Material Detail

The Virtual Genetics Lab

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 have students understand the logic of genetic analysis - how one can use crosses to determine how a trait is inherited and reinforce their understanding of transmission genetics. When a student starts a problem in VGL, the software generates the underlying genetic model based on constraints contained... Show More


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Suzanne Kissel
Suzanne Kissel (Staff)
8 years ago
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
Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
Jodi Wheeler-Toppen (Faculty)
8 years ago
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.
Used in course? Yes
Time spent reviewing site: I've been using it for several years.
Ethan Benatan
Ethan Benatan (Administrator)
8 years ago
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.
Anita Klein
Anita Klein (Faculty)
8 years ago
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? Yes