[Plant-education] First-year plant lab

Robinson, Dr. David via plant-ed%40net.bio.net (by drobinson from bellarmine.edu)
Wed Jul 20 13:46:14 EST 2011


Jon:

I've been involved in two lab exercises that you might be interested in.  I co-developed the first with the Education division at Bio-Rad Laboratories: 
http://www.bio-rad.com/evportal/en/US/evolutionPortal.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=productsPage&catID=701bc018-fb80-4525-969c-fbc288025924

The complete kit takes 6-8 weeks to complete and exposes students to a wide array of laboratory experiences, including bioinformatics. In this project, students isolate the gene of a housekeeping gene from a plant species of their choosing.  Once the gene has been cloned and sequenced, that information can be published as a DNA Accession in the NCBI GenBank. Since the gene is from a novel plant species there is room for phylogenetic analysis, as well. Students (and faculty) like seeing their names in the GenBank. I do this in my Molecular Biology course. Here is a recent article I co-authored on this:  http://www.lifescied.org/cgi/content/abstract/8/4/326

Our second lab exercise is cheaper and only takes 2 weeks...."The Ambrosia Project".  Students do minipreps of clones from a cDNA Library that we have made from Ragweed pollen.  After plasmid isolation we get it sequenced and students analyze it using BLAST searches, etc.  No one has published a cDNA library from Ragweed pollen before so each of the sequences we find are new and can be submitted to the NCBI GenBank. I do this in my Botany course where most of the students are pre-med.....they like the biomedical implications of this project (after all, Ragweed pollen causes hayfever, one of the few major diseases caused by plants). 

We have the cDNA library and are willing to mail you as many clones as you need as long as you are willing to share the cDNA sequences you find.  You have to pay for the plasmid isolation kits and the DNA sequencing. Again, students like seeing their names in the GenBank EST database, and even cite it in their resumes. We have already found some surprising genes expressed in Ragweed pollen, but am looking for collaborators at other institutions to help us screen the library.  Here is an abstract on this project: 
http://2011.botanyconference.org/engine/search/index.php?func=detail&aid=341

Good luck with your teaching endeavors!

Dave Robinson & Joann Lau
Biology Department
Bellarmine University
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY  40205

502-452-8197


-----Original Message-----
From: plant-ed-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu [mailto:plant-ed-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu] On Behalf Of Jon Monroe
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:47 PM
To: Plant-ed
Subject: [Plant-education] First-year plant lab

Hi all,

We're looking for an investigative, multi-week plant lab to use in a 
first-year biology course.  Do you have such a lab that works well and 
that students like?  Our course is called Organisms and it is a walk 
through the nodes of the phylogenetic tree, so it isn't a diversity 
course, but it isn't heavily cellular either.  Thanks!

Jon

-- 
Jonathan Monroe, Professor
Department of Biology
820 Madison Dr.  MSC 7801
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
540-568-6649, http://www.jmu.edu/biology/


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