After studying the basics of enzyme function, students will be exposed to the history and evolution of lactose intolerance/lactase persistence. Both whole group and individual activities will ask students to interact with the concept. They will conduct a lab to understand the role of enzymes in lactose digestion and communicate their knowledge by creating a public health poster.
In this activity students analyze a familys pedigrees to make a claim based on evidence about mode of inheritance of a lactose intolerance trait, determine the most likely inheritance pattern of a trait, and analyze variations in DNA to make a claim about which variants are associated with specific traits. This activity serves as a supplement to the film Got Lactose? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/making-fittest-got-lactase-co-evolution-genes-and-culture). The film shows a scientist as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults. A detailed teachers guide that includes curriculum connections, teaching tips, time requirements, answer key and a student guide can be downloaded at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/pedigrees-and-inheritance-lactose-intolerance. Six supporting resource and two click and learn activities are also found on the link.