Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lethal Alleles and Cool Animals They Create


A lot of you (well, a lot of the few people who are bored enough to read this) are familiar with the Manx cat example of lethal alleles: in feline genetics, having one copy of the gene gives you no tail, having two copies means you have no cat. The picture shows another example, which I had not previously heard of: the Chinese crested dog. Again, one copy of the bald and ugly gene will result in an ugly dog. Two copies of the bald and ugly gene will result in an ugly expired dog fetus. That being said, here's a genetics problem I adapted from a classic probability problem:

Two Manx cats have 4 babies, of which dies at birth due to combination of fatal alleles. The 3 surviving kittens are placed into boxes by the owner, who noted whether each kitten had a tail or not. You really like cats with tails. In fact, Manx cats freak you out. The owner allows you to select one unopened box, and he selects another box that he knows contains a Manx cat. He opens the box and shows you the cat. Should you open the box you selected, or select another box?

5 comments:

Becky said...

You should switch. It's better to switch, since you had a 2/3 chance of picking one of the Manx cats at the beginning. =D

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Anonymous said...

Many thanks for discussing. Quite simple and straightforward to figure out. Done well!

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