14 + Practice Problems To Add To Your Genetics Study Guide

The study of genetics is fascinating, and it’s more than just the study of “where we come from.” An AP Biology test may cover integral information like Mendel’s Dihybrid Cross Experiment or general but essential genetics terms like asexual reproduction.

These genetics practice problems can be added to any teacher-written study guide or a great resource for any student who wants to make sure they have all the information they need while studying for a genetics test.

Since genetics is such a broad subject, it can be difficult to decide which genetics practice problems to add to your guide. It’s best to add a little bit of everything to ensure a thorough understanding of how genetics works in regard to Biology.

While some of our genetics practice problems might not be useful or relevant as others, you may pick and choose these questions to help “fill” your study guide and boost your overall knowledge of the subject.

A Few Tips For Studying

When studying for your genetics test, you are likely to encounter many practice problems that you need to figure out and show your work, such as the phenotype ratio. Creating flashcards for genetic vocab is another great way to memorize those terms easier.

While everyone has a learning style that works best for them, choose a study tool that will not only help you memorize the material but will also help you to understand it. The memorization of material has little use if you don’t know what you’re memorizing.

Another great way to add more information to your study guide is to form a study group and put everyone in charge of coming up with a few questions. Not only will this help everyone in the group retain more information, but it can break up the monotony that sometimes results from studying.

If you’re an instructor and putting together a study guide for students, why not allow each student to come up with a question (that they can answer) and add it to the study guide? It allows them to do a little research and interact with their peers.

14 Vocab Terms To Add To Your Study Guide

Sometimes the easiest and best way to learn genetics is to start with the basic genetic terms, and you might want to consider adding these terms to your study guide (or make some flash cards as we already recommended). There may be many more you want to add to your study guide, but here’s a start:

  • Genotype:The genetic makeup of a living organism
  • Phenotype:An observable trait or physical appearance (i.e., eyes)
  • Allele:A form of a gene
  • Gene:The basic unit of DNA
  • Homozygous:Alleles that are identical
  • Heterozygous:When alleles are different
  • Dominant Trait:Always present in the phenotype when present in a genotype
  • Recessive Trait:Only present in the phenotype when no dominant traits are in genotype
  • Punnett Square: A chart which shows all possible genotypes of a living organism from reproducing (or crossing over)
  • Incomplete Dominance:When two homozygous phenotypes combine and result into a heterozygous phenotype
  • Codominance: Two dominant traits that have equal representation in the results
  • Autosomal:Any chromosome not on the sex cells
  • Karyotype:A picture of all the chromosomes in a cell and arranged into pairs
  • Epistasis:One gene locus alters the expression of the second locus. Ratios are different from what’s expected.

When one gene locus alters the expression of a second locus. Ratios are often altered from the expected. One treatment act as a recessive because it is “hidden” by the second trait.

What Do You Know About Mendel?

Since Gregor Mendel’s research plays such an integral role in the genetics we know today, it’s important to understand his work. Take a look at these questions (with the answers) to see how much you know about Mendel and his work in the field of genetics.

Mendel used purebred plants in his experiments. What are two possible genotypes of a purebred plant?

A purebred plant only produces the same type of offspring when self-fertilized. The plants must be homozygous for two genotypes to be possible. One example is purple flowers: WW and white flowers: ww.

In his pea plant experiments, Mendel examined many traits, which included the height of the plant and flower color. Which of the following answers best represents the plants of the P generation?

  • 1Homozygous purple, homozygous tall x heterozygous white, homozygous short
  • 2Heterozygous purple, homozygous tall x homozygous white, homozygous short
  • 3Homozygous purple, homozygous tall x homozygous white, homozygous short
  • 4Homozygous purple, homozygous tall x heterozygous purple, homozygous short

If you selected “C” for your answer, you’re right.

What did Mendel call the traits that were not expressed in the F1 generation?

  • 1Recessive
  • 2Heterozygous
  • 3Incompletely dominant
  • 4Hybrids
  • 5null alleles

If you chose “A,” you’re correct.

Mendel is famous for his dihybrid cross experiment. How does the dihybrid cross differ from the monohybrid cross?

  • 1Monohybrid cross includes a single parent and dihybrid has two parents
  • 2Monohybrid cross produces one offspring, and dihybrid cross produces two
  • 3A dihybrid cross involves heterozygous organisms for two characters, and monohybrid is only one
  • 4Monohybrid cross is performed for only one generation, and dihybrid cross is performed for two
  • 5Monohybrid results in 9:3:3:1 ratio and dihybrid cross is a 3:1 ratio

The correct answer is “C.”

When Mendel performed his famous genetic experiment between pea plants, the pea cross (the offspring of the F1 generation) always looked like one of the two parental varieties. Why?

  • 1One phenotype was dominant over the other
  • 2Each allele affected the phenotypic expression
  • 3Traits blended together during the process of fertilization
  • 4No genes interacted to produce the parental phenotype
  • 5Different genes interacted to produce the parental phenotype

If you chose answer “A,” you are correct.

Mendel had many findings when he conducted his experiments with the pea plants. What was his most ground-breaking and significant conclusion?

  • 1There substantial genetic variation in pea plants
  • 2Traits are inherited in “discrete units” rather than the result of “blending”
  • 3Recessive genes are more common than dominant ones
  • 4Genes are composed of DNA
  • 5Organisms that are homozygous for recessive traits have numerous disadvantages

The correct answer to this practice problem is “B.”

More Questions On Genetics

Now that you’ve tested your knowledge on Mendel let’s take a look at some other questions that might be good to add to a study guide when preparing for a genetics exam.

If an individual has a genotype AaBbCCDdEE, how many unique gametes can be produced through independent assortment?

  • 14
  • 28
  • 316
  • 432
  • 564

If you’ve done your math right, the correct answer should be “B.”

Labradors are yellow, brown, or black. If a black female mates with a brown male, the results are as follows: all black puppies, half black to half brown puppies, or three-quarters black to one-quarter yellow puppies. The results of the colors of puppies indicate what?

  • 1Brown is dominant to black
  • 2Black is dominant to brown and yellow
  • 3Yellow is dominant to black
  • 4Incomplete dominance
  • 5Epistasis isiInvolved

The correct answer is “E.”

Continuing with the same question about Labradors, how many genes must be responsible for these coat colors in the puppies? 

  • 1One
  • 2Two
  • 3Three
  • 4Four

The correct answer for this question is “B.”

One more question involving the Labs. One type cross of black and black the results were: 9/16 black, 4/16 yellow, 3/16 brown. The genotype aabb must result in the following?

  • 1Black
  • 2Brown
  • 3Yellow
  • 4A fatal result

If you chose “C,” you are correct.

If the inheritance of the first genetic trait is not dependent on the inheritance of the second trait, what is this in reference to?

Your answer should be The Law of Independent Assortment.

What are the genotype and phenotype ratios of the following cross: Dd x Dd?

The genotype should be 1DD: 1Dd : 1dd

The phenotype should be 3 dominant: 1 recessive

In petunias, heterozygotes for one of the genes have red flowers. Homozygotes have purple or white flowers. When petunia plants with purple flowers cross with one that has white flowers, what percentage of the offspring will have red flowers?

  • 10%
  • 225%
  • 350%
  • 475%
  • 5100%

If you came up with 100% (E.) as your answer, you are correct.

If a woman has seven fingers on each hand and her husband and son have the normal amount of digits on their hands, what fraction of the couple’s other children would be expected to have extra digits? Treat additional digits as a dominant trait.

If your answer is 50%, you’re right.

Since genetics is such an in-depth study, we may not have covered all the topics that may be on your exam. Our practice problems, plus vocab words, should give you a good start and a great opportunity to practice what you already know about genetics.

Codominance: Definition, Examples, and Practice Problems

As you start learning more about genetics in AP Biology, you will learn about dominance and how it refers to the relationship between two alleles, which are variations of a gene. When there’s a dominant relationship between alleles, one of the alleles will “mask” the other to help and influence a specific trait.

You can explore this further by taking a look at complete dominance, which is when the phenotype of the heterozygote is identical to the dominant homozygote. Remember, the phenotype is an observable characteristic such as the texture of hair on a human, the length of fur on an animal, or the color of petals on a flower.

As your instructor talks more about complete dominance and the role it plays in the genetics of all living organisms, they will also discuss incomplete dominance. While there are some similarities between incomplete dominance and codominance, it’s important to remember that they are completely different and both play an integral role in genetics.

In this article, we will give you an in-depth explanation of codominance, the difference between incomplete dominance and a codominant relationship, give you a few examples, and a practice problem to try out, so you have a better understanding of this unique relationship.

A Brief Look At Mendel’s Law of Dominance and a Few Important Terms To Remember

Whether you’re just starting to learn about genetics in your Biology course or you need a little refresher (or help) to understand some of the basic concepts surrounding a dominant relationship going over Mendel’s Law of Dominance can be helpful. We will also define some important genetic terms to help us explain codominance a little better.

Since codominant and incomplete dominant relationships are similar and often mistaken for one another, it’s best to spend a little time going over Mendel’s Law of Dominance first (as a starting point).

Even if you’re just starting out your study of genetics, you’ve probably heard a lot about Gregor Mendel. His research was groundbreaking and everything we know about genetics today started with him.

Mendel is known for many of his experiments and findings, but he’s best known for his three laws, which include the law of segregation, the law of independent assortment, and the law of dominance (which we will discuss very briefly).

In his law, Mendel found that the dominant trait is always present in the offspring. When someone inherits two different alleles from each of the parents and the phenotype of only one allele is observable (such as hair or eye color), the allele is dominant.

When one parent has two copies of an allele (let’s call it “D”), which makes it dominant, and the other parent has two copies of allele “d” (which is recessive), the offspring inherits a “Dd” genotype and the dominant phenotype.

As you can see, we’ve tossed in a lot of vocab terms for genetics that can be a little hard to remember. While you might know what most of them are, it’s important to have a clear understanding (since they play such an integral role in dominant relationships).

Here are a few terms to know:

  • Allele:A different form of a gene (the DNA for a trait), variant
  • Heterozygote:Someone that has two different forms of a specific gene, one from each parent
  • Homozygous:Someone that has two identical forms of a gene, “true breeding” characteristic
  • Phenotype:Noticeable characteristics of the genetic makeup (such as hair, eyes, skin color)
  • Genotype:The genetic makeup of an organism, like the traits.

