Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges > Inquiry-based Integrated Instructional Units > Cauliflower Evolution Lab Materials, Supplies and Set Up

Supplies and Equipment Needed for "Reconstructing the Evolution of Cauliflower and Broccoli" Laboratory Activity


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For "Plant Morphology: Vegetative Structures"

Most of the vegetables are from the grocery store; depending on the time of year and your location, you may be able to find these at a farmer's market or you may have to check multiple grocery stores.

Per lab group (based on 2 or 3 students per group):

  • 1 knife or scalpel, for cutting through a Brussels sprout
  • 1 cutting board (could be shared between lab groups)
  • 1 Brussels sprout

Per lab section (based on 20-24 students in 8 groups):

  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1 head of kale (curly and/or colorful leaves are nice, but use whatever is available)
  • 1 kohlrabi (with leaves still attached)
  • 1 head or bunch of collards; a head is preferable, so students can see how the leaves attach to the stem
  • 1 stalk with Brussels sprouts on it; we have had good luck getting these from local farmers and gardeners; they can be dried and re-used for multiple terms (though fresh is nicer); you can substitute a photo of a Brussels sprout plant (LINK) if fresh stems are not available
  • 1 live wild cabbage plant (we usually use 4, one per lab bench); see note below on ordering seeds and growing wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea oleracea)
  • 1 knife to cut the red cabbage
  • 1 cutting board to cut the red cabbage

For "Plant Morphology: Reproductive Structures"

Per lab group (2 or 3 students):

  • 1 floret of cauliflower
  • 1 floret of broccoli
  • 1 jeweler's forceps or other fine forceps for opening broccoli buds and examining flower parts
  • 1-2 sharp dissecting probes for opening broccoli buds and examining flower parts
  • 1 dissecting microscope & light source
  • 1 medium sized rubber stopper (approximately 1/2-1 inch in diameter), slit partway through the narrower end toward the wider end; students will use this as a "chuck" to hold the base of their broccoli or cauliflower and look at the floral/pre-floral structures

Per lab section (20-24 students in 8 groups):

  • 1 scanning electron microscope & technician to run a demonstration (this is for the lab as written, but photographs (LINK) can easily be substituted)
  • 1 live Arabidopsis plant, flowering, wild type, to show wild type flowers
  • 1 live Arabidopsis plant, flowering, with the CAL and AP1 mutations to show the cauliflower mutation

For "Bioinformatics Investigation of the CAL Gene"

Per lab group (2 or 3 students):

  • 1 computer with internet access
  • 1 codon/amino acid table, or you could link to one online; there is a nice one at Wikipedia's Genetic Code entry.
  • 1 calculator (or have students bring one, or use a calculator program on their computer)

Notes on Live Plant Material

Special thanks to Heidi Mullen, Carleton College Greenhouse Coordinator, for this information.

  • Seeds for wild cabbage are available from the Centre for Genetic Resources the Netherlands, (CGN). The wild cabbage seed ID# is CGN 1897. We received 300 seeds. We had no trouble with germination. We grew the plants at 21.5 degrees C daytime and 18.5 degrees C nighttime temperatures. The plants we have are still alive after a year and a half; they have not flowered, but we haven't tried to force them at this point.
  • Seeds for Arabidopsis plants are available from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center
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