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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Cahoon, A. Bruce [1].

Plastome Sequencing in a University Level General Genetics Lab.

Undergraduate students are often drawn to science majors due to a desire to learn more about the natural world and of the potential for discovery (research). Unfortunately, very few of these majors will actually participate in the process of basic research. Some precocious students will seek out and join a lab but most will never get that opportunity unless they choose to enter a graduate program. In addition, universities with large undergraduate populations do not have enough research active faculty to accommodate the number of majors wishing to attempt exploratory projects. It is a perpetual challenge, therefore, for classroom instructors and professors to meet the initial expectations of potential future scientists and maintain their interest throughout a typical undergraduate curriculum. It is not uncommon for professors to introduce research projects with unknown outcomes in small upper level classes. The challenge however is most evident during the early years when students are taking core curriculum classes that, by necessity, often focus on demonstration lessons with a known outcome. This presentation will describe the thought processes, planning, and execution of chloroplast genome (plastome) sequencing into a general genetics lab - a lower level core curriculum class. At MTSU, a regional university with an enrollment over 25,000, this course serves 120-150 biology majors, minors, and pre-professional students per semester. The goal for each student is to give them an experiential introduction to the process of discovery by allowing them to work with and sequence a short piece of DNA from an unsequenced (i.e. unavailable in GenBank) plastome. Since instituting this curriculum, over 1000 undergraduates have participated in the sequencing of tall fescue (Lollium arundinaceum, GenBank FJ466687) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Tall fescue plastome in January issue of American Journal of Botany
sample curriculum

1 - Middle Tennessee State University, Biology, 1301 E. Main St, Box 60, Murfreesboro, TN, 37132, USA

Active Learning.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 44
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 3:30 PM
Number: 44008
Abstract ID:383

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