Sickle Cell Lab

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When Malaria is present and infects red blood cells, parasites can infect cells carrying defective hemoglobin which may result in death. Allele frequency changes over time depending on the pressures or circumstances facing a particular population. African populations are especially impacted by both malaria and sickle cell anemia. Depending on the impacted population, allele frequency often shifts and well suited organisms are likely to survive and allele frequencies can increase. When a population is effected by disease or other circumstances, allele frequency may decrease or change. HbA (normal hemoglobin) and HbS (defective hemoglobin) have varying frequencies and while the HbS gene is present in populations it is important to understand how Malaria in particular can affect the sickle cell frequency. The way that diseases such as malaria impact the HbS gene may be different than how populations unaffected by malaria are impacted by HbS. What will happen to the sickle cell frequency in the presence of Malaria?

1: In the presence of malaria, the sickle cell allele frequency HbS will decrease and HbA allele frequency will increase in African populations. 2. In the presence of malaria the sickle cell allele frequency HbS increases and HbA frequency decreases in African populations.

I would test hypothesis one by first labeling paper cups “HbA/HbA,” “HbA/HbS,” “HbS/HbS,” “non-surviving alleles,” and “African population.” I would place 75 red beans (HbS) and 25 white beans into the cup labeled “African population” and will randomly choose two beans at a time until all of the beans are gone. If the pair has HbA/HbA then I will flip a coin (50% chance) to determine whether the population will contract malaria. Heads, the “child” has malaria and tails, they are healthy. If the pair or alleles have malaria then I will put those beans into the cup labeled “non-surviving alleles.” For all of the pairs that do not...
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