Behavior, Neuroanatomy, Genomics: what can we learn from mouse mutants? part of Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges:Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
In this sequence of labs, students are provided a mutant mouse with an unspecified motor mutation and its wild-type control. The conceptual flow of this exercise is to first characterize the mutant behaviorally, examine the brain morphologically and histologically to determine the locus of the difference/s. Using this information, the identity of the mutant is determined from a list of 5 motor mutant candidates. From here the identified gene is explored through several genomic data bases to dermine the molecular basis of this mutation. This integrative exercise flows from the behavioral level, through the structural level to the molecular level which then directs them back to cell biology, thus completing the full understanding of the expression of the mutation. This journey tells a story that highlights the integrative approach used in solving neuroscientific questions. As one student wrote: "I enjoyed the mutant mouse sequence because it was like solving a mystery in which each lab gave us more clues towards the answer".