Using microbial genome annotation as a foundation for collaborative student research


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We used the Integrated Microbial Genomes Annotation Collaboration Toolkit as a framework to incorporate microbial genomics research into a microbiology and biochemistry course in a way that promoted student learning of bioinformatics and research skills and emphasized teamwork and collaboration as evidenced through multiple assessment mechanisms. Student teams in microbiology used bioinformatics tools to identify and characterize gene products from Mucilaginibacter paludis necessary for the synthesis of specific amino acids and then designed and carried out growth experiments to determine if the organism could indeed synthesize the amino acids. Students in biochemistry worked to characterize one of the amino acid biosynthetic pathways reconstructed by a previous microbiology class through amplification and cloning of the M. paludis genes and complementation analysis of Escherichia coli mutants. © 2012 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 41(1):34–43, 2013