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A semester-long project for teaching basic techniques in molecular biology such as restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis to undergraduate and graduate students.

DiBartolomeis SM - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Bottom Line: Several reports on science education suggest that students at all levels learn better if they are immersed in a project that is long term, yielding results that require analysis and interpretation.Finally, results from everyone in the class are required for the final analysis.Results of pre- and postquizzes and surveys indicate that student knowledge of appropriate topics and skills increased significantly, students felt more confident in the laboratory, and students found the laboratory project interesting and challenging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, Millersville University, Millersville, PA 17551-0302, USA. sdibarto@millersville.edu

ABSTRACT
Several reports on science education suggest that students at all levels learn better if they are immersed in a project that is long term, yielding results that require analysis and interpretation. I describe a 12-wk laboratory project suitable for upper-level undergraduates and first-year graduate students, in which the students molecularly locate and map a gene from Drosophila melanogaster called dusky and one of dusky's mutant alleles. The mapping strategy uses restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis; hence, students perform most of the basic techniques of molecular biology (DNA isolation, restriction enzyme digestion and mapping, plasmid vector subcloning, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, DNA labeling, and Southern hybridization) toward the single goal of characterizing dusky and the mutant allele dusky(73). Students work as individuals, pairs, or in groups of up to four students. Some exercises require multitasking and collaboration between groups. Finally, results from everyone in the class are required for the final analysis. Results of pre- and postquizzes and surveys indicate that student knowledge of appropriate topics and skills increased significantly, students felt more confident in the laboratory, and students found the laboratory project interesting and challenging. Former students report that the lab was useful in their careers.

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Flowchart showing overall plan of 12-wk project. The project to locate the dusky gene in D. melanogaster is carried out in two concurrent parts. The left side of the flowchart lists steps to subclone and map a genomic fragment to be used as a Southern hybridization probe to digested genomic DNA from wild-type and dusky73 (dy73) flies (right side of the flowchart). The two parts converge by lab XI.
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Figure 1: Flowchart showing overall plan of 12-wk project. The project to locate the dusky gene in D. melanogaster is carried out in two concurrent parts. The left side of the flowchart lists steps to subclone and map a genomic fragment to be used as a Southern hybridization probe to digested genomic DNA from wild-type and dusky73 (dy73) flies (right side of the flowchart). The two parts converge by lab XI.

Mentions: This project was designed for 12 wk of laboratories that each meet once a week for 3 h; recently, however, two of the lab exercises have been combined, so the project could be completed in 11 wk. Please see the Results and Discussion for possible modifications that could reduce the required number of lab weeks even further. Each lab period, before the students begin their lab work, I discuss the lab with the students, describing how it fits into the overall project, the protocols they will follow, and any new reagents or equipment they will be using. This introduction takes about 30–40 min. Since laboratory space is limited to 24 students, this project is designed for a maximum of six groups with four students per group; however, as few as five groups and as few as two students in a group have completed the project. Each student is given a laboratory manual with about 50 pages of step-by-step instructions for the project as well as a summary flowchart of the project (Figure 1), which emphasizes the multitask nature of most of the lab exercises. The manual also contains several appendices that include basic methodology (e.g., phenol/chloroform extractions), how to write a scientific paper, primers on RFLP mapping and laboratory safety, and other useful information. A list of the lab meetings follows:


A semester-long project for teaching basic techniques in molecular biology such as restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis to undergraduate and graduate students.

DiBartolomeis SM - CBE Life Sci Educ (2011)

Flowchart showing overall plan of 12-wk project. The project to locate the dusky gene in D. melanogaster is carried out in two concurrent parts. The left side of the flowchart lists steps to subclone and map a genomic fragment to be used as a Southern hybridization probe to digested genomic DNA from wild-type and dusky73 (dy73) flies (right side of the flowchart). The two parts converge by lab XI.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3046893&req=5

Figure 1: Flowchart showing overall plan of 12-wk project. The project to locate the dusky gene in D. melanogaster is carried out in two concurrent parts. The left side of the flowchart lists steps to subclone and map a genomic fragment to be used as a Southern hybridization probe to digested genomic DNA from wild-type and dusky73 (dy73) flies (right side of the flowchart). The two parts converge by lab XI.
Mentions: This project was designed for 12 wk of laboratories that each meet once a week for 3 h; recently, however, two of the lab exercises have been combined, so the project could be completed in 11 wk. Please see the Results and Discussion for possible modifications that could reduce the required number of lab weeks even further. Each lab period, before the students begin their lab work, I discuss the lab with the students, describing how it fits into the overall project, the protocols they will follow, and any new reagents or equipment they will be using. This introduction takes about 30–40 min. Since laboratory space is limited to 24 students, this project is designed for a maximum of six groups with four students per group; however, as few as five groups and as few as two students in a group have completed the project. Each student is given a laboratory manual with about 50 pages of step-by-step instructions for the project as well as a summary flowchart of the project (Figure 1), which emphasizes the multitask nature of most of the lab exercises. The manual also contains several appendices that include basic methodology (e.g., phenol/chloroform extractions), how to write a scientific paper, primers on RFLP mapping and laboratory safety, and other useful information. A list of the lab meetings follows:

Bottom Line: Several reports on science education suggest that students at all levels learn better if they are immersed in a project that is long term, yielding results that require analysis and interpretation.Finally, results from everyone in the class are required for the final analysis.Results of pre- and postquizzes and surveys indicate that student knowledge of appropriate topics and skills increased significantly, students felt more confident in the laboratory, and students found the laboratory project interesting and challenging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, Millersville University, Millersville, PA 17551-0302, USA. sdibarto@millersville.edu

ABSTRACT
Several reports on science education suggest that students at all levels learn better if they are immersed in a project that is long term, yielding results that require analysis and interpretation. I describe a 12-wk laboratory project suitable for upper-level undergraduates and first-year graduate students, in which the students molecularly locate and map a gene from Drosophila melanogaster called dusky and one of dusky's mutant alleles. The mapping strategy uses restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis; hence, students perform most of the basic techniques of molecular biology (DNA isolation, restriction enzyme digestion and mapping, plasmid vector subcloning, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, DNA labeling, and Southern hybridization) toward the single goal of characterizing dusky and the mutant allele dusky(73). Students work as individuals, pairs, or in groups of up to four students. Some exercises require multitasking and collaboration between groups. Finally, results from everyone in the class are required for the final analysis. Results of pre- and postquizzes and surveys indicate that student knowledge of appropriate topics and skills increased significantly, students felt more confident in the laboratory, and students found the laboratory project interesting and challenging. Former students report that the lab was useful in their careers.

Show MeSH