Science - 2018-19

LS.12 - Genetics

The student will investigate and understand that organisms reproduce and transmit genetic information to new generations. Key concepts include

a) the structure and role of DNA;

b) the function of genes and chromosomes;

c) genotypes and phenotypes;

d) characteristics that can and cannot be inherited;

e) genetic engineering and its applications; and

f) historical contributions and significance of discoveries related to genetics.

Bloom's Levels:  Analyze; Understand

Adopted: 2010


  • All organisms contain DNA, the chemical code that makes up the heredity material used to pass traits from parent to offspring..
  • All living things reproduce to produce more of their own kind.
  • All cells come from other cells.

  • I can explain why I have characteristics of both of my parents.
  • I can explain why my hair color resembles my family's, but my favorite food may not.
  • I can explain why there is a debate over GMO foods.
  • I can explain how early scientists determined the causes of diseases.


  • DNA is a double helix molecule.
  • DNA is a molecule that includes different components — sugars, nitrogenous bases, and phosphates. The arrangement of the nitrogenous bases within the double helix forms a chemical code.
  • Chromosomes are strands of tightly wound DNA. Genes are sections of a chromosome that carry the code for a particular trait. An allele is an alternate form of a gene. 
  • The basic laws of Mendelian genetics explain the transmission of most traits that can be inherited from generation to generation.
  • A Punnett square is a model used to predict the possible combinations of inherited factors resulting from single trait crosses. (An investigation of dihybrid crosses, multiple alleles, and incomplete dominance should be reserved for high school Biology.) 
  • Dominant traits mask the expression (phenotype) of recessive traits. Genotype is the specific combination of dominant and recessive gene forms. 
  • Traits that are expressed through genes can be inherited. Characteristics that are acquired through environmental influences, such as injuries or practiced skills, cannot be inherited.
  • In genetic engineering, the genetic code is manipulated to obtain a desired product.
  • Genetic engineering has numerous practical applications in medicine, agriculture, and biology.
  • A series of contributions and discoveries led to the current level of genetic science.


In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

a)  recognize the appearance of DNA as double helix in shape.

explain that DNA contains coded instructions that store and pass on genetic information from one generation to the next.

explain the necessity of DNA replication for the continuity of life.

b)  explain the relationship among genes, chromosomes, and alleles.

demonstrate variation within a single genetic trait.

distinguish between dominant and recessive traits.

c)  distinguish between genotype and phenotype.

d)  use Punnett squares to predict the possible combinations of inherited factors resulting from single trait crosses.

differentiate between characteristics that can be inherited and those that cannot be inherited.

e)  identify aspects of genetic engineering and supply examples of applications. Evaluate the examples for possible controversial aspects.

f)  describe the contributions of Mendel, Franklin, Watson, and Crick to our basic understanding of genetics.


DNA, double helix, chromosomes, genes, Medelian genetics, allele, dominant allele, recessive allele, genotype, phenotype, Punnett square, genetic engineering, inherited, acquired, sugars, nitrogenous bases, phosphates, Gregor Mendel, Rosalind Franklin, Watson & Crick, genetics, heredity

Updated: Jun 29, 2018