Lesson 11: Parentage Analysis

Sturgeon Lesson Plan #11

Lesson Title: Parentage analysis using genetic markers


Students are provided a power point presentation containing background on use of genetic data to conduct parentage analysis.  The narrative contains information on algebra and statistical summaries of population background genetic information and how to determine likely parents of offspring based solely on genotypes.  An additional pdf file contains an example including data.  The students are asked to answer questions based on the data provided.


  • To gain further understanding on how genetic data are used in forensics and paternity analyses.
  • To gain experience with algebra and statistics
  • To practice problem solving based on interpretation and understanding of complex numerical data.


Subjects: Science, Math

Grade Level(s): 10-12

Content Standards:

Duration: 1-2 days

Day one may include presentation and discussion of the power point presentation.  The assignment and discussions during day 2 would involve students working to answer the questions.

Materials/What you Will Need:

The background web section on genetics and the ‘handouts’ for Lesson 10 on nomenclature, algebra and measures of genetic diversity would be useful background.  The instructor may wish to use Lesson 10 as a means of introducing the materials for Lesson 11.


Video may require Adobe Flash Player

Background is provided in accompanying materials associated with Lesson 11 (power point) and materials associated with Lesson 10.  The Genetics Section of the web also contains valuable background.


The lesson could be conducted as a lecture (i.e., from the power point presentation) or as an assignment and class discussion.  The assignment could be completed by individual students or the students could work in groups during class time.  Using class time to discuss results would be useful.

Extended Learning Opportunities:

The pdf that presents the data and asks questions represents only a portion of what can be done with the lesson.  The instructor would be encouraged to place this simple example into a broader ecological and behavioral context, for example by combining background with lake sturgeon mating behavior (e.g., the behavioral ecology section of the web and use of spawning videos.  Lesson 3 and Lesson 9 would also be useful to use as an application where genetic data could be used.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Assessment would be based on the following

  • Additional questions for the assignment could be developed based on knowledge provided in the power point presentation (with the assignment or in subsequent testing in the unit containin the Lesson.
  • Assessment of the completeness of the answers to the questions and discussion of findings.

Lesson Sources:

Research publications
Lesson-11-ppt-background-for-parentage-sturgeon-lesson (PDF)
sections in lake sturgeon web site with supporting information

Data Sources:

Lesson-11-problem-for-parentage-lesson (PDF)

Supporting Resources: