Example Genomic Activities
A major goal of our Big Science at Small Schools initiative is to advance genomics pedagogy through the development of inquiry-based integrated instructional units (I3Us).
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Comparison of Protein Sequences: BLAST searching and Phylogenetic Tree Construction part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Wade Powell, Kenyon College
This laboratory exercise is a guided discovery of computational methods for comparing protein sequences. Students perform BLAST searches of reported CYP1A sequences and construct phylogenetic trees using CYP1A amino acid sequences from various vertebrate species, especially those with multiple CYP1A paralogs.
Comparison of a Highly Polymorphic Olfactory Receptor Gene Subfamily in Genetically Diverse Dog Breeds part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Lois Banta, Williams College
Students design primers specific for a particular subfamily of polymorphic canine olfactory genes, use PCR to amplify the genes, and compare the sequences of the products obtained for a diverse population of dogs.
Reconstructing the Evolution of Cauliflower and Broccoli part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Sarah Deel, Carleton College; Susan Singer, Carleton College; Debby Walser-Kuntz
This laboratory exercise focuses on the connections between plant genetics and morphology.
Human Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Determination part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Sarah Deel, Carleton College
In this laboratory exercise, students determine which allelic form of a particular single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) they have (one located in an intron, and not associated with any known phenotype). Students ...
Molecular evolution of gene families part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Cara Constance, Hiram College (formerly at Holy Cross College)
Bioinformatics lab on concepts of orthologs and paralogs, sequence conservation at genomic DNA, mRNA and amino acid levels, and molecular phylogenetics. Wet-lab using RT-PCR to determine gene expression patterns in distinct tissues.
Modeling Molecular Evolution part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Jodi Schwarz, Vassar College
Biology and Computer Science majors collaborate to model the process of mutation at the DNA level, and examine the consequences at the protein level.
Expression of gerontogenes in neurons: A comparative genomic approach to studying the role of the nervous system in lifespan/aging part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Kathleen Susman, Vassar College
This multi-week laboratory module is appropriate for an intermediate-level neuroscience and behavior course. Students design behavioral experiments in wildtype and mutant C. elegans with defects in neurally-expressed genes implicated in aging. Students then use bioinformatic and comparative genomic tools to explore orthologous genes in at least ten different animal taxa.
Using Metagenomics to Investigate Microbial Diversity part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
David Esteban, Vassar College; Elizabeth Collins, Vassar College
Using Winogradsky columns, a soil enrichment culture, students explore microbial diversity through metagenomics. The Winogradsky column is a complex community of interacting microorganisms. In a community such as ...
Phylogenetic analysis of the bony fishes: Morphological and mtDNA sequence comparisons part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Erica Crespi, Washington State University- Pullman
This three-four week inquiry-based module is designed to teach students basic concepts, quandaries, and methodology of phylogenetics in a format that integrates wet-lab, bioinformatics, and lecture/discussion.
Behavior, Neuroanatomy, Genomics: what can we learn from mouse mutants? part of Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Carol Ann Paul, Wellesley College; Ginny Quinan, Wellesley College
In this sequence of labs students will be provided a mutant mouse with an unspecified motor mutation and its wild-type control. The goal of this sequence is to identify and characterize the mutant using behavior, neuroanatomy and genomics.