examine the actual P2 and F2 seedlings, they can revise their model and explain the results based on the data they collected. The driving question that students investigate is, “How do trait variations in Fast Plants® seedlings reveal inheritance patterns?”

158964 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Who's the Father? Investigating Genetics Kits

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Who's the Father? Investigating Genetics Kits

For a class of 32 students. How are traits passed from one generation to the next? In this 60-day investigation, students observe 3 generations of plants as they attempt to unravel the mystery of paternity. As the activity progresses, students develop explanations based on their own observations for the inheritance of 2 Mendelian genes. Kit includes everything needed except water and a light source.

For advanced Fast Plants® users, consider adding levels of depth to your genetics studies with varieties such as polycot and elongated to challenge your students with unconventional ratios and results.

158845 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Polycot Seeds

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Polycot Seeds

158824 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Tall Plant (Elongated Internodes), Seeds

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Tall Plant (Elongated Internodes), Seeds

158820 Wisconsin Fast Plants® Variegated (Somatic Variegation), Seeds

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Variegated (Somatic Variegation), Seeds

1:1. F2 seed giving a ratio of 1 tall:1 dwarf in the seedlings. About 100 seed.

Drosophila (fruit flies)

Grade level: High school and college

Best use(s): Monohybrid and dihybrid traits; sex-linked traits and gene linkage

Benefits: Large variety of phenotypes; students perform the genetic cross themselves; ideal for advanced topics in genetics or studies that require large data sets

Drosophila is one of the most widely used model organisms. With an incredible diversity of traits to study and a 2-week life cycle, genetic studies with Drosophila enable students to experience authentic genetic crosses over multiple generations in a relatively short time.

While Drosophila offers excellent and easy-to-identify examples of monohybrid and dihybrid traits with mutations such as reduced wings (apterous) and ruby-red eyes (sepia), it is the ability to study sex-linked traits and gene linkage that are conceptually unique to Drosophila compared to our other genetic organisms.

 

Working with Drosophila may appear intimidating at first, but Carolina has spent decades developing products and support to provide you with confidence when using Drosophila in your classroom.  Drosophila experiments begin by either selecting 2 parent strains to cross from our over 40 unique strains or by obtaining pre-crossed F1 cultures. Our cultures arrive to you with food included and will mature into adults ready for examination.

 

To analyze your Drosophila, simply add FlyNap Anesthetic to a wand and insert it into a culture to safely anesthetize flies for examination. Under a dissecting scope, students can then easily score traits to observe firsthand the genetic ratios resulting from their crosses. Explore example lessons and instructional videos below to preview how easy and insightful it can be working with Drosophila.

 

“Genetics with Drosophila F1 Crosses”

172320 apterous chromosome 2 mutant Drosophila

For those working with Drosophila for the first time, we recommend:

172159P Flightless Fruit Fly Monohybrid Cross Kit

Flightless Fruit Fly Monohybrid Cross Kit

Students study monohybrid genetics using flightless fruit flies. They cross miniature apterous (wingless) with miniature (serves as wild type) to investigate the inheritance of wings. The F1 have wings, while the F2 show a 3:1 ratio of winged to apterous.

172626P Carolina® Easy Fly® Dihybrid Cross Kit

Carolina® Easy Fly® Dihybrid Cross Kit

Experiments with Drosophila just got easier. Each Easy Fly® culture is heat shocked prior to shipping to kill all the males. Adults and pupae in an Easy Fly® culture are all females. In this kit, students study dihybrid inheritance by crossing apterous (wingless) males with sepia (brown eye color) Easy Fly® females. Materials are sufficient for a class of 32 students working in groups of 4.

171987 Drosophila Sex-Linked Cross Kit

Drosophila Sex-Linked Cross Kit

The Drosophila Sex-Linked Cross Kit demonstrates sex-linked inheritance using white-eyed and red-eyed (wild type) Drosophila. Kit includes a voucher to request the perishable materials later at your convenience. Contact Carolina or return the voucher to request delivery of perishables.

Experienced with Drosophila?

Did you know that we can create custom crosses, offer extra large cultures, and that our Carolina® Easy Fly® Drosophila Cultures contain only virgin females? Additionally, we continue to innovate to offer instructional materials and products to make teaching with Drosophila easier and more effective.

 

452620 Carolina® Drosophila Manual

Carolina® Drosophila Manual

A complete guide for maintaining and studying Drosophila. Our manual features detailed explanations and sound suggestions for virtually every aspect of using fruit flies for studying genetics.

173010 FlyNap® Anesthetic Kit

FlyNap® Anesthetic Kit

Never buy or use separate anesthetizer chambers again! With the FlyNap® Anesthetic Kit you can anesthetize Drosophila in their own culture vessels, eliminating the need to transfer Drosophila and decreasing the risk for dosage error.

173076 Drosophila (fruit fly) Culture Vial Sets, Plugs, Caps

Drosophila (fruit fly) Culture Vial Sets, Plugs, Caps

Fungi (Sordaria fimicola)

Grade level: High school and college

Best use(s): Meiosis; crossing over; gene mapping

Benefits: Easy to grow and visualize; works as demonstration or for lab activities.

Fungi are very diverse and easy to work with, with morphology that offers an amazing opportunity for students to see crossing over and recombination firsthand. One species, Sordaria fimicola, forms filaments that are transparent, enabling students to view dark or light embryos, whose order demonstrates if crossing over has occurred. Four dark or light alternating embryos in a row indicates no crossing over, and any other combination indicates that crossing over has occurred. This powerful observation allows students to calculate gene maps and rates of recombination.

 

Sordaria fimicola is studied in a variety of ways. As a demonstration of crossing over, already crossed plate cultures or prepared slides are often used for microscopic examination to count rates of crossing over.  For a more robust investigation, strains of wild type, mutant gray, and mutant tan can be obtained for students to perform crosses between the wild type and each respective mutant. The results are then counted and analyzed for recombination rates and gene mapping. However sophisticated your genetic studies need to be, Sordaria fimicola offer versatility and are much easier to maintain than other living cultures.

156290 Sordaria fimicola (Fungi Cultures)

To start using Sordaria fimicola, we recommend:

155847P Carolina BioKits®: Sordaria Genetics

Carolina BioKits®: Sordaria Genetics

Students cross the wild-type Sordaria strain with the mutant tan strain. Hybrid asci are produced containing 4 dark-colored and 4 light-colored ascospores. Students then use tetrad analysis to calculate the gene-to-centromere distance in map units for the mutant tan gene.

155846 Sordaria Demonstration Cross Plate, Living

Sordaria Demonstration Cross Plate, Living

A cross of Sordaria fimicola wild type and the mutant tan strain for demonstrating genetic crossing-over. For use with Advanced Placement® Biology Laboratory #3 or as a separate refresher demonstration from the exercises found in our Sordaria genetics kits.

 

AP® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board®, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, these products.

For teachers experienced with Sordaria fimicola, we offer a large variety of cultures and mutants in different forms to best fit your needs.

156290A Sordaria fimicola (Fungi Cultures)

Sordaria fimicola (Fungi Cultures)

155849 Sordaria Genetics Set

Sordaria Genetics Set

156295 Sordaria fimicola (Fungi Cultures)

Sordaria fimicola (Fungi Cultures) mutant tan, plate

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