Now that you have the general concept of what a dominant relationship is and how it works, let’s see the difference between a codominant and incomplete dominant relationship.

What’s The Difference Between Codominance and Incomplete Dominance?

Even though Mendel played an integral part in observing dominant relationships, codominant and incomplete dominant relationships are considered to be non-Mendelian inheritance patterns.

What Is Codominance?

In a codominant relationship, neither allele is recessive or masked by the other allele (which make the pair that code a characteristic). Blending plays a role in a codominant relationship, and both alleles are equally expressed, and their features are both present (and seen) in the phenotype.

In a way, you could think of codominance like “co-parenting,” where each parent plays an equal role. In a codominant relationship, both alleles are passed down from one generation to the next, rather than being bred out.

How Does Incomplete Dominance Differ?

We know what complete dominance is and incomplete (or partial) dominance may be a lot like it sounds. Incomplete dominance refers to when one allele for a certain trait is not entirely dominant over its counterpart (the other allele). The offspring end up with a combined phenotype.

The traits of each parent are neither dominant or recessive and a third phenotype results. The alleles don’t actually blend, but the traits appear to be mixed, so many people refer to the result of incomplete dominance as “blended.”

As you can see codominant and incomplete dominant relationships are very similar. While one has actual blending going on in the offspring, the other appears to be; you can see how some people might assume they are the same, right?

A simple way to explain the differences between the two is that in incomplete dominance, the traits of the offspring are unique and similar to the dominant traits (but still a trait of its own). Such as black feathers and white feathers produce silver feathered offspring.

A codominant relationship will produce offspring that has both traits visible. You can get a better idea of how this works in the examples below.

Examples Of Codominance

The easiest and best way to get a better understanding of a codominance is to take a look at real-life examples and here are a few:

Codominance In Flower Colors

If you know anything about incomplete dominance, you might be familiar with red and white flowers having offspring with pink flowers.

Let’s see how it differs in a codominant relationship. If two plants were crossed to produce a yellow and blue flower (and the alleles for petal color were dominant), the offspring would be yellow with blue spots or blue with yellow spots. Do you see how each allele plays a significant role in the color?

Codominance In Animals

There are many examples of incomplete dominance in animals. A spotted dog mates with a solid colored dog. The offspring would have some spots (kind of “in-between”) from both parents. The same idea goes for fur length and the color of feathers.

A popular example of a codominant occurrence is when a white homozygous horse mates with a homozygous red horse. The offspring ends up with a roan coat, which is a mixture of red and white hair (each strand of hair is either white or red). There are other animal examples, that are similar, that include cats, cattle, and dogs.

Codominance In Humans

When people think of incomplete dominance in humans, they often use wavy hair as an example, which is a result of a parent with straight hair and another with curly hair. Skin color, height, size of hands, and pitch of voice are all examples of incomplete dominance in humans.

So, what’s a good example of a codominant inheritance in humans? The most common example is in regards to the AB blood type. Human blood type follows the ABO system, which refers to the three different blood groups: A, B, and O.

The alleles encoding the A and B groups are dominant, and the O group is recessive. The results may be as follows:

  • AA (Blood Group A)
  • AB (Blood Group B)
  • AO (Blood Group A)
  • AB (Blood Group AB)
  • BB (Blood Group B)
  • BO (Blood Group B)
  • AO (Blood Group A)
  • BO (Blood Group B)
  • OO (Blood Group O)

In the AB blood type, for example, the “A” type blood cells have one kind of antigen, and the “B” type have another. While antigens typically alert the body of a “foreign” blood type attacking the immune system, people with AB blood have both antigens and their immune system cannot be attacked by either type; this is why AB blood is considered to be “universal.”

Ready To Test Your Knowledge?

Are you ready to see how much you know about codominant inheritance? Check out this practice problem and select the right answer.

Which of the following is NOT an example of a codominant relationship?

  • 1Offspring with AB blood type, whose parents have blood types A and B
  • 2A calf has red and white hairs, and one parent is white while the other is red
  • 3A child with brown eyes has a parent with blue eyes, and the other has brown eyes
  • 4A flower has red and white petals (it’s the offspring of red and white flowers)

If you chose “C,” you’re correct.

We’ve talked a lot about animals with roan coats. Here’s your question:

Is it possible for red offspring to be born to a white horse that mates with a roan horse?

If you said, “No,” then you’re getting a good understanding of codominant inheritance.

Incomplete Dominance: Definition, Examples, and Practice Problems

You may already know that in the study of genetics, dominance refers to the relationship between alleles, which are two forms of a gene. In a dominant relationship between alleles, one allele “masks” the other and influences a specific trait.

When the phenotype (the observable characteristic) of the heterozygote is identical to the dominant homozygote, the relationship is considered to be “complete dominance.” Since genetics is full of variations and changes, complete dominance isn’t always the outcome but rather incomplete dominance.

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth explanation of incomplete dominance (also known as partial dominance), some examples, and a practice problem so that you can try out on your own, so you can gain a better understanding of this type of relationship.

