Race and Genes

Race and Genes


You and your classmates have engaged in a discussion of how humans are one species sharing a common genome but we vary greatly due to differences in gene expression, effects of epigenetics, and effects of culture. Now you should reflect on the concepts and feelings raised by the discussion.


To begin, you can visit these resources to gain more information about genes and culture:

If you need a biology dictionary to clarify terms, a good source is The Biology Project.

As you go through these resources, think about your answers to these questions. You can record your answers on the Race: Genes & Culture student sheet.

  1. What is a biological phenotype? Give an example from plants or animals of two different phenotypes of the same species.
  2. Are phenotypes the result of biology or a category made up by cultural groups?
  3. Are racial categories the result of biology, or are they groupings made up by cultural groups?
  4. The Central Dogma of modern biology begins with: "DNA makes...." Complete the central dogma statement. Explain in your own words what it means.
  5. What does the phrase "gene expression" mean?
  6. Explain the evolutionary advantage of pigmented skin for people living in equatorial regions, such as Africa.
  7. Explain how twin girls can have the same biological parents, but look like they are from different parts of the world. In your answer, be sure to use these four terms: phenotype, gene expression, evolution, and survival advantage.

Now you should watch the Our Molecular Selves video again on your own. Watching this video again should help you better understand the genetic similarity of all humans and the basics of modern biology's central dogma. As you watch the video, use it to help you label the illustrations on the Race: DNA student sheet.

Knowledge Check

To check your understanding about the common genetic unity of the human species and the roles of DNA and RNA in determing our bodies' form and function, take the online Human Variation Quiz.

This esheet is a part of the Race and Genes lesson.

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