Genetic Inheritance

DNA GeneticsSuitable for KS 1 and 2

It is not survival of the fittest, it is the survival of those most adaptable to change.

Evolution is the driving force of all life on earth and is in turn driven by genetic diversity in a population, allowing individuals within that population to diverge, genetically, from each other. Genetic diversity is achieved through mutations in an organisms genome which occur during cell division or breeding individual organisms from distinct and separate populations, since half of an organisms genes are inherited from it mother and half from its father. This was first demonstrated by Gregor Mendel in the mid 1800s and is so described as Mendelian inheritance and is described with the terms “recessive” and “dominant”. Mendel demonstrated this using pea plants, but today it can be demonstrated using chickens.

In birds the sex of the offspring is determined by the female and NOT the male, (this is the opposite of what happens in mammals), since the genes that code for feather colour and for sex are on the same chromosome and since this chromosome is either dominant or recessive, this means that male chicks will be one colour and female chicks a different colour.

Equipment supplied by us:

  • Fertile eggs
  • Incubator
  • Worksheets

Equipment to be provided by the school:

  • Pencils
  • Laptop able to run the newest version of Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Projector

This session is in two parts. In the first instance we explain the concepts and leave fertile eggs with an incubator. The second session takes place 28 days later (once the eggs have hatched) when we are able to show the pupils the colour difference between the male and female chicks. There is an option for a third session, 12 weeks later, once the chickens are fully feathered they can be returned to the school, if the school has an allotment for the chickens to live on. In this session we will explain how to look after chickens, what to feed them and how to collect the eggs.