Announcement - Teaching software - genetics, cell biology etc

Alan Day aday at
Mon Dec 19 14:08:09 EST 1994

ANNOUNCEMENT - Teaching software in Genetics, Cell & Mol. Biology,
Biotechnology, Microbiology, Mycology. 

	Two teaching programs developed originally for our own classes at
a large Canadian university are available. They are:-

1. VISUAL GENETICS - a true computer 'text' in genetics ie the teaching
material is 100% animations and graphics not endless screens of text!
Visual Genetics is an extremely large ( 50 hours of study material - 35
meg of data) comprehensive graphics-based resource for genetics/molecular
biology courses. Equivalent in its present coverage to 65% or so of the
material in a typical introductory text and now used in about 110
institutions in Canada, USA, U.K., and over 12 other countries. 

	Users of Visual Genetics click a button to enter one of 7 major
topic areas (DNA structure and replication; Protein Synthesis; Chromosomes
and Cell Division; Recombination and Mapping; Mutation, Repair and Gene
Regulation;  Biotechnology and Molecular Techniques; Cell Biology ). Each
topic area screen contains buttons to access either 1. visual learning
tools or 2. problem-based self-testing tools. 

1. Visual learning tools
	68 colour animated-lessons from the Bio-Animate Series covering
most of the fundamental processes of classical and molecular genetics.
Each animation is a full screen, full colour lengthy, detailed and
visually appealing lesson on a particular topic, eg DNA replication, or
translation, at the same level as most introductory genetics texts. A
typical animation lesson extends for about 150 -200 frames and requires
about 15 min of study. The range of topics is extremely broad, eg mitosis,
meiosis, DNA struc ture, the Holliday model, nucleosomes, antibody
diversity, mitotic recombination, tetrad analysis, PCR, attenuation, etc.
Many animations are in 3D eg representations of meiosis, inversions,
chiasma. The full set of animations provides about 20 hours of d etailed
teaching in a visually appealing and highly memorable way. 

**************  See below for a full list of titles.	******************

	We use the animated-lessons in our own classes in several ways: 

i) as the prime teaching tool in lectures eg its far simpler, quicker and
more effective to teach enzyme action at the replication fork by
projecting the animation in class, than to use diagrams on the overhead -
the students can see what is happening on the lagging strand and have no
problem then in understanding Okazaki fragments etc.; 

ii) as a back-up resource following lectures;  

iii) for remedial teaching - ie for situations where you really should'nt
have to teach mitosis yet again. 

iv) for tutorials

v) for coverage of extra topics (optional or required) we won't be
covering in lecture. We would give a choice of such options with the
statement that there will be a question on the exam where they can choose
to answer such self-researched material. 

vi) for courses we are giving local high school teachers to help them
update their knowledge. 

	Student response to this form of teaching has been highly
enthusiastic and we as instructors have noticed a marked improvement in
their grasp of fundamental processes. 

2. Visual Genetics also includes:-

Problem-based learning and self-testing tools (not intended for grading

A.  Multiple choice questions - just click on any of the 5 possible
answers to get an explanation.  There are 30 questions in each of 6 topic
areas for a total of 180 questions. 

B.  Problem-solving questions - work out your own answer on the screen
with the aid of built in word processing, calculator and resource files
(Genetic code etc) - then call up a detailed explanation. 12 questions are
included in each of 6 topic areas for a total of 72 questions

C.  Drag-a-label diagrams - Drag the correct label to its position on a
number of different diagrams.The diagrams include Chromosome structure,
Stages of cell division, Structural elements in DNA and mRNA, Antibody
structure etc. 

D. Other features
  * INTEGRATED SET OF 6 LAB EXERCISES - button to access our unique
Virtual Genetics Laboratory (see below)

  * Index to topics in each animation   	
  * Glossary of terms - just click on an item to find the answer; or test
your knowledge - click on the term and your definition and see if you are

  * Students can type in their own notes and save/load from floppy discs. 
  * Alarm/time clock

E. Customizable to meet the specific needs of each teacher.

 * Edit the default set of multiple choice questions or create an
additional set (up to 240 questions). 

 * Edit the default set of problem-solving questions or create an
additional set (up to 72 questions). 

 * Add extra material to the resource files

 * Create notes to your students eg what to view this week, additional
information and comments etc. 




Chapter 1  - DNA Structure and Replication 	       			
 DNASTRUC.FLI     	E     	The Structure of DNA
 SEMICONS.FLI 		I     	Semiconservative Replication of DNA 
 CHROMREP.FLI 	  	I    	Replication at the Chromosomal Level 
 REPFORK.FLI 		I     	Enzyme Action at the Replication Fork
 REPLISOM.FLI 		A     	The Fixed Replisome Model of Replication

Chapter 2.  Protein Synthesis				      		
 AMINACID.FLI	 	E    	Structure and Properties of amino-acids.
 PROTFUNC.FLI 	  	E    	An Overview of Protein Synthesis 
 POLYCIST.FLI	  	I    	Coupled Transcription and Translation  
 PROMTERM.FLI	 	I   	Promoters and Terminators of Transcription
 TRANSRNA.FLI	  	I    	tRNA: Structure, Synthesis, Functions 
 RIBOSOME.FLI	 	I    	Ribosomes: Structure, Synthesis, Assembly 
 CAPNTAIL.FLI	 	I    	hn RNA processing. G caps and poly A tails
 SPLICING.FLI	 	I    	hn RNA processing and intron splicing.
 TRANSLTN.FLI	 	I     	Translation in Prokaryotes
 SIGNALSQ.FLI 		I   	Cotranslational  insertion of proteins
 WOBBLE.FLI	 	I    	The Wobble hypothesis.  

