Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding

Genetics on a maize cob: A teaching tool for schools

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Genetics occupies central position in biology and directly
connects with all its branches. In fact, ‘life’ and ‘non-life’
meet each other in viruses and genes. Technologies
emanating from genetics have had immense impact in
various areas such as healthcare, agriculture, environment
etc. Recent developments in stem cell biology and gene
editing technologies not only promise cures for several
ailments which were hitherto unthinkable but also raise
concerns of irreparable harm that can result from unbridled
use of these technologies. Therefore, basic understanding
of genetics is necessary for all sections of society. Hence,
genetics is now introduced at the school level. However, at
least in the Indian context, genetics teaching in classrooms
relies largely on blackboard or chart-based explanations.
Unlike physics, chemistry and to some extent basic botany
and zoology where models or live/preserved specimens
are available to demonstrate fundamental concepts under
classroom conditions, there is a dearth of material resources
for teaching genetics. Maize has a long history of basic and
applied genetics where a large number of well-characterized
mutant stocks are available. To make learning experience
interesting and engaging, we have developed maize genetic
resources for use under classroom conditions. In particular,
maize cob with seeds segregating for various clearly
identifiable phenotypes presents unique opportunity to
demonstrate basic genetic principles including statistical
and population genetic concepts. In this article we describe
these resources and explain how they can be used to
demonstrate different concepts.

Keywords: Allele, gene, resource, school, student, model


Year: 2019
Volume: 79
Issue: 1, Supplement
Article DOI: 10.31742/IJGPB.79S.1.27
Print ISSN: 0019-5200
Online ISSN: 0975-6906



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