Sickle Cell Anemia: A Case Study Approach to Teaching High School Genetics

Sickle Cell Anemia and Genetics: Background Information. ¥ Sickle Cell Anemia: Blood Video Questions and Translation Practice. Worksheet …

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Sickle Cell Anemia: A Case Study Approach to Teaching High School Genetics
Summary: Sickle cell anemia is an example of a genetic disease that can serve as a vehicle for teaching many biology concepts. Using a case study approach, opportunities arise to make connections not only to various aspects of genetics and molecular biology, but to physiology, evolution, and societal and ethical issues as well.

Sickle Cell Anemia: Blood Video Questions and Translation Practice Worksheet Blood video/Sickle Cell Background After watching the video Blood is Life and reading the handout Sickle Cell Anemia and Genetics:
Background Information, answer the following questions.

  1. Rosalyn has sickle cell anemia. Describe her symptoms.
  2. Describe the structure of hemoglobin. (How many chains are there? What types? Why is iron necessary for blood?)
  3. How does sickle hemoglobin differ from normal hemoglobin?

Allele Frequencies and Sickle Cell Anemia Lab
Student Instructions
Objective: To observe how selective forces can change allele frequencies in a population and cause evolution to occur.
Background: Read the background information provided in the handout, Sickle Cell Anemia and Genetics: Background Information.
Introduction: Allele frequency refers to how often an allele occurs in a population. Allele frequencies can change in a population over time, depending on the `selective forces’ shaping that population. Predation, food availability, and disease are all examples of selective forces.
Evolution occurs when allele frequencies cange in a population!
In this activity, red and white beans are used to represent two alleles of globin. The RED beans represent gametes carrying the globin A allele, and the WHITE beans represent gametes carrying the globin S allele. The Gene Pool exists in a region of Africa that is infested with malaria. You are simulating the effects of a high frequency of malaria on the allele frequencies of a population.
75 red beans, 25 white beans, 5 containers (e.g. paper cups)
What do you think will happen to the frequencies of the A and S alleles as a result of the presence of malaria? (Will the frequency of A increase or decrease? What about S?) Formulate a hypothesis and corresponding prediction. Be sure to explain your reasoning.

  1. Together with your lab partner, obtain five containers and label them as follows:
    1. AA
    2. AS
    3. SS
    4. Non-surviving alleles
    5. Gene Pool
  2. Place the 75 red and 25 white beans in the Gene Pool container and mix the beans up.
  3. Simulate fertilization by PICKING OUT two `alleles’ (beans) WITHOUT LOOKING.
  4. For every two beans that are chosen from the gene pool, another person will FLIP A COIN to determine whether that individual is infected with malaria.
  5. Using the table below, the coin flipper tells the bean picker in which containers to put the beans.

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