For High School Teachers
  From DNA to Organism: A Study in DNA Function for the High School Biology Classroom

Modules 2: DNA and genes 

The genetics of the problem

           As we have seen there are many different types of plants with many different phenotypes. Even within one species of plant there can be many different forms of the plant. The key to these forms is that not all of them are good; in fact most of them tend to be bad for the plant. For example, a short plant is not as good as a tall plant, in most cases because the tall plant is better able to compete with other plants for sunlight to use in photosynthesis. In this lab we will investigate what might cause the problems that we have observed in the Arabidopsis plants that we looked at. 

           A scientist suggests that the problem may be caused by a certain mutation in a gene that he has been working on. The gene is called AKT-1. The gene is about 900 base pairs (b.p.) long. He suggested that we check to see if the mysteriously poorly growing plants have that gene mutation. A wild-type plant would have the 900 b.p. gene and a mutant would have something different, or no gene at all. Our job in this investigation will be to see if they do or not. We will need to see some DNA lab techniques along the way to answer the question.