Tag Archives: Alice

Looking Glass Genetics : Gene Mapping

The Mad Hatter and March Hair setting up a breeding experiment in a teacup

The Mad Hatter and March Hair setting up a breeding experiment in a teapot

In addition to Genetic Counseling for the cards, your lab has been investigating the genetics of the Dormouse.

Dormice have either the ability to Speak (S) – or are Mute(s).

Additionally, they are either Cruel or Kind.

You wish to map the distance between the Speech and Disposition genes and determine whether Cruelty or Kindness is dominant. (Here, not a metaphysical question)

You begin by obtaining true-breeding animals:

  1. A Speaking , Kind Male
  2. A Mute, Cruel Female

(oh, the cries of misogyny!)

Once bred, this coupling gives rise to a litter of six offspring. All six can speak and are unfailingly kind.

These offspring are then bred to true-breeding homozygous recessive mates. The results of these matings are:

      #                     Phenotype

35                   Speaking, Kind

15                   Speaking, Cruel

15                   Mute, Kind

35                   Mute, Cruel

  1. What can you determine from these results?

In similar experiments, Cruel, Longhair and Kind,Shorthair animals were examined. Both parentals were true breeding and the F1 litter consistend entirely of Kind, Longhair animals. These F1 were then crossed with homoztgous recessives for both traits, resulting in:

    #                     Phenotype

20                   Kind, Longhair

80                   Kind, Shorthair

80                   Cruel, Longhair

20                   Cruel, Shorthair

What do these data add to your understanding of Dormouse genetics? Can you map the three genes to one Chromosome? What experiment do you want to do next?

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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The first hand : Mendel in Wonderland

In wonderland, much depends upon the suit and rank of a card. In the time of Alice, the Hearts held power, but since then, the Queen of Hearts has been imprisoned and the Kind of Spades now rules the land.

Families now strive to have children of high suits in order to give them the best chance at a good life.

Suit values are as follows:

Clubs < Diamonds < Hearts < Spades


Conveniently, the inheritance of the suits follows the same order. That is Spades are dominant over all suits, Hearts are dominant over Diamonds and Clubs, and Diamonds are dominant over Clubs.

SC < SD < SH < SS

Two cards come into your clinic to get genetic counseling. They want to know what chance they have of having a Hearts or Spades baby.

Mom is the Three of Hearts

Dad is the Five of Diamonds

They already have three children: a Two of Hearts, a Seven of Clubs, and a Jack of Clubs.


From the information provided above, what do you know?

Is it possible that they can have a Hearts Baby?


Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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A pointer into the past

Opps – post removed to alternate blog.

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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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How to program ‘ZombieCatchAlice’

OK, I’ve thrown together a quick program with a Zombie chasing Alice through the streets of a little city. He says ‘Brains!’, she yells ‘Oh, Help!’, runs a couple of paces, turns, yells for help again and runs a few paces. All the while, the zombie is following her around the screen and the camera follows the action. 

What I don’t know how to do is program an event that is triggered by the zombie ‘catching’ alice. I’d like to see the zombie get her, turn her into a zombie and the two can go after other characters on the screen.


Help is greatly appreciated.


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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Today was day 3 of Programming Fundamentals, which uses the teaching program, Alice to introduce programming concepts to beginner students. It’s pretty easy overall – most of the complications I face have to do with just finding the right command or dealing with the program itself – not problems with the concepts taught.

Today we played with ‘Events’ – these are things that are done following some trigger. Technically, an event trigger occurs (press of a button, the world starts, etc) and this precipitates the event handler (the code that should play following the event). Doing this in Alice makes it very easy to manipulate objects in a world – even creating whole functional worlds with a lot going on.

I’m considering coming up with a project that this language can handle – something simple, like a zombie simulation. I’ll post my results.

If you have any experience coding in Alice, let me know if you ever did anything with it beyond playing around and learning intro stuff.



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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Programming Fundamentals

I just started a ‘Programming Fundamentals’ course last week to see if it looked like it could add comething above and beyond my codecademy classes alone. So far I’m interested. We use a language / coding environment called Alice, which was developed to provide a simple way to start thinking about programming. Essentially, it’s a self-contained program that lets the user drag and drop coding fragments in a way that it creates a program step-by-step. I suppose it’s good – although for old guys like me, it’s very strange. I’d much prefer just using a language and typing the code out. However, I do recognize how the Alice approach might be more accessible to users that have grown up with sophisticated touch devices, etc.

Presently, I’m just working through chapter two, so I’m not too deeply into it yet, but I have found some fascinating things. For one: I’ve completely re-invented the wheel. Through a lot of trial and error I’ve come to a coding style that this text describes as modular, ‘top-down’ design. I also have been doing all of my debugging (what I called troubleshooting) starting with unit testing within a testing shell and then putting everything together in an integrated test.

So far, the major difference between my coding methods and the book’s is that I didn’t develop a whole lexicon for what I was doing. (Ironically, that’s exactly one of the things that I teach in biology – Mendel was successful with his experiments in part because he developed a language to describe his work).

Well, enough chatter. I actually have homework to finish up before I go to class in one hour.

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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