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Comparing Outdated and Updated Textbook Figures Helps Introduce Undergraduates to Primary Literature

    Authors: Verónica A. Segarra1,*, Scott Tanner2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789; 2: Department of Biology, Limestone College, Gaffney, SC 29340
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 May 2015
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Avenue—2743, Winter Park, FL 32789. Phone: 407-646-2645. Fax: 407-646-2479. E-mail: VSegarra@Rollins.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 90-92. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.892
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    Abstract:

    Many of the didactic tools used in the undergraduate classroom, including textbooks, often highlight science as a body of knowledge, presenting learners with a field’s current “up-to-date” understanding of a subject. It is important that students grasp the idea that this body of knowledge is not static, but evolving through a process by which scientists continually test, revise, and build upon that knowledge. Science as a process is best highlighted in the primary scientific literature. In the context of the undergraduate classroom, we have used side-by-side comparison of old and updated textbook figures to introduce 200- and 300-level Genetics students to the field as a dynamic area of scientific inquiry. We also use this exercise as an opportunity to introduce students to relevant primary literature. We find that this is an effective way to transition students from their textbook to primary literature as a source of information.

Key Concept Ranking

RNA Polymerase
1.0
Bacterial RNA
0.43505105
1.0

References & Citations

1. Burgess RR1969Separation and characterization of the subunits of ribonucleic acid polymeraseJ Biol Chem244616861764900511
2. Chatterji D, Ogawa Y, Shimada T, Ishihama A2007The role of the omega subunit of RNA polymerase in expression of the relA gene in Escherichia coliFEMS Microbiol Lett2671515510.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00532.x17233676 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00532.x
3. Dove SL, Hochschild A1998Conversion of the omega subunit of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase into a transcriptional activator or an activator targetGenes Dev.1274575410.1101/gad.12.5.7459499408316573 http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.12.5.745
4. Ghosh P, Ishihama A, Chatterji D2001Escherichia coli RNA polymerase subunit omega and its N-terminal domain bind full-length beta’ to facilitate incorporation into the alpha2beta subassemblyEur. J. Biochem.2684621462710.1046/j.1432-1327.2001.02381.x11531998 http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1432-1327.2001.02381.x
5. Mathew R, Chatterji D2006The evolving story of the omega subunit of bacterial RNA polymeraseTrends Microbiol1445045510.1016/j.tim.2006.08.00216908155 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2006.08.002
6. Mathew R, Ramakanth M, Chatterji D2005Deletion of the gene rpoZ, encoding the ω subunit of RNA polymerase in Mycobacterium smegmatis results in fragmentation of the β’ subunit in the enzyme assemblyJ Bacteriol187186565657010.1128/JB.187.18.6565-6570.2005161597911236636 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.187.18.6565-6570.2005
7. Minakhin L, et al2001Bacterial RNA polymerase subunit ω and eukaryotic RNA polymerase subunit RPB6 are sequence, structural, and functional homologs and promote RNA polymerase assemblyProc Nat Acad Sci98389289710.1073/pnas.98.3.8921115856614680 http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.98.3.892
8. Mukherjee K, Chatterji D1999Alteration in template recognition by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase lacking the omega subunit: a mechanistic analysis through gel retardation and foot-printing studiesJ. Biosciences24445345910.1007/BF02942656 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02942656
9. Pierce BA2003Genetics: a conceptual approach1st edW.H. Freeman and CompanyNew York, NY
10. Pierce BA2014Genetics: a conceptual approach5th edW.H. Freeman and CompanyNew York, NY
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.892
2015-05-01
2017-03-30

Abstract:

Many of the didactic tools used in the undergraduate classroom, including textbooks, often highlight science as a body of knowledge, presenting learners with a field’s current “up-to-date” understanding of a subject. It is important that students grasp the idea that this body of knowledge is not static, but evolving through a process by which scientists continually test, revise, and build upon that knowledge. Science as a process is best highlighted in the primary scientific literature. In the context of the undergraduate classroom, we have used side-by-side comparison of old and updated textbook figures to introduce 200- and 300-level Genetics students to the field as a dynamic area of scientific inquiry. We also use this exercise as an opportunity to introduce students to relevant primary literature. We find that this is an effective way to transition students from their textbook to primary literature as a source of information.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1.

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FIGURE 1.

One of the pairs of figures examined by students. Diagrams showing the subunit composition of bacterial RNA Polymerase. Diagrams modeled after Figure 13.10 (A) and 13.9 (B) in the first and fifth editions of Pierce’s , respectively.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 90-92. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.892
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