This lesson focuses on the nature of the genetic code and specifically focuses on the degenerate nature to make a link to gene mutations which is covered later in topic 2. The PowerPoint has been designed to cover point 2.7 of the Pearson Edexcel A-level Biology (Salters Nuffield) specification which states that students should understand how the descriptive terms triplet code, degenerate and non-overlapping relate to the genetic code.
The lesson begins by introducing the terms near universal and non-overlapping in addition to degenerate. A quick quiz competition is used to generate the number 20 so that the students can learn that there are 20 proteinogenic amino acids in the genetic code. This leads into a challenge, where they have to use their prior knowledge of DNA to calculate the number of different DNA triplets (64) and the mismatch in number is then discussed and related back to the lesson topic. Moving forwards, substitutions and deletions are briefly introduced so that they can see how although one substitution can change the primary structure, another will change the codon but not the encoded amino acid. The lesson concludes with a brief look at the non-overlapping nature of the code so that the impact of a base deletion can be understood when covered in greater detail with cystic fibrosis