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The Virtual Genetics Lab


The Virtual Genetics Lab

Logo for The Virtual Genetics Lab
The Virtual Genetics Lab (VGL) is a simulation of transmission genetics that approximates, as closely as possible, the hypothesis-testing environment of genetics research.  In this lab, students cross hypothetical creatures and examine the progeny in order to determine the mechanism of inheritance of a particular trait.  As in actual research, it is not possible to 'see the answer' - the student must decide for herself when she has collected enough data to be sure of her model.  The goal is to... More
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Material Type: Simulation
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: April 24, 2009
Date Modified in MERLOT: December 20, 2012
Submitter: Brian White
Keywords: Mendelian, Genetics, inquiry, recessive, monohybrid, independent assortment, problem-solving, X-linked, dihybrid, dominant, simulation


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
    Editor Review
    Very good quality; in queue to be peer reviewed
    avg: 5 rating
  • User review 4.75 average rating
  • User Rating: 4.75 user rating
  • Discussion (4 Comments)
  • Learning Exercises (1)
  • Bookmark Collections (7)
  • Course ePortfolios (none)
  • Accessibility Info (none)

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Primary Audience: Middle School, High School, College General Ed, College Lower Division, College Upper Division
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements: - Windows 9x and above
- Mac OS X 10.1 and above
- requires Java Version 1.5 and above for either platform.
Language: English
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: yes
Accessibility Information Available: no
Creative Commons: unsure


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Discussion for The Virtual Genetics Lab

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Avatar for Suzanne Kissel
7 years ago

Suzanne Kissel (Staff)

It's really best for students to have a basic understanding of the application of human disorders and instructors should be available to help them work through specific difficulties
Time spent reviewing site: 1 hour

Avatar for Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
7 years ago

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen (Faculty)

I have been using VGL with my science methods classes as an example of a task that requires 1) critical thinking and 2) deep understanding of content. There are a number of studies that indicate that students learn the algorithms of genetics without grasping the underlying concepts. VGL forces students to develop real understanding. This is a practical tool for my students to take back to the classroom because it is easy to use, easy to install, and free.
Time spent reviewing site: I've been using it for several years.
Used in course

Avatar for Ethan Benatan
7 years ago

Ethan Benatan (Administrator)

I'm in IT, not in the classroom, so the detailed comments will have to come from the profs. But we're delighted to have this new version that includes linkage and other improvements.

Technical Remarks:

Seems solid to run--we'll be putting it onto all our lab machines.
Time spent reviewing site: Less than an hour.

Avatar for Anita Klein
7 years ago

Anita Klein (Faculty)

The exercises are best used after covering basic Mendelian principles, and gene interactions. It takes students from projecting offspring categories and frequencies when genotypes are known and crosses are specified to deducing genotypes and modes of Mendelian traits (domininant, recessive, two or more loci) from the outcomes of crosses students make themselves.
Used in course