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Undergraduates Phenotyping Knockouts in a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience: Exploring Plant Fitness and Vigor Using Quantitative Phenotyping Methods

    Authors: Courtney J. Murren1,*, Michael J. Wolyniak2, Matthew T. Rutter1, April M. Bisner1, Hilary S. Callahan3, Allan E. Strand1, Lisa A. Corwin4,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424; 2: Department of Biology, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943; 3: Department of Biological Sciences, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; 4: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 03 July 2018 Accepted 20 December 2018 Published 28 June 2019
    • ©2019 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding authors. Mailing address: Courtney J. Murren, College of Charleston, Department of Biology, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424. Phone: 843-953-8077. E-mail: [email protected]. Lisa A. Corwin, Mailing address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1900 Pleasant St. 334 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309. Phone: 303-735-5213. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. June 2019 vol. 20 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1650
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    Abstract:

    We present a curriculum description, an initial student outcome investigation, and sample scientific results for a representative Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) that is part of the “Undergraduates Phenotyping Knockouts” (unPAK) network. CUREs in the unPAK network characterize quantitative phenotypes of the model plant from across environments to uncover connections between genotype and phenotype. Students in unPAK CUREs grow plants in a replicated block design and make quantitative measurements throughout the semester. This CURE enables students to answer plant science questions that draw from fields such as environmental science, genetics, ecology, and evolution. Findings indicate that this experience provides students with opportunities to make relevant scientific discoveries. Eighty percent of student datasets produced from the CURE met criteria for inclusion in the project database, indicative of student learning in data collection and analysis of quantitative plant traits. Student datasets uncovered novel effects of mutation on plant form. In addition, students’ science self-efficacy increased as a result of course participation, and faculty feedback on course implementation was positive. We present unPAK as a new network that supports CUREs and research experiences focused on collecting biological data made publicly available to the scientific community. The unPAK CUREs can be tailored to address instructor interests or pedagogical needs while involving students in research investigating quantitative plant phenotypes.

References & Citations

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2019-06-28
2019-07-20

Abstract:

We present a curriculum description, an initial student outcome investigation, and sample scientific results for a representative Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) that is part of the “Undergraduates Phenotyping Knockouts” (unPAK) network. CUREs in the unPAK network characterize quantitative phenotypes of the model plant from across environments to uncover connections between genotype and phenotype. Students in unPAK CUREs grow plants in a replicated block design and make quantitative measurements throughout the semester. This CURE enables students to answer plant science questions that draw from fields such as environmental science, genetics, ecology, and evolution. Findings indicate that this experience provides students with opportunities to make relevant scientific discoveries. Eighty percent of student datasets produced from the CURE met criteria for inclusion in the project database, indicative of student learning in data collection and analysis of quantitative plant traits. Student datasets uncovered novel effects of mutation on plant form. In addition, students’ science self-efficacy increased as a result of course participation, and faculty feedback on course implementation was positive. We present unPAK as a new network that supports CUREs and research experiences focused on collecting biological data made publicly available to the scientific community. The unPAK CUREs can be tailored to address instructor interests or pedagogical needs while involving students in research investigating quantitative plant phenotypes.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Student and instructor workflow for the unPAK CURE offering described in this work. Week numbering begins two weeks prior to the start of the semester (−2). Superscripts refer to the corresponding supplemental documents. Note that weeks 4 to 6 are a break from this module when other course goals can be completed. Photo credits: E.A. Cousins and A. Matthews.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. June 2019 vol. 20 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1650
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Fruit number varies by temperature environment. Example student-collected data from plants grown at 20°C and 24°C. Boxplot features include the median (line) 25th and 75th percentiles (edges of the box); whiskers are 1.5× the interquartile range, and outliers are denoted by dots.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. June 2019 vol. 20 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1650
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Image of FIGURE 3a

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FIGURE 3a

Rosette diameter for control (Col70000), 2 example Salk T-DNA mutant lines, and example natural accession lines for an example set of student-collected data that vary by temperature environment. Box plot features as in Figure 2 .

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. June 2019 vol. 20 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1650
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Image of FIGURE 3b

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FIGURE 3b

Fruit number for control (Col70000), 2 example Salk T-DNA mutant lines, and natural accession lines for an example set of student-collected data that vary by temperature environment. Box plot features as in Figure 2 .

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. June 2019 vol. 20 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i2.1650
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