Chapter 3.  Chromosomes and Cell Division          			
 CELL.FLI		I	Cell cycle controls (cdc2, MPF, cyclins etc)
 MITOSIS2.FLI 		E   	Mitosis 
 NEWMEIO.FLI		E    	Meiosis  
 CHIASMA.FLI	 	I   	Bivalents and chiasma formation  
 RECSYNAP.FLI		I   	The Synaptonemal Complex and Crossing Over
 NUCLAMIN.FLI	 	I   	Nuclear Lamins - Role in Nuclear Structure
 TRANSLOC.FLI		I	Chromosomal translocations
 INVERSIO.FLI		I   	Chromosomal inversions effects on meiosis 
 NUCLEOSM.FLI		I	DNA and chromosomes (nucleosomes, solenoids)
 SCAFFOLD.FLI		I	Chromosome struc. in interphase & metaphase

Chapter 4  Recombination  and Mapping             			
 MENDEL.FLI		E	Mendelian genetics
 MAPPING1.FLI		E	Principles of mapping
 MAPPING2.FLI		I	Mapping in 2 and 3-point crosses 
 TETRAD.FLI		I	Tetrad analysis
 MITXOVER.FLI		I 	Mitotic Crossing-over
 BENZER.FLI		I	Fine struc. of genes - Benzer's rII analysis
 BACTCONJ.FLI	 	I    	Conjugation in Bacteria
 MOLREC.FLI		A   	Molecular Models of Recombination
 GENECONV.FLI		A   	Gene Conversion
 ANTIBODY.FLI		I	Mechanisms causing antibody diversity
 EPISTAS.FLI		I	Epistasis
 POLYGENE.FLI		I	Quantitative inheritance
 COMPLEMT.FLI		I	Complementation

Chapter 5   Mutation, Repair and Regulation	           		
 MUTATION.FLI	 	E       Mutation, the genetic code, & phenotypes 
 AMES.FLI		I   	Testing for chemical mutagens-The Ames Test
 SPONMUTN.FLI		I   	The origin of spontaneous mutations.
 TRANSPOS.FLI		I   	Transposons in prokaryotes  
 UVREPAIR.FLI	 	I   	UV Damage and Repair 
 LACOPRON.FLI		I   	The Lac Operon
 ATTENUTN.FLI	 	A   	Attenuation at the Tryptophan Operon

Chapter 6  Biotechnological Techniques			  		
 TECHNIQ.FLI		I	Techniques-isol./analyzing NA's + Proteins
 DIRMUTAN.FLI	 	I    	Site directed mutation
 BLOTTING.FLI 		I    	Southern, Northern and Western blotting.
 CLONING1.FLI	 	I   	Recombinant DNA
 CLONING2.FLI	 	I   	Genomic and cDNA Libraries
 PCR.FLI		I   	The Polymerase Chain Reaction
 DNASEQ.FLI	 	I   	Methods of Sequencing DNA
 FINGERPR.FLI		I	DNA  Fingerprinting

Chapter  7  Topics in Cell Biology				  	
 ELECTRAN.FLI	 	I   	Electron transport and proton pumping  
 GPROTEIN.FLI 		I   	Hormonal activation of protein kinases 
 MOTOPROT.FLI 		I   	Microtubule-associated motor proteins
 OSMOSIS.FLI 	 	E      	Osmosis and osmotic pressures
 ATOMSTRC.FLI 		E   	Structure of atoms, bonds & molecules
 SKELMUSC.FLI		I   	Contraction in skeletal muscle
 SPECTRIN.FLI	 	I   	The spectrin-based cytoskeleton  
 SYNTRANS.FLI		I   	Signal transduction across the synapse. 
 VOLTGATE.FLI	 	I   	The role of voltage-gated channels 
 PHOTSYN1.FLI	 	A    	Photosynthesis  Part 1
 PHOTSYN2.FLI 		A   	Photosynthesis. Part 2


2. The VIRTUAL GENETICS LABORATORY - exercises in fungal genetics.		

	A unique simulated, highly interactive lab experience, with 6
integrated modules on classical genetics techniques. Starting with a
wild-type fungus, isolate and identify auxotrophic mutants, then analyse
them biochemically and by complementation tests fo r allelism. Score a set
of replica plates to analyse a 3-point cross, followed by classifying
tetrads for FDS and SDS segregation and PD, NPD and T types to add further
detail to the map. Finally analyse haploid and diploid mitotic
recombination products. 
	The emphasis is on duplicating on screen some of the key steps in
each process (eg drag chemicals to test plates to determine auxotrophic
requirement, do a replica plate test to identify genotype of progeny
etc.). Help animations are included where neces sary.  Requires Windows. 

Hardware requirements

IBM-compatible computers with VGA colour. 

 * Visual Genetics requires Windows 3.x ('386 with 4meg RAM is fine)
 * The set of 68 animation-lessons (The Bio-Animate Series) can be
   obtained separately and run under DOS (ie without Windows -'286 computer
   OK). About 35 meg hard-drive space needed for full installation
 * The Virtual Genetics Lab requires Windows 3.x ('386 with 4meg RAM is

Macintosh (color) with Quicktime

 * The complete set of 68 animations are available as Quicktime movies
   About 60 meg hard-drive space needed for full installation
 * The Visual Genetics interface and the Virtual Genetics Lab program are
   NOT available at present. 



These programs require up to 40 meg hard drive space on a PC (60 meg on a
Mac) and are shipped as compressed files on approx. 10 discs.  They are
therefore made available on a commercial basis. For further details/demo
discs etc:-

 Email.............aday at


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