Inheritance: Itís In the Genes
An introduction to DNA as the genetic material that is passed from one generation to the next, its location and form in the cell, and the genetic and environmental influence on physical traits in humans.
• Students will understand that DNA is what carries genetic information from one generation to the next.
• Students will understand the relationship between DNA, genes, and chromosomes.
• Students will be able to give examples of genetic traits.
• Students will be able to explain the meaning of inheritance.
• Students will consider the impact of both genetic and environmental factors on traits.
5th Grade - 6th Grade - 7th Grade
Print the reading comprehension passage and questions (see below).
Students should read the passage silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as part of a classroom lesson plan.
Have you ever wondered how there are so many people that live on the earth, yet we all look and act differently? All people are actually very much alike when it comes to their DNA. Even though our DNA is 99.9% the same as any other humans', that small percentage of difference leads to lots of variety. The DNA that we have in our cells was passed down to us by our parents. Except for identical twins, we each have our own unique DNA code. Our DNA "fingerprint" can be used to identify us.
How is DNA passed on from one generation to the next? DNA is located in the nucleus of each of our cells. Inside the nucleus, DNA is tightly coiled into structures called chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs or 46 chromosomes in each of their body cells.