Dave Robinson and Joann Lau from Bellarmine College in Kentucky are going to be describing their student project in a free webinar next Friday, May 16th. Their students clone GAPDH (Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase) genes from new plants, assemble the DNA sequences, and submit them to the NCBI. Here's an example.
Plus, since GAPDH is a highly conserved, it's a great model for looking at evolution.
You can get more information and register here.
The cool thing about plants is that there's lots of material to work with.
What a fantastic idea!
Its easily extended to so many other areas of biology too - such as insects or fungi that can be easily found and has the potential to give students a real appreciation of how molecular genetics provides the best current proof of common descent.
The Circle Is Closed! When I was a grad student, a LONG time ago, as the exercise for a biochem lab class we purified and crystallized GAPDH. But we didn't solve the structure. :-) And there wasn't a PDB then anyway.
You know, this sounds like it would be an interesting sort of way to do a metagenome. A single set of DNA distributed amongst several collaborators at different schools, teaching several microbiology classes, with 96 well plates split amongst several lab students.