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Laboratory Exercises

 


The Ames Test

 

This published laboratory introduces students to the Ames test, an assay used to determine the mutagenic properties of chemical compounds, using a distinctly quantitative approach.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Nature of genetic material; Genetic variation

Core Competencies Addressed: Observation/Hypothesis testing; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Developing/Interpreting graphs; Bioinformatics; Scientific writing

Audience: Intermediate undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: Open-ended laboratory

Activity Length: 2 weeks (Week 1: 3 hrs; Week 2: 2 hrs)


 


Fetching SNPs: A Dog Genotyping Laboratory for Undergraduate Biology

 

This multi-week lab project is designed to increase comprehension of the core concept of genetic variation, and give undergraduate students experience with genotyping DNA isolated from dogs.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Transmission/Patterns of inheritance; Genetic variation; Evolution; Genetics and society

Core Competencies Addressed: Observation/Hypothesis testing; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Explain concepts to different audiences; Relating to society or ethics

Audience: Intermediate undergraduate (advanced undergraduate option); biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: Open-ended laboratory

Activity Length: 3-4 weeks (3 hrs per week)


 


Finding Selection in All the Right Places

 

This inquiry-based laboratory introduces students to evolutionary genetics using bioinformatics and biocuration.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Nature of genetic material; Genetic variation; Evolution

Core Competencies Addressed: Observation/Hypothesis testing; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Applying statistical methods; Bioinformatics 

Audience: Introductory to intermediate undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: Open-ended laboratory

Activity Length: 2.5 hrs


 

 

Laboratory Protocols

 


Recombination Calculations by Branch Diagrams

 

This is a method for analyzing recombination events in laboratories focused on genetic recombination. The branch diagram method provides visual cues for which classes are recombinant, as well as a structural guide to assist students with the mathematical analysis of recombination data. 

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Nature of genetic material; Transmission/patterns of inheritance

Core Competencies Addressed: Observation/Hypothesis testing/Experimental design; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Applying statistical methods

Audience: Intermediate undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: Laboratory protocol

Activity Length: N/A


 

 

In-Class/Lecture Exercises

 


Basic Probability and Chi-Squared Tests
 

An inquiry-based, in-class exercise designed to give students practice working with critical skills for classic genetic analysis, including: understanding probability; combining probabilities to make predictions about outcomes; and evaluating the fit of observed data to predictions based on a null model.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Transmission/patterns of inheritance

Core Competencies Addressed: Observational strategies/Hypothesis testing/Experimental design; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Applying statistical methods/Modeling

Audience: Introductory undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: In-class exercise

Activity Length: 50 minutes


 


Cystic Fibrosis: Exploration of evolutionary explanations for the high frequency of a common disorder

 

A guided classroom exercise in which students derive and evaluate hypotheses to explain the relatively high incidence of cystic fibrosis (and the alleles responsible) in European and European-derived human populations.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Genetic variation; Evolution

Core Competencies Addressed: Observational strategies/Hypothesis testing/Experimental design; Evaluation of experimental evidence

Audience: Introductory undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: In-class exercise

Activity Length: 2 hours


 


DNA Replication: A case discussion of a landmark paper by Meselson and Stahl

 

An exercise that couples a classic primary literature paper detailing the process of DNA replication with a set of questions designed to both guide students through the process of reading papers and delve deeply into the critical concept of replication.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Nature of genetic material

Core Competencies Addressed: Observational strategies/Hypothesis testing/Experimental design; Evaluation of experimental evidence; Developing and interpreting graphs; Scientific writing

Audience: Advance undergraduate; biology/genetics majors; Introductory graduate

Activity Type: In-class exercise

Activity Length: 1 hour


 


Human Genetic Variation: A flipped classroom exercise in cultural competency

 

A flipped-classroom exercise featuring an interactive case discussion, created to emphasize the clinical relevance of population genetics and also a suitable resource for teaching the basic principles of population genetics while relating them to human genetic variation.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Evolution; Genetics and society

Core Competencies Addressed: Applying statistical methods/Modeling; Inter-disciplinary; Relating to society or ethics

Audience: Advanced undergraduate; biology/genetics majors

Activity Type: In-class exercise

Activity Length: 1-1.5 hours


 


Learn.Genetics/Teach.Genetics

 

The resources through the Genetic Science Learning Center at University of Utah provide "accurate and unbiased information about topics in genetics, bioscience , and health" via lesson plans, thorough descriptions, animations, and interactivity.

 

Genetics Categories Addressed: Nature of genetic material; Transmission/patterns of inheritance; Gene expression and regulation; Genetic variation; Evolution; Genetics and society

Core Competencies Addressed: Evaluation of experimental evidence; Developing and interpreting graphs; Inter-disciplinary (i.e. physics/chemistry); Explain concepts to different audiences; Relating to society or ethics

Audience: K-12; introductory undergraduate; biology/genetics non-majors; general public

Activity Type: Varied

Activity Length: Varied