A Quick Look At Important Terms

As you study genetics, you may find that it’s difficult to remember all the of the terms and what they mean. Before you can completely understand incomplete dominance, it’s a good idea to go over some basic genetic terminology.

  • Gene: The DNA for a trait
  • Allele: A different or variant form of a gene
  • Heterozygote: An individual with two different forms of a specific gene, one from each parent
  • Homozygote: An individual with two identical forms of a gene, results in true breeding for a characteristic
  • Phenotype: Observable characteristics of the genetic makeup
  • Genotype: The genetic makeup of an organism, such as traits

Now that we’ve reviewed a few of the genetic terms that you’re likely to see frequently when learning about partial dominance let’s move on to the concept of partial dominance.

Mendel’s Law of Dominance

Gregor Mendel is often referred to as the “Father of Genetics” because without his experiments, persistence, and years of research we probably wouldn’t have a good understanding about who we are or why we share traits with our ancestors. Mendel created three “laws” that he is known for: the law of dominance, the law of segregation, and the law of independent assortment.

To get a better understanding of partial dominance, we’ll take a closer look at Mendel’s “Law of Dominance.” In this “law” Mendel found (through his years of experiments) that the dominant trait is the trait whose appearance is always in the offspring. As we mentioned earlier, dominance is the relationship between the two alleles.

If someone inherits two different alleles from each of the parents and the phenotype (such as hair or eye color) of only one allele is noticeable in the offspring, then that allele is dominant.

If one parent has two copies of allele “A” (which would be dominant) and the other parent has two copies of allele “a” (which would be recessive), then the child will inherit an “Aa” genotype and still display the dominant phenotype.

Now that we have a full understanding of the dominance relationship between alleles, let’s see how the partial dominance differs.

Incomplete Dominance: What Is It?

We understand complete dominance, but you might still be wondering how partial dominance differs. Is it much like the name suggests? Partial dominance is when one allele for a specific trait is not entirely dominant over its counterpart (or the other allele). The result, which is seen in offspring, is a combined phenotype.

What does this mean? The traits of each parent are neither dominant or recessive. In a partial dominance relationship, between two alleles, a third phenotype is a result and is a combination of phenotypes of the two homozygotes; this is often referred to as an “intermediate form of inheritance.” The alleles do not blend, but partial dominance is often referred to as “blending” because traits are mixed and appear to be “blended.”

Examples of Incomplete Dominance

A better way to understand partial dominance is through examples and here are a few:

Snapdragon Flowers

A common example of partial dominance that many instructors of Biology use in the genetics unit are a snapdragon flower. In this example, the Snapdragon is red or white.

If a red homozygous snapdragon is paired with a white snapdragon (which is also homozygous), the hybrid result would be a pink snapdragon. Here’s how it the partial dominance looks when broken down:

The genotypes are Red (RR) x White (rr) = Pink (Rr)

When the first offspring (F1) generation, which is all pink flowers, cross-pollinates, the resulting flowers in the F2 generation consist of all the phenotypes: ¼ Red (RR): ½ Pink (Rr): ¼ White (rr). The phenotypic ratio is 1:2:1.

If the F1 generation cross-pollinates with the “true breeding” red flowers (homozygotes), the F2 generation will result in red and pink flowers (half-red and half-pink); the phenotypic ratio is 1:1.

If the F1 generation cross-pollinates with “true breeding” white flowers, the F2 generation will result in white and pink flowers (half of each and a phenotypic ratio of 1:1).

In the case of partial dominance, the intermediate (or 3rd ) trait is the heterozygous genotype. The pink snapdragon flowers are heterozygous with an Rr genotype, and the red and white flowers are homozygous for flower color with genotypes RR and rr (or red and white).

While snapdragon flowers are a common example, you can find the same results with red and white tulips, roses, and carnations.

Incomplete Dominance in Animals

Just like plants and humans (which we’ll give an example of briefly), partial dominance can occur in animals; as it can occur in every living organism.

Let’s look at an example of rabbits. If a breed with long fur, like an Angora rabbit, mates with a breed with short fur, like a Rex rabbit, the offspring is likely to have fur that is in the middle; not too long or too short.

Andalusian chickens are also a popular example of partial dominance in animals due to their unique blue-ish feathers. The chickens don’t always have slate blue feathers, but it is often a result of a white rooster mating with a black hen. Since both parents have the inheritance of blue alleles (about 50%), the offspring is likely to have feathers with a splash of blue.

If you consider cats and dogs, there are usually some cats or dogs that have more markings than one of the same breed. When a heavily spotted or market dog or cat marks with a mate that has solid-colored fur (and no markings), the offspring is likely to have some markings but not the same as either parent.

Partial dominance can apply to the length of tails, the color of fur, and many other phenotypes in animals.

Incomplete Dominance in Humans

By now, you’re probably able to see a pattern in how partial dominance works in genetics. It’s a complex idea, but when you break it down it’s not as complex as some people make it, right?

Consider some ways that partial dominance may occur in humans. Like the fur length on an animal, the child of one parent with curly hair and the other with straight-hair is likely to have wavy hair. Both straight and curly hair is dominant, but neither one dominates the other.

