Gene-environment Interaction:
How does food affect the health of sand rats?

In this simulation you will investigate the effect of both genetic information and environmental factors on the health of sand-rats. Look at the sand-rats in the field on the left hand side.

  • Use the magnifying glass to examine their genetic composition and identify which sand rats are at risk for diabetes.
  • Identify the sand-rats' gender and whether they have diabetes.

Generate a question you would like to investigate and plan an investigation to answer your question. To perform your planned experiment,

  • Use the hand to pick up sand-rats and place them into the pens for your experiment.
  • Provide sugary or regular food to the sand rats in each pen.
  • Click the Play button to run the simulation.

As you play the simulation, three kinds of data will be collected and shown in the graphs: the sand-rats' risk of diabetes (high vs. low), the sand-rats' gender (male vs. female), and the sand rats' weight. Use the Stop button to examine what happens to the sand-rats following the type of food provided at any point in time.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

  • No genetic risk factor
  • Risk factor 1: The pancreas does not produce the correct type of insulin
  • Risk factor 2: The pancreas does not produce insulin at the correct time
  • Risk factor 3: The pancreas does not produce the correct amount of insulin
  • sugar pellets