Skip Navigation

Gene U: Genetics and Inheritance

Gene U: Genetics and Inheritance

The domestic dog is an important model species for understanding complex genetic traits.
© Stockbyte.

The fields of genetics and genomics are evolving rapidly and yielding exciting discoveries almost every day. Baylor College of Medicine’s Gene U project is creating and testing science and health curricular resources designed to introduce these subjects to middle and early high school teachers and students. Gene U covers topics such as the importance of family history in understanding disease risk, significance and genetic variability of the microorganisms on and within our bodies (human microbiome), and other emerging areas of research.

Content linked below includes a wide variety of genetics/genomics-based resources for educators, including complete undergraduate courses (available for professional development contact hours), video and slide presentations, and related materials for use in your classroom.

Gene U is funded by the Science Education Partnership Award program Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health. Development of the Genes, Health, and Society courses were funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Complete Teacher's Guide

Thumbnail Image for Complex Traits Teacher Guide

Complex Traits Guide for Teachers

Students use the domestic dog as a model to learn about genetics, mutations, phenotypes genetic mutations related to desirable characteristics and harmful effects in certain dog breeds. (6 activities)

Thumbnail Image for Complex Traits Slide Set

Complex Traits Classroom Slides

This slide set is designed for use with activities found in Complex Traits Guide for Teachers.

Thumbnail Image for Human Microbiome Teacher Guide

Introduction to the Microbiome Guide for Teachers

Students explore the human microbiome through scientific articles, in-depth and hands-on activites, and by answering thought-provoking questions. (6 activities)

Genetics/Genomics Courses

Thumbnail Image for Genes, Health, and Society Courses

Genes, Health and Society

This comprehensive course explores genetics and genomics in three discrete modules: Transmission Genetics, The Nature of Genetic Material, and Medical Genetics and Genomics.
Requires registration.
(20 contact hours per module)

Thumbnail Image for An Introduction to Genes and Inherited Traits Course

An Introduction to Genes and Inherited Traits

Explore background information about genes and physical characteristics of offspring to help when introducing students to heredity and inheritable traits.
Requires registration.
(3 contact hours)

Thumbnail Image for Seminal Experiments in Genetics Course

Seminal Experiments in Genetics

Examine 15 discoveries that advanced our knowledge of genetics over the past 150 years, leading to a greater understanding of how traits are passed from generation to generation.
Requires registration.
(6 contact hours)

Thumbnail Image for Key Advances in Genetics Course

Key Advances in Genetics

Learn about key advances in genetics over the last two decades, and examine the fields of proteomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics and behavioral genomics.
Requires registration.
(6 contact hours)

Individual Lessons: Genetics

Free, downloadable classroom lessons for teaching your students about heredity, genetics and genomics.

Thumbnail Image for Dogs—A Model for Modern Genetics Lesson

Dogs—A Model for Modern Genetics

Students explore variation among dog breeds, and compare variation within domesticated dogs to variation within wolves and other canids.

Thumbnail Image for Genotyping a Mixed Breed Dog Lesson

Genotyping a Mixed Breed Dog

Students follow the case study of a “mutt,” whose breed identity is uncovered by its owners through commercial genotyping. 

Thumbnail Image for Mapping A Mutation Lesson

Mapping a Mutation

Students learn about the genetic code and how small substitutions within the code can lead to physical changes in individuals, and use authentic data to uncover the SNP responsible for long hair in dogs.

Thumbnail Image for Genotypes and Phenotypes Lesson

Genotypes and Phenotypes

Students learn about how a change in the nucleotide sequence affects phenotype. They predict the outcomes of crosses between short- and long-haired dachshunds.

Thumbnail Image for Categorizing Hair Types in Dogs Lesson

Categorizing Hair Types in Dogs

Students explore phenotypic differences in hair types found in the coats of different dog breeds, as they begin to learn about complex traits. 

Thumbnail Image for Genetic Testing and Designer Dogs Lesson

Genetic Testing and Designer Dogs

Students learn about three examples where genetic mutations are related both to desirable characteristics and to harmful effects in certain dog breeds. 

Thumbnail Image for X or Y: Does It Make a Difference?

