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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2016, High School Biology

  Question 44: Open-Response  
A short mRNA sequence is shown in the box below.
  5'     AUG-UCU-GAU-UGG-UAC     3'   
  1. Determine the DNA sequence from which this mRNA sequence was transcribed.
  2. Using the information in the table below, determine the amino acid sequence that is coded for by this mRNA sequence.
The codon table has four columns and four rows. The left, top and right sides of the codon table each have a label. The label on the left side of the codon table is first base of mRNA codon. There are four rows under this heading. Each row has a letter in it.  Reading from the top row to the bottom row is U, C, A, G. The label on the top of the codon table is second base of mRNA codon. There are four rows under this heading. Each row has a letter in it. Reading from left to right the rows are labeled U, C, A, G. The label on the right of the codon table is third base of mRNA codon. There are four rows under this heading. Each row has the same four letters in it: U, C, A, G. Within each of the squares in the table are four codons next to an abbreviation for the amino acid.
  1. Using the information in the table, determine the first four amino acids coded for in each of the following situations. Be sure to label each situation.
    • Situation 1: A mutation in the DNA sequence from part (a) changes the sixth base (read left to right) to cytosine (C).
    • Situation 2: A mutation in the DNA sequence from part (a) deletes the sixth base.
  1. In which situation from part (c) is the phenotype of the organism likely to change? Explain your answer.

Scoring Guide and Sample Student Work
Select a score point in the table below to view the sample student response.

ScoreDescription
4 The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may or may not result in phenotypic change in an organism. The response correctly determines the corresponding DNA sequence and amino acid sequence from an mRNA sequence. The response correctly determines the results of translation when a DNA base is substituted and when a DNA base is deleted. The response also correctly identifies and clearly explains in which situation the phenotype of the organism is likely to change.
4
3 The response demonstrates a general understanding of how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may or may not result in phenotypic change in an organism.
2 The response demonstrates a limited understanding of how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may or may not result in phenotypic change in an organism.
1 The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may or may not result in phenotypic change in an organism.
0 The response is incorrect or contains some correct work that is irrelevant to the skill or concept being measured.

Note: There are 2 sample student responses for Score Point 4.

High School Biology

Question 12: Anatomy and Physiology
Question 23: Evolution and Biodiversity
Question 32: Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Question 44: Genetics
Question 45: Ecology

Return to the MCAS 2016 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: April 1, 2016
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