Diseases like sickle cell disease or Tay-Sachs disease is another example of partial dominance in humans. Skin color, height, voice pitch, and even the size of one’s hands can all be attributed to partial dominance.

Think about your own features. Are you a carbon copy of one of your parents or do some of your features sit “in the middle” and are a result of partial dominance?

A Practice Problem For Incomplete Dominance

Whether you want to study up on partial dominance or just want to play around with some scenarios and see what you come up with, take a look at a few of these practice problems.

A cross between a bird with blue feathers and a bird with white feathers produces offspring with silver feathers. The color of the birds is determined by only two alleles.

  • 1What are the genotypes of the parent birds?
  • 2What is the genotype of the bird with silver feathers?
  • 3Can you figure out the phenotypic ratios of the offspring of two birds with silver feathers?

The answers are as follows. How did you do?

The answer for #1 is BB (homozygous blue) for the bird with blue feathers and WW (homozygous white) for the bird with white feathers.

The answer to #2 is one blue allele and one white allele. Since neither allele is dominating another, we get a “blend” which results in the bird with silver feathers.

To figure out #3, you need to fill out a Punnett Square. Silver x silver = BW x BW. Your results should be 25% of offspring are homozygous white (WW), 25% are homozygous blue (BB), and 50% are hybrid, which means they have silver feathers.

7 Cell Raps to Help Memorize the Functions of Cells

If you’re studying for a science test, one of the best ways to help remember the material is by setting to music! That’s right; cell raps can help you remember the names of the organelles located in each cell, as well as their functions.

We’ve rounded up our top seven picks for cell raps that we think you’re going to love.

Best Cell Rap for Sixth-Graders: Cells Cells by Crappy Teacher

5 out of 5 stars

As YouTuber CrappyTeacher (Emily Crapnell) explains in her cell rap video, she created this video to help her sixth-grade science students learn the different parts of a cell. At over 5.7 million views, it seems that this cell rap has caught on with more than just Crapnell’s students! We can’t blame people for watching it; it’s catching and makes science–dare we say it?–fun!

“Today’s the day,” the rap begins; “let’s talk about the building blocks of life–cells that make us.”

The cell rap chorus covers some of the most vital parts of cellular biology. It explains that cells are made of organelles, and mentions cytoplasm, the nucleus (“controllin’ everything”), the membrane, the vacuole (“we can float around for hours”), and chloroplasts by name.

The next chorus explains that there are two different types of cells–animal and plant cells, while the final three stanzas are devoted to explaining in more details with each part of the cell does. “The cell membrane is the border patrol,” raps CrappyTeacher, and then later, “The mitochondria’s something every cell needs, breaking down the food and releasin’ energy.”

Over second thousand people have taken the time to comment on this cell rap. Many mention how they heard it years ago and still remember it, speaking to the catchy lyrics and the arresting beat. While designed for sixth-graders, the content is sophisticated enough that even college students report finding it helpful!

We also feel like it’s one of the best mixes of catchy lyrics and useful information, managing to find a good balance between repetition and new information. Plus, it provides a great video with very helpful images which will further solidify the information in your mind. For these reasons, we’ve given it five stars!

The rap can be viewed here or may be purchased.

Best Karaoke Option: The Cell Song by Glenn Wolkenfeld

5 out of 5 stars

The Cell Song, created and sung by Glenn Wolkenfeld, isn’t a cell rap–but it is a fantastic way to use the power of song to help commit the parts of a cell to memory! And with over two million views, we’re not the only people who think so.

The song is a folksy, bluesy tune where the singer asks what happens when he goes into a cell. “Who drives this bus,” sings Wolkenfeld, and then he “found myself talking to the boss, the nucleus.”

Wolkenfeld does two things in this song; he gets deeper into the molecular biology involved in the parts of a cell, and he offers a karaoke version.

Unlike some of the other cell raps available, The Cell Song explains that chromosomes stores genetic information, the ribosomes make proteins, and the lysosome use enzymes to dissolve, and centrioles organize chromosomes into spindles.

Wolkenfeld also uses The Cell Song to explain how rigid cell walls allow plants to grow extremely tall, and the purpose of green in the plant cell. “I went into a plant cell, ‘why’s it so green?’” sings the artist. “‘Cause I make food from sunlight,’” answers a green chloroplast.

The video is filled with helpful drawings and diagrams to further illustrate each concept. Wolkenfeld, as we mentioned already, also offers a karaoke version, which is the same version, but instead of Wolkenfeld singing, the lyrics are on the screen.

The Cell Song, like Cells Cells by CrappyTeacher, also gets five stars thanks to its ability to combine great video content with helpful, relevant information about cells.

You can find The Cell Song here, and the karaoke version here.

Best Song With Video: The Parts of a Cell Song by Jam Campus

5 out of 5 stars

The Parts of a Cell Song is a cell rap created by an organization called Jam Campus. It’s one of many Jam Campus creations; in fact, the YouTube channel creates educational videos on everything history to science to mathematics.

With over 54,000 views, The Parts of a Cell Song is catchy and well-loved. What we especially love, in addition to the self-made music, is the high quality illustrated video! Any time you can marry great visual images with catchy lyrics, you increase the likelihood of you remembering the information.