X or Y: Does It Make a Difference?

In this classroom activity, students learn and explain the significance of differences in X and Y chromosomes in the human genome.

View this lesson Download PDF Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for Reebops: A “Model” Organism for Teaching Genetic Concepts Lesson


The “Reebops” lesson demonstrates, and helps students to understand, how genetic composition leads to both similarities and variation among members of the same species.

Related Video and Slide Presentations

Explore BioEd Online’s library of videos and peer-reviewed, annotated slides related to genetics and genomics. All are free for classroom use.

Thumbnail Image for Evenings with Genetics Presentations

Evenings with Genetics

This series of 10 seminars offers families, teachers and health care providers current information on care, education and research related to a variety of genetic conditions.

Thumbnail Image for A 3D Map of the Human Genome Video

A 3D Map of the Human Genome

The human genome is two meters long but fits inside the microscopic nucleus of a cell. The genome also modulates the function of each cell so that the cells operate differently. What makes this happen? Suhas Rao and Miriam Huntley of the Aiden Lab describe a 3D map of the human genome at kilobase resolution, revealing the principles of chromatin looping.

Thumbnail Image for Introduction to Animal Behavior Presentation

Introduction to Animal Behavior

Explore the distinctions and interactions between inherited and learned behaviors in animals.

Thumbnail Image for Introduction to Biological Classification Presentation

Introduction to Biological Classification

Explore how different organisms are classified and learn about binomial nomenclature, the seven taxonomic categories, and dichotomous keys.

Thumbnail Image for Genetics and Inheritance


Discover what determines inherited traits, examine Mendelian genetics and learn about pedigrees.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for How Does DNA Fold? The Loop Extrusion Model Video

How Does DNA Fold? The Loop Extrusion Model

The human genome is two meters long, but it fits inside the microscopic nucleus of a cell. How is this possible? Research conducted in the Aiden Lab at Baylor College of Medicine suggests that the genome achieves this feat by forming loops and domains through a process called extrusion.

Thumbnail Image for Molecular Genetics

Molecular Genetics

What are genetics and genomics? In this series, research scientists explain how they unravel secrets of our genetic heritage. They also discuss advances in/applications of genomic medicine.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for The Structure of Cells Slide Set

The Structure of Cells

Each cell, whether prokaryotic or eukarotic, contains a structural, functional and biological purpose. Discover more about the structure of cells.

Nature News Stories

BioEd Online is pleased to provide current biology and life sciences news stories from Nature News, the science syndication arm of the premier international science publisher, the Nature Publishing Group.

For articles on a variety of topics, visit BioEd Online's Nature News library.

Gene edits to ‘CRISPR babies’ might have shortened their life expectancy Geneticist Sydney Brenner, who made tiny worm a scientific legend, dies Cancer geneticists tackle troubling ethnic bias in studies Coral symbiosis is a three-player game

Additional Resources

Thumbnail Image for Species Concepts and Reproductive Isolating Barriers Slide Set

Species Concepts and Reproductive Isolating Barriers

What is a “species,” and how do scientists determine which organisms to group together? This slide set explains scientific debates and processes related to the identification of different species.

Thumbnail Image for Embryonic Stem Cells Hot Topic

Embryonic Stem Cells

To understand the stem cell debate, it is important to know what stem cells are and the types of research for which they are used. Learn more about this important issue, and the efforts being made to advance the possibilities of stem cell research.

Thumbnail Image for Modes of Speciation Slide Set

Modes of Speciation

The study of speciation (formation of new species) can be envisioned as an investigation of how populations evolve genetic distinctiveness and become reproductively separate. View this slide set to learn more.

Thumbnail Image for Cells

Stem Cells and Cloning

Joseph G. Marx, PhD, discusses the cloning process, types and functions of stem cells, medical possibilities of stem cell research, and controversies surrounding this field.

Video Digital Slide Set
Thumbnail Image for Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms Resource

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute created the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms to help everyone understand the terms and concepts used in genetic research.


Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Gene U: Inquiry-based Genomics Learning Experiences for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25OD011134

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Using Learning Technology to Build Human Capital
Grant Number: 57363