Thursday, March 5, 2009

Caminalcules III Colorful pups...

This week I implemented a version
of Eloise Pasteure's suggestion to get genetic data into the Caminalcule's offspring, representing the genetic data as a 7 digit integer. This integer has two positions for each locus or allele pair, a dominance term which is 1 position for each locus and an extra flag telling the program whether to process one or both loci when making the phenotype of the offspring. It's a little less compact than what Eloise suggested but easier for me to keep track of.

This version of the Caminalcule will illustrate Mendel's two laws and does not do linkage...yet. The second locus, by the way, has to do with the type and number of black spots on the critter and I just got that implemented today.

Yet to do are some fixes to the menu system- I've had to think carefully how the lldialog function works-and think out the mechanics of Caminalcule mating. How will they communicate and behave? Right now they can detect each other with sensors but I haven't given them an sort of movement. What happens if two encounter each other and they are genetically incompatible? What sort of reproductive system? We already know that some of them are hermaphroditic. Is there also a non hermaphroditic gender? Hmmmm. Stranger things than this happen in nature. You might look up the life cycle of Caenorhabditis elegans, one of the major organisms in modern genetics.

Lots of potential here for getting students thinking about life cycles and gender that go beyond genetics and collaborating with each other. I've also been to several interesting workshops related to Second Life and I will post more on those later.

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