The Parts of a Cell Song gets right down to business, stating in its first line, “here’s what each cell contains, outer layer is the cell membrane.” The lyrics point out where cells get their energy (mitochondria), and what ribosomes do (help with protein synthesis).

We also appreciate this lyric, which helps to sum up the parts of a cell, something most cell raps don’t do:

Cell membrane, mitochondria, lysosomes and the ribosomesCytoplasm, nucleus, E.R. and Golgi body, and the nucleolus

We especially appreciate how accurate the presented information is here (many cell raps mistakenly identify ribosomes as making proteins; however, they simply help in the assembly of polypeptides, chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein), which is a big part of why this song gets five out of five stars.

Best for Repetitive Learning: The Cell Rap with Mr. Simons’ Fifth Grade Class

4 out of 5 stars

Mr. Simons and his fifth grade have teamed up to create another great cell rap, available on YouTube. This cell rap has approximately 468,000 views, and we understand why–out of all the cell raps we’re sharing today, this one is probably the most likely to get stuck in your head!

Every song has to decide how to balance repetition with new information; as you’ll see later, some of the cell rap songs we’ve rounded up choose to focus on including as much data as possible. This rap, however, from Jake Simons, focuses on repetition.

In fact, we feel it focuses a little too much on repetition (we downgraded it to four stars), but it’s still a great rap that will help cement many of the things you’re learning about cell biology into your memory.

This five-minute rap features the cytoplasm, the nucleus, the membrane, the vacuoles, and the mitochondria of the cell. Here’s an example of a lyric:

“Just like us, the cell has energy. The mitochondria takes the food and puts it where it needs to be.”

Here’s another line from the cell rap, this one memorably explaining how the cell membrane works:

“There’s a thing called a membrane that holds it all in place so none of us will ever complain.”

Is this the cell rap to turn to if you need to memorize complicated material? Probably not; but it is a great option for younger students or people who need just the basic parts of a cell!

Best Use of Additional Resources: The Cell Song by Keith Smolinski

4 out of 5 stars

The Cell Song was written and recorded by Dr. Keith Smolinski as part of a doctoral study to research how music can help students learn complex science concepts. In addition to The Cell Song, which features the parts of a cell, there are another nine songs sold in an album called Biorhythms: The Music of Life Science.

Songs in Biorhythms cover everything from cellular division, to the digestive tract, to the ecosystem. The song we’re featuring, The Cell Song, isn’t a cell rap, but it is well-performed, catchy, and interesting to listen to!

While the accompanying video doesn’t include images (that’s why it only has four stars and not five), it does utilize the lyrics on screen. In just two minutes and nineteen seconds, Dr. Smolinski manages to cover everything from the nucleus to the cell membranes.

In The Cell Song, listeners learn that the nucleus contains the genetic code, the mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, and the vacuoles store food and water. We also learn that the ribosomes make proteins, the Golgi bodies pack and ship the proteins, and the endoplasmic reticulum carries them.

Plus, the song teaches that lysosomes are janitors, cytoplasm is gel-like, and cell membranes help regulate what comes in and out of the cell.

In the notes section of this video, Dr. Smolinski also explains that additional teacher’s resources are available on his website, including a Teacher’s Guide for The Cell Song. All of Dr. Smolinski’s resources are based on the National and State of Connecticut Science Standards, so you can be sure you’re getting accurate and helpful information.

Best Rap Alternative: Organelles Song by ParrMr

4 out of 5 stars

ParrMr, a YouTube creator, has garnered over one hundred thousand subscribers thanks to her (or his!) ability to put science lyrics to popular songs. If you cringe over cells raps or want music you’re already familiar with, you can find videos on everything from Pangaea to the atmosphere to the planets.

ParrMr’s songs are set to hits like Forget You by Cee Lo Green, Toothbrush by D’NCE, and Jealous by Nick Jonas. The one we’re featuring here, with four out of five stars, is Organelles Song, set to Counting Stars by OneRepublic.

The music is easy to remember if you’re already familiar with the song–our one complaint, however, is that the lyrics have very little repetition. This has the upside of packing a ton of information into the four-plus minute song, but if you’re trying to make sure the material sticks, this might be a downside.

“Look inside a cell,” sings ParrMr, who created this song for his or her sixth-grade students, “and you will see…organelles have jobs, yeah, organelles have…jobs.”

The next lines focus on how plant cell walls and cell membranes protect the line like a fence, letting the right things in and out. ParrMr covers vacuoles, lysosomes, the nucleus, chromatin, DNA, and ribosomes.

The final stanza explains proteins and their relationships to the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, and cytoplasm. Mitochondria and chloroplasts are also mentioned.

Organelles Song by ParrMr has racked up over 700,000 views, and for a good reason–we give this cells video four out of five stars!

Runner-up Rap Alternative: Cells Song by ParrMr

3 out of 5 stars 

Another much-loved option (four hundred thousand views!) by ParrMr, also for a sixth-grade classroom, this is another song about cells set to hit music. This one, called Cells Song, is set to Sail by AWOLNATION.

In it, ParrMr sings about cell membranes, cytoplasm, organelles, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, and Golgi bodies.

