• gene expression;
  • laboratory exercises;
  • molecular basis of cell and devel. biology;
  • teaching and learning techniques methods and approaches;
  • plant biochemistry


We present a novel laboratory project employing “real-time” RT-qPCR to measure the effect of environment on the expression of the FLOWERING LOCUS C gene, a key regulator of floral timing in Arabidopsis thaliana plants. The project requires four 3-hr laboratory sessions and is aimed at upper-level undergraduate students in biochemistry or molecular biology courses. The project provides students with hands-on experience with RT-qPCR, the current “gold standard” for gene expression analysis, including detailed data analysis using the common inline image method. Moreover, it provides a convenient starting point for many inquiry-driven projects addressing diverse questions concerning ecological biochemistry, naturally occurring genetic variation, developmental biology, and the regulation of gene expression in nature. © 2013 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 41(5):325–333, 2013