Web Exercises

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Web Exercise #1: Sex Determination

LO 2.3 Discuss the choices available to prospective parents in having healthy children.

This chapter introduces students to two processes of cell reproduction: mitosis and meiosis. Further, it describes the importance of the 23rd pair of chromosomes, which determines sex of a baby. In some areas of the world, people use prenatal sex selection to ensure mothers give birth to male children. The textbook cites an essay (Bhatia, 2010) about China’s one-child family policy, and information about the ethics of infanticide is located here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/medical/infanticide_1.shtml

In this assignment, students shall write a five-paragraph essay in support of or in argument against prenatal sex selection. Instructors may randomly select students to take one side or the other in order to debate the issue in class after students complete the assignments.

  1. Search the reference section of the text to find the citation for Bhatia’s article.
  2. Search the university’s library database to download a copy of Bhatia’s article.
  3. Read the information on infanticide provided in the link above.
  4. Find additional resources to support or argue against prenatal sex selection.
  5. Write a 500-750 word five-paragraph essay.

More information on writing five-paragraph essays may be found here: http://www.studygs.net/fiveparag.htm


Web Exercise #2: Switched at Birth        

LO 2.1 Discuss the genetic foundations of development.

The textbook discusses the differences between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. MZ twins are the product of a single fertilized egg (zygote) dividing and becoming two genetically identical individuals; yet, DZ twins are the product of two zygotes developing into individuals, who are not genetically identical. The purpose of this activity is to think about the lesson in this chapter and make connections to the lessons presented in Chapter 1.

Directions: Read the New York Times article from July 2015:

  1. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences in each set of twins raised together as DZ twins.
  2. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences of each set of MZ twins.
  3. Relating this topic to Chapter 1, think about the nature vs. nurture debate and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory. How may similarities and differences in the brothers be explained by these theories?
  4. Relating this topic to Chapter 1, how has the context of development in the lives of each man changed?
  5. What do you think will be cognitive and social challenges each man will face?


Web Exercise #3: Genetic Disorders and Eugenics

2.2 Identify examples of genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.

As noted in the chapter, some disorders are the result of chromosomal abnormalities. Several factors contribute to genetic disorders, and many prenatal tests now reveal abnormalities. Parents at risk of having children with genetic disorders or who have children with genetic disorders now have the availability to receive genetic counseling and therapy for their children. However, these options only recently became available. The United States has a history of supporting a eugenics program, which influenced Hitler’s plot to create a superior human race. For more information, view this website:


For a take on the United States modern tangle with eugenics view this website:

You can also have your students watch “No mas bebes,” a documentary about forced sterilization of immigrant women in the United States in 1975. http://www.nomasbebesmovie.com/

  1. Discuss the history of the United States eugenics program.
  2. Who financed it?
  3. How did it influence Hitler?
  4. Do you think eugenics programs no longer exist? In what ways do they?
  5. Discuss “Mississippi appendectomies.” What were the motivations behind them? How could these procedures be allowed in the US in the 1950s?
  6. How do race and power come into play and impact our understanding of genetics and eugenics?
  7. What are the pros and cons of the Human Genome Project?