“Cells cells cells cells cells,” he sings, before starting another chorus about vacuoles, the nucleus, and lysosomes.

Here is the final stanza:

Capturing Sun’s energyChloroplasts in plants and treesAnd cell walls giving box-like shape, rigid

If you’re a fan of pop or dance music or are simply looking for a non-rap alternative to cell raps, this is a great option. It’s short on useful information, but what is included is presented appealingly, and will be likely to stick!

Thanks to these seven awesome cell raps, we have a feeling you’re going to ace your next quiz or test. We’d say good luck, but we don’t think you’ll need it!

7 Bio Poem to Help Remember the Hardest Material For Biology Test

Biology is a massive subject, and if you’re trying to study for a test, remembering all those facts, strange Latin names, and confusing concepts can seem impossible. The smartest students, however, have found clever ways to increase the amount of information they remember. One of the best ways is using a biology poem to help remember the difficult material.

A bio poem is a mnemonic device or a simple poem that includes the facts, names, or concepts you’re trying to remember. The idea is that your brain retains the information better that way, and when it comes down to test day, you’ll be able to call forth the learned material by reciting the poem.

Below, we’ve listed seven bio poems that will help you perform better on your next exam. Plus, keep reading for the ultimate guide on remembering difficult things and studying for big exams.

How We Chose Our Ratings

You can see below that we’ve rated the poems we’ve included in this roundup; since we’ve scoured available bio poems, we’ve been able to bring you only the best and most helpful.

Top 7 Best Bio Poems


Best Classic Biology Poem: Dear King Philip

5 out of 5 stars 

A mnemonic device is a great way to help our brains remember complicated groups of information–especially when the data has to go in a specific order. The Dear King Philip device has been used for generations to help students remember the order of taxa in biology.

The order is as follows: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

Each of the mnemonic’s first words matches the words of the taxa, in order: Dear King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti.

It sounds ridiculous and hilarious, but that’s exactly why it works so well; because it involves our emotional response (laughter and hilarity), we’re more likely to remember it! Other variations include the following:

  • Dumb Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach
  • Do Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Silk?
  • Dakota Kills People Cause Other Friends Got Sad

The following two classic biology mnemonics don’t include the letter D, so if your biology professor doesn’t ask for you to remember Domain, these will work better for you:

  • Keep Pond Clean Or Fish Get Sick
  • Kids Pick Candy Over Fancy Green Salad

You can also make up your own.

With or without the Domain, a taxon is a group of organisms. Taxonomists use these groups to organize what we know about animals. African elephants, for example, form the genus Loxodonta. While scientists largely agree on where African elephants belong, they often disagree about other classifications, a fact that isn’t widely known!


Best Basic Bio Poem: MRS GREN

5 out of 5 stars 

Mnemonics can help us remember extremely simple things (the difference between dessert and desert, for example, is the extra s, which gives you a clue about its meaning. Don’t you want to eat more dessert?) but they can also help you outline more complicated concepts.

Biology teaches us that seven processes define living things, and once again we turn to a mnemonic to help us remember that process: MRS GREN.

The letters stand for the following:

  • M → Movement
  • R → Respiration
  • S → Sensation
  • G → Growth
  • R → Reproduction
  • E → Excretion
  • N → Nutrition

Movement is a vital process for living things as it allows them to find or better position themselves to attract or produce food.

Respiration is the process through which living things convert energy from carbohydrates and fats. Most of the organisms we’re familiar with use oxygen to break down (this produces a by-product know as carbon dioxide), but some organisms utilize nitrates, iron, or other material to break the sugars down.

Sensitivity is connected to movement and, in fact, is what triggers movement for many organisms. An organism is a living organism if it can react to changes in its environment. A plant, for example, will move its leaves towards the sun or towards a grow light.

Just like sensitivity and movement are connected in this bio poem, so growth and respiration are connected. In fact, it is respiration that allows for growth!

The excess energy organisms create when they break down sugars during respiration can be used in the production of new cells–whether that’s a larger shell (as in the case of a snail) or a new leaf (as in the case of a plant). Special note: for growth to be considered, it must be irreversible.

Reproduction is the fifth of the living processes that define whether or not something is alive. It can range from the ultra-simple division of cells to the conception of new human life!

We’ve already referenced one by-product that occurs during normal function in a living cell–carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is excreted and is an example of the sixth living process: excretion. A living simple creates waste as it functions normally, and this waste must be excreted.

Nutrition is the taking in of food. That food can vary wildly and can be anything from water in the soil to other organisms. Regardless, nutrition is a vital part of the living process.


Best Bio Poem for Phases of Mitosis: I Passed My Anatomy Test

5 out of 5 stars 

Another great bio poem that lends itself to helping us remembering the phases of mitosis is this one: I Passed My Anatomy Test. The letters (I, P, M, A, and T), stand for the following phases:

  • Prophase
  • Metaphase
  • Anaphase
  • Telophase

If your professor requires you to learn about cytokinesis, as well (this phase begins during anaphase or telophase), you can add the word “calmly” onto your bio poem so that it reads: I Passed My Anatomy Test Calmly.

