Development of DNA
Sequencing and RNA Isolation and Detection Protocols for the Undergraduate
|College biology students are
usually exposed to the theory of DNA sequencing and RNA analysis. However
while the methods underlying these theories are considered common in basic
research and biotechnology related industries, they are rarely included
in undergraduate laboratory exercises. Explanations for these omission
in the curriculum included valid concerns over safety and effectiveness.
Traditional methods of sequencing are time consuming and require radioactive
material. Traditional RNA isolation and detection requires use of caustic
materials, RNA itself is highly unstable and its detection also requires
radioactivity. Fortunately new technologies have been developed. It has
also been thought by some that 'undergrads can't do that kind of work'.
That line of reasoning is invalid. For many students the best way to learn
is by 'doing'.
In 2000 Drs Karen Bernd and
David Wessner received an Educational Enhancement Grant from the North
Carolina Biotechnology Center to develop methods to study differential
gene expression and to perform DNA sequencing. The grant allowed Davidson
College students John McKillop ('01), Liz Nugent ('02), Shannon Riedley
('00), and Christine Larned ('01) to work as research associates so the
methods developed are 'for students/by students'. Our research has developed
non-caustic, non-radioactive methods so that our courses can make sure
that Davidson students don't just read about these techniques--they also
know how to do them.
|© Copyright 2001 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson,
NC 28036. Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org