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Comparing Outdated and Updated Textbook Figures Helps Introduce Undergraduates to Primary Literature

    Authors: Verónica A. Segarra1,*, Scott Tanner2
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    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: [email protected].
    • ©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 RR 1969 Separation and characterization of the subunits of ribonucleic acid polymerase J Biol Chem 244 6168 6176 4900511
2. Chatterji D, Ogawa Y, Shimada T, Ishihama A 2007 The role of the omega subunit of RNA polymerase in expression of the relA gene in Escherichia coli FEMS Microbiol Lett 267 1 51 55 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00532.x 17233676 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00532.x
3. Dove SL, Hochschild A 1998 Conversion of the omega subunit of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase into a transcriptional activator or an activator target Genes Dev. 12 745 754 10.1101/gad.12.5.745 9499408 316573 http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.12.5.745
4. Ghosh P, Ishihama A, Chatterji D 2001 Escherichia coli RNA polymerase subunit omega and its N-terminal domain bind full-length beta’ to facilitate incorporation into the alpha2beta subassembly Eur. J. Biochem. 268 4621 4627 10.1046/j.1432-1327.2001.02381.x 11531998 http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1432-1327.2001.02381.x
5. Mathew R, Chatterji D 2006 The evolving story of the omega subunit of bacterial RNA polymerase Trends Microbiol 14 450 455 10.1016/j.tim.2006.08.002 16908155 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2006.08.002
6. Mathew R, Ramakanth M, Chatterji D 2005 Deletion of the gene rpoZ, encoding the ω subunit of RNA polymerase in Mycobacterium smegmatis results in fragmentation of the β’ subunit in the enzyme assembly J Bacteriol 187 18 6565 6570 10.1128/JB.187.18.6565-6570.2005 16159791 1236636 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.187.18.6565-6570.2005
7. Minakhin L, et al 2001 Bacterial RNA polymerase subunit ω and eukaryotic RNA polymerase subunit RPB6 are sequence, structural, and functional homologs and promote RNA polymerase assembly Proc Nat Acad Sci 98 3 892 897 10.1073/pnas.98.3.892 11158566 14680 http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.98.3.892
8. Mukherjee K, Chatterji D 1999 Alteration in template recognition by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase lacking the omega subunit: a mechanistic analysis through gel retardation and foot-printing studies J. Biosciences 24 4 453 459 10.1007/BF02942656 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02942656
9. Pierce BA 2003 Genetics: a conceptual approach 1st ed W.H. Freeman and Company New York, NY
10. Pierce BA 2014 Genetics: a conceptual approach 5th ed W.H. Freeman and Company New York, NY

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.892
2015-05-01
2019-10-20

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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