Online Projects

AETelegenetics '97


AETelegenetics is an online research project investigating phenotypic variation in high school students. We are interested in patterns of variation - - overall, and in different parts of the country, between the sexes, and in different ethnic groups. Data will be compiled centrally by Access Excellence. Teachers and students may suggest comparisons to make to test their own hypotheses. The results will be made available to everyone.

This will be a great opportunity for all of us to learn about ourselves and to ponder the interplay of genes, environment, and history in our traits. It will give our students exposure to spreadsheets and using data to test hypotheses. If you have questions, email Katie Noonan.

STUDENT PRIVACY: Students will be given identification numbers by their teacher. Teachers will be responsible for proofing data and removing spurious entries (Mickey Mouse).

TRAITS: We will assume that every trait involves both genes and environment interacting epigenetically. As T.H. Dobzhansky said, "Inheritance is particulate, but development is unitary." Information on the inheritance of some of the traits may be found at Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man . See links in Trait Description Table below.

ETHNICITY DATA: Ethnicity data is optional. We must be sensitive in making comparisons between ethnic and immigrant groups. Teachers can just skip this if it is too emotionally charged. However, it may be useful for students to consider. How different are we?? There will be tremendous overlap if there are any differences at all. Can we relate differences to environmental selection pressures in our histories?? Has there been any selection or self-selection in the US and Canada based on latitude differences over our short history as immigrants to North America? Among Native Americans? It could be fascinating.

There has been considerable discussion recently about how definable "race" is genetically. Socially, it is pretty discrete, although that is changing (hence the multi-ethnic option). Nevertheless it should give us a rough indication of where in the world the person's distant ancestors lived.

FAMILY DATA: Again, we must be sensitive to students who are adoptees or who may feel stigmatized because they do not know their fathers or other patrilateral kin.


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