Teaching Big Science at Small Colleges: a Genomics Collaboration part of Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges
This program supported a national consortium of faculty members from liberal arts colleges in learning about genomics, developing teaching materials, and devising tools to evaluate the efficacy of their genomics curricular innovations.
Comparison of a Highly Polymorphic Olfactory Receptor Gene Subfamily in Genetically Diverse Dog Breeds part of Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges:Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
In this three or four week project, students learn about single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by amplifying and generating sequence data on a highly polymorphic gene subfamily in a diverse population of subjects (dogs) with which many students have considerable familiarity and affinity. In the first week, students make use of previously acquired knowledge of phylogenetic relationships and experience in sequence alignment to design primers specific for one subfamily of canine olfactory receptor genes. In the second week, each student uses his/her primers in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the corresponding DNA from one dog's cheek cells. During the following lab, PCR products are purified and the yield is confirmed on a gel. In the final week, commercial or in-house sequencing is used to determine the sequence of the PCR product. The data analysis draws on a published microsatellite genotype-based population structure of 85 domestic dog breeds, allowing the students to compare a phylogenetic tree estimated from a single gene with data obtained through a genome-wide analysis. An optional bioinformatics module introduces existing web resources to predict transmembrane domains and/or provides students with a short programming assignment in which they write a Perl script to perform this analysis on an olfactory receptor sequence.