Dog Drama game! Linking DNA proteins and traits.


Image adapted from https://www.dreamstime.com/illustration/dna-dog.html

DNA is a versatile code which encodes proteins that give rise to the observable traits of the organism. For example, traits that are encoded in a dog's DNA determine what features they have (e.g. long or short tail). A sequence of DNA that determines part or all of a trait is called a gene.

A dog is made up of thousands of genes that encode proteins. Together, these proteins help determine what the dog looks like. If we look at the genetic code (DNA) of a dog, we should be able to work out what it looks like.

Adapted from https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zp7thyc/revision/2

Dog Drama!

Join us for a game of Dog Drama. One mischievous pup has been eating food from the dog bowl in the middle of the night…. Which dog could it be?

The dog was not careful enough – a couple of dog hairs got stuck to the bowl as it was eating! From this, we can find out which dog is having more than their fair share of food…

How does it work?

We (the scientists next door) have extracted the DNA from the dog’s hair.

  • You need to look at the at the protein sequence that the DNA encodes to identify the traits that the dog will have. From there, you can find the dog that has eaten too much food.

The four suspects are:

1. Milo

  • Body shape: long
  • Coat colour: brown
  • Ear shape: long, pointy
  • Eye colour: dark brown
  • Tail: long and bushy

2. Lucy 

  • Body shape: short
  • Coat colour: brown
  • Ear shape: short
  • Eye colour: black
  • Tail: short, not bushy

3. Molly

  • Body shape: long
  • Coat colour: brown splodges
  • Ear shape: long, pointy
  • Eye colour: dark brown
  • Tail: long, not bushy

4. Archie

  • Body shape: long
  • Coat colour: brown
  • Ear shape: long, pointy
  • Eye colour: dark brown
  • Tail: long, not bushy

Now it's your turn to look at the DNA, the protein that it encodes and the trait that the dog will have! The following protein sequence/trait key will guide you: 

1. Body shape

DNAProtein sequenceTrait
A
F
G
T
Long
A
F
G
C
Short


2. Coat Colour

DNAProtein sequenceTrait
M
W
K
E
Brown
Y
W
K
E
Brown splodges


3. Ear shape

DNAProtein sequenceTrait
N
R
N
T
Long, pointy
H
R
N
T
Short


4. Eye colour

DNAProtein sequenceTrait
K
Q
E
S
Light brown
K
Q
E
T
Dark brown
K
Q
I
T
Black


5. Tail

DNAProtein sequenceTrait
P
C
Y
H
Long and bushy
P
C
Y
Y
Short, not bushy
P
C
Y
K
Long, not bushy


We (the scientists next door) have looked at the DNA sequence to find out what the protein sequences are. Look at the protein sequence below to work out what traits the dog has!

DNAProtein sequenceTrait?
A
F
G
T
M
W
K
E
N
R
N
T
K
Q
E
T
P
C
Y
K

DNA picture adapted from  https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zp7thyc/revision/1

Did you manage to identify the suspect?

Hint: if you are stuck, try using this sequence:

AFGT-MWKE-NRNT- KQET-PCYK


Game developed by Philippa Sinclair.