A contemporary, laboratory-intensive course on messenger RNA transcription and processing

Authors

  • Sue Carson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biotechnology Program and Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
    • Biotechnology Program and Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
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    • Tel.: 919 513-0330; Fax: 919 515-4231

  • Heather Miller

    1. Biotechnology Program and Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
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Abstract

Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) plays a pivotal role in the central dogma of molecular biology. Importantly, molecular events occurring during and after mRNA synthesis have the potential to create multiple proteins from one gene, leading to some of the remarkable protein diversity that genomes hold. The North Carolina State University Biotechnology Program developed and implemented a new, laboratory-intensive course to provide students with a contemporary view of mRNA entitled “mRNA: Transcription and Processing.” This course, offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, aimed to introduce students to the many functions of RNA, with an emphasis on mRNA. In addition to fundamental aspects of these processes, students were exposed to cutting-edge techniques used to analyze mRNA in both lecture and laboratory components. We evaluated this course over two semesters and found that learning outcomes were met by both undergraduate and graduate students, based on assessments such as laboratory reports, pre-lab assignments, a final exam, and successful results in the laboratory. We also examined student perceptions through anonymous surveys, where students reported gains in confidence in both conceptual knowledge and technical skill after completing this course.

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