Is a Sweet Tooth Inherited?
Difficulty of Project
This project may require written consent from parents/guardians of minors if a human subject participating in the study is under the age of eighteen.
Material for this project can be easily purchased at local grocery stores.
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
To determine if a sweet tooth is most likely an inherited trait or a learned behavior.
The purpose of this investigation is to assess patterns of inheritance within several families and survey individual members of the family to separate members of those with a sweet tooth from those who do not. Following this preliminary investigation, data will be collected to evaluate the pattern of inheritance within the family by requiring the participants to participate in a taste test to determine their sensitivity to varying concentrations of sugar.
Materials and Equipment / Ingredients
- Plastic cups
- Triple beam balance
- Volumetric flask
Diabetes is progressively a disorder of concern in our society. While diabetes is an inherited disorder, more and more people in the United States are developing early onset diabetes at younger ages. Scientists attribute a person’s diet to the incident of diabetes. As more and more sugary products are consumed, people put their pancreas hard at work to produce larger concentrations of insulin protein at higher frequency to regulate the digestion of sugary products. Over time the body loses its ability to produce insulin protein and thus the body loses its capacity to regulate sugar breakdown. Managing the diet and regulating the intake of sugary products can reduce the chance of developing diabetes later in life. If it can be proven that a sweet tooth is an inherited trait, informed individuals may recognize their behavior as a predisposition toward overconsumption of sugary products that will effectively increase their chance of developing diabetes later in life and may choose to substitute their choice of food for healthier alternatives.
- How do scientists classify behaviors as inherited or learned?
- What are examples of inherited behaviors?
- What are examples of learned behaviors?
- What is a pedigree chart?
- How do scientists use pedigree charts to study patterns of inheritance and to identify patterns of inheritance?
- What disorders are associated with the consumption of sugary products?
- What are the causes of diabetes?
- What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research
- Cellular Respiration
- Dominant trait
- Experimental Procedure
- Genetic predisposition
- Innate behavior
- Learned behavior
- Pedigree Chart
- Recessive trait
The diagram of the pedigree chart illustrates taste perception inheritance in three generations of the same family.