I need a summer hobby that has to do with genetics

Science isn’t my best subject, but I think genetics is an interesting subject. I took a genetics class in high school, and despite not having an enthusiastic teacher, I’m still interested in genetics. I don’t know that I’ll really understand it even after studying it, but I want a hobby for the summer.

I don’t know if that’s going to be possible to study something like this just over the summer, but I thought I’d see what everyone here thought. I’m thinking of either getting some guppies and trying to breed them for pretty tails (or breed them to be larger than normal “super” guppies) or trying to breed plants. I know the guppies would take more work, so maybe I’ll go with plants. Back in that high school class I took, there were some plants we used that matured quickly, maybe called “minute plants”? I really don’t remember. I think we had to use a growing lamp though, so I was wondering if those would work if I just had them out in the yard.

I think I’d enjoy having fish more than plants, but I don’t know if that will happen because of the time and supplies it would take for fish. So if anyone has any ideas that I’m not thinking of, advice, or anecdotes, I’d like to hear it.

I’ve never tried to do a home genetics project, but if there’re bio labs anywhere near you (in any university, research hospital, or drug company/biotech), you might want to volunteer as a summer intern if you think you might be seriously interested in genetics. If you tell them you’re willing to work for free, it’d be easier to get a job. (It’s pretty much necessary to have a couple of summers of lab experience to get into bio grad school, if you’re thinking that far ahead - I don’t know where you are in life, although your post seems to indicate high school. FTR, I’m starting bio grad school (cell bio) in the fall.)

I’ve never heard of “minute plants”, although I never took genetics lab. The workhorse of plant genetics (the plant equivalent of the fruit fly or the mouse) is a little plant called Arabidopsis thaliana, which has its full lifecycle in six weeks. It’s part of the mustard family, IIRC, and would probably be what you used in lab. You could probably ask a bio teacher for a teacher’s lab catalogue, which should probably have several different strains available that you could try cross-breeding. Maybe seeds are available on the internet - check around. Or you could be traditional and Mendelian, and go with pea plants :).

GilaB, thanks, I think it was a mustard plant that we used. I could remember that it started with an “m” but not what it’s exact name was.

I think working as an intern would be cool, but I don’t think the people that know what they’re doing want me poking around just because I think genetics is “cool.”

If I bought some peas, or Arabidopsis thaliana, would it come with instructions on how to pollenate, etc. It’s been a few years, and I’ve forgotten what to do. I suppose I can find the info on the net.

What’s everyone think of my fish idea???

  1. Have sex with as many females as possible. Do not use any form of birth control.

  2. Wait 9 months.

  3. Determine which of your traits appear to be dominant, and which appear to be recessive.

  4. Skip town.

Green Bean, that sounds like a real good idea, but I’m really looking for something where I will be able to make observations quickly. It would be way more fun than watching the fish or plants though!

How about mice? IMHO they’re easier to breed than fish. Plus, they’re cute and you can cuddle them.

Your thinking is too narrow, there are thoudands of observations to make in the meantime.

What traits of these women turn you on the most? Are they genetic or learned? How 'bout “natural lubrucation”? I’ve never seen a geneically based study on it, and it’s about DAMN TIME!

You can make physiological observations of women of different ethnic/racial groups. I’ve always searched in vain for the answer to, “Who is hotter, Swedish babes or Norwegian babes?”

Your experiment will naturally divide women into two groups, those who WILL and those who WILL NOT sleep with you. You must study the latter group closely – what is wrong with them? Is their aversion instinctual, or suseptible to change according to various stimuli?

Do it for Science! :stuck_out_tongue:

About two years ago, I found some Internet site that would send you flour beetles with different dominant and recessive traits, and you could grow them on your own, cross-breed them, and so on. It freaked my mom out to have beetles in the house on purpose :slight_smile: Now, the chances that those same guys that were providing free beetles to the world in 2000 are still doing that in 2002 probably isn’t very good, but you might be able to find them on google nonetheless.

I can think of some labs that would take a volunteer worker - particularly in universities. You’d be nothing more than a gofer, since you have no background, but if you show enough interest, and if you have a good boss. co-worker, I’m sure they’d be willing to teach you something. One thing about genetics is that it doesn’t that all that much prior knowledge to undertand basic Mendelian stuff - although research is considerably beyond that. Do some reading (textbooks would be more than enough), make sure you understand what they are saying, and then offer to help in a college or university lab.

As for a project - I know nothing about guppies, but plants are cool, and if you get pretty ones, maybe you can give them away as presents when you have too many :slight_smile: