Eye Color: Is Blue Really Blue?

Overview & Concepts

What determines eye color? After learning about different models of how eye color is determined, students will examine phenotypes from 16 subjects and predict if they have B (blue) or non-blue HERC2 gene. Next they will analyze PCR light cycler data and see if that matches their predictions. This is an excellent lesson for investigating complex inheritance patterns, SNPs, and the subjectivity sometimes involved with phenotyping.

Grade Level: 

Concepts Covered: 

Genetics, polygenic inheritance, eye color, real time PCR, light cycler.

Prior Knowledge Required: 

Background on polygenic inheritance, PCR, single nucleotide polymorphisms

Activity Notes

Days to Teach: 

1-2 days


Worksheets, directions, and data charts are attached. The files Iris colors.docx and EyeColor_Light Cycler Data.pdf need to be either printed in color or put in a shared document space so that students can see the images in color. 

Teaching Tips / Activity Overview: 

  1. Activate students' knowledge by asking them to describe how eye color is inherited. Have a short discussion to gather ideas.
  2. Review the models for eye color inheritance using Eye Color.ppt.  If necessary, teach or re-teach about real time PCR.
  3. Hand out the student worksheet and let students work in small groups to complete it.  Students do a short background reading,  determine phenotypes using pictures, and then determine molecular genotypes using lightcycler data. 
  4. Gather the group for a discussion about how well their genotype data matched the phenotype data.
  5. Wrap up by asking students how what they learned in the activity integrates (or doesn't) with previous models of eye color inheritance.

Activity analysis could be loaded onto Google Docs for a collaborative class discussion.


After completing the activity, students will be assessed based on their correct interpretation of the light cycler data.


The online calculator based on the two gene model is at: http://genetics.thetech.org/online-exhibits/what-color-eyes-will-your-ch....


This activity is based on lessons written by Richard Riter and Marion Lesagonicz.  Those were based on an activity at the F&M Bioinformatics Seminar 2012, with data provided by The Clinic for Special Children. Additional information thanks to Tara Flick.

Academic Standards
Categories & Tags
Subject Area: 
Type of Activity: 

wholesale jordans shoes

wholesale nike shoes