This laboratory was designed and tested with the assistance of grants from The Hughes Foundation and the Math-Science Honors Program run by the Strengthening Understanding of Mathematics and Science Institute at Arizona State University. J. D. P. was supported by the Achievement Rewards for College Students Foundation during the development of the laboratory. Manuscript preparation was supported by grants to Laurent Keller from the AETAS Foundation for Research into Aging, The Fondation A.R.&J. Leenards (Lausanne), and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
An hypothesis-driven, molecular phylogenetics exercise for college biology students†
Article first published online: 3 NOV 2006
Copyright © 2004 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Volume 32, Issue 2, pages 108–114, March 2004
How to Cite
Parker, J. D., Ziemba, R. E., Cahan, S. H. and Rissing, S. W. (2004), An hypothesis-driven, molecular phylogenetics exercise for college biology students. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ., 32: 108–114. doi: 10.1002/bmb.2004.494032020318
- Issue published online: 3 NOV 2006
- Article first published online: 3 NOV 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 19 NOV 2003
- Manuscript Received: 23 JUN 2003
- DNA sequencing;
- desert Drosophila
This hypothesis-driven laboratory exercise teaches how DNA evidence can be used to investigate an organism's evolutionary history while providing practical modeling of the fundamental processes of gene transcription and translation. We used an inquiry-based approach to construct a laboratory around a nontrivial, open-ended evolutionary question about the relationship of five species of Drosophila. In the course of answering this question, students at the early college biology level learn how the information in DNA can be extracted and used by both the cell and scientists. This dual proximate-ultimate approach introduces students to the techniques of PCR, DNA sequencing, and phylogenetic sequence analysis while simultaneously providing a concrete pen-and-paper model of the cellular processes of transcription and translation. The laboratory has been successfully employed over 3 years with first-year college students and has proven its versatility by being easily adapted to a “dry lab” form with advanced high school students.