Other possible devices for the phases of mitosis include the following:

  • I Propose Men Are Toads
  • Idiot, Pass Me Another Tequila
  • I Picked My Apples Today

Which device should you select? Choose the one that makes you laugh, smile, or that sticks in your head readily. The easier it is for you to remember, the better!


Best Bio Poem for Embryonic Development: Zikes!

5 out of 5 stars 

There are four stages of embryonic development:

  • Zygote, in which the fertilized ovum (the united sperm and egg cells) begins to divide rapidly
  • Morula, which is comprised of 10-30 cells
  • Blastula, which gets its names from the Greek word for “sprout,” and in which the morula forms an inner cavity filled with fluid, forming a blastula
  • Gastrulation is the embryonic phase in which the blastula (single-layered) turns into the gastrula (three-layered)
  • Neurula, in which the nervous system becomes to develop

The first letters of each of these stages correspond to the following mnemonic: Zikes! Martin is a Big Giant Nerd! (Note that “is” and “a” aren’t counted!)


Best Bio Poem for Taxonomy of Humans: All Cool Men

5 out of 5 stars 

A common question that likes to pop up on biology tests is about the taxonomy of humans, and these clever devices help us remember the right order.

First, here’s the taxonomy: Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Primate, Hominidae, Homo sapien.

Now, here’s the mnemonic: All Cool Men Prefer Having Heavy Sideburns.


Best Bio Poem for Kingdoms of Life: Biology People

5 out of 5 stars 

If you’re confident the kingdoms of life will show up on your biology exam soon, here’s a great bio poem to help you remember the five kingdoms: Biology People Find Plants Attractive.

It will help you remember these five kingdoms:

  • Bacteria (monera)
  • Protista
  • Fungi
  • Plantae
  • Animalia


Best Bio Poem for Major Fungal Classes: Zombies

5 out of 5 stars 

Another hilarious mnemonic device–Zombies Are Brown and Dirty–is one of several that can help you recall the major fungal classes!

The classes are:

  • Zygomycetes
  • Basidiomycetes
  • Deuteromycetes
  • Ascomycetes

In addition to Zombies Are Brown and Dirty, you can use:

  • Zap A Bear Dead
  • Zebras Are Big Dummies
  • All Zebras Dance Badly

Using Poetry to Help You Remember Things

Memory is a fascinating process and understanding how it works can help you better study for your next exam–with or without a bio poem!

The first step in remembering is called encoding. Encoding is the process through which something external–an interaction with another person, a biology concept, or the route to a new place, for example–is converted into a construct. A construct is stored inside the brain and if it’s laid down correctly, can be played later, like a movie.

Encoding a Memory

Encoding begins when we pay attention to something, and our interest in the subject matters hugely, as does emotion. This is why, for example, it’s so easy to remember the lyrics from a favorite song. Music can evoke emotion, and because we like the genre, we’re paying close attention.

However, you probably have trouble remembering the name on the nametag of the person who checked out your groceries this morning–because you weren’t very interested and because no emotions were called for.

This is why poetry is so helpful. By translating obtuse concepts into funny, interesting rhymes (even if you don’t think the rhyme is interesting; the new combination of words that rhyme is read as unusual and worth paying attention to by your brain) help you recall complex or boring material at a later time.

Two More Powerful Memory Devices

Using bio poems, however, isn’t the only way to remember complicated information. There is a whole host of available memory devices that can improve your ability to retain and recall reams of data. Here are just a few:

1. Method of Loci

“Loci” means “places” in Latin and the method of loci is often called the memory journey or the memory palace in today’s world. This memory device has been around since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks (Cicero, for example, wrote about it in his De Oratore). It’s used today by champion memorizers and sometimes even shows up in pop culture (in the hit television show Sherlock, for example).

To use the method of loci, visualize the physical layout of a place that’s familiar to you–your bedroom, for example. Then, assign a concept or term to the different objects in your bedroom. Here is an example of how you might assign parts of a cell:

  • Doorway → lysosome
  • Carpet → nucleus
  • Nightstand → nucleolus
  • Lamp → microtubules
  • Water bottle → cytoplasm
  • Clock → Golgi apparatus
  • Bed frame → mitochondrion
  • Mattress → Golgi vesicles
  • Pillow → rough endoplasmic reticulum
  • Bedspread/comforter → smooth endoplasmic reticulum
  • Curtains → cell membrane
  • Poster → centrioles
  • Trophy → pinocytotic vesicle

You can assign more than just the name to each place in your bedroom; you can also assign the function of each part of the cell.

This way, when you get to a test question that asks you to name the parts of a cell and their functions, you can mentally “walk” through your room, and each object in your room will help trigger your recall so you can answer the test question.

2. Chunking & Organizing

Chunking is a method of memory recall best explained by two popular examples: telephone numbers and social security numbers.

Telephone numbers have as many as eleven numbers, and social security numbers have nine; a string of eleven numbers or nine numbers would be difficult to memorize, but by organizing the strings into smaller chunks of numbers, they’re accessible to even small children!

This is a great device to use when you’re dealing with long strings of information because you’ll be able to focus on smaller groups instead of larger pieces of data, which have the added issue of being overwhelming!

Your Best Exam Yet

Thanks to the seven bio poems and two memory devices we shared above, you’re all set for your best exam yet. Good luck!

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