1887

A “Choose-Your-Own” Classroom-Based Activity That Promotes Scientific Inquiry about RNA Interference

    Author: Jeremy L. Hsu1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University, Orange, CA 92866
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 02 August 2019 Accepted 29 October 2019 Published 18 December 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 author. Mailing address: Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University, One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866. Phone: 714-628-7241. Fax: 714-532-6048. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1889
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
  • HTML
    26.57 Kb
  • XML
    19.99 Kb
  • PDF
    319.74 Kb

    Abstract:

    RNA interference (RNAi), the process that results in the degradation of a target gene’s mRNA, is a fundamental part of eukaryotic gene regulation and is also an important molecular technique that allows for experimental manipulation of gene expression without altering DNA sequences. Despite the importance of RNAi, there have been relatively few lecture-based activities designed to teach about the consequences of this process and counter common misconceptions. I present here an inquiry-based activity that is centered around a “choose your own experiment” design where students generate hypotheses and critically evaluate their ideas by choosing several simulated experiments. The activity presents students with one of the original puzzling observations, the discovery that triggering overexpression of a given gene in a flower resulted in an opposite change in phenotype than expected, and the subsequent discovery that there was a dramatic decrease of that gene’s mRNA, that sparked the discovery of RNAi. Students then propose a molecular mechanism for these results before using a limited budget of funding to simulate their choice of experiments. Simulated results are provided for these experiments, and students must work together to interpret and discuss these results before deciding on the next experiment. I provide a guide for instructors on how to implement this activity, with suggestions on how to vary the activity to fit different class sizes as well as an abbreviated version for instructors who are short on time. Finally, I include an aligned assessment so that instructors may check student learning about the impacts of RNAi.

References & Citations

1. Wilson RC, Doudna JA 2013 Molecular mechanisms of RNA interference Ann Rev Biophys 42 217 239 10.1146/annurev-biophys-083012-130404 http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-biophys-083012-130404
2. Deng Y, Wang CC, Choy KW, Du Q, Chen J, Wang Q, Li L, Chung TKH, Tang T 2014 Therapeutic potentials of gene silencing by RNA interference: principles, challenges, and new strategies Gene 538 217 227 10.1016/j.gene.2013.12.019 24406620 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2013.12.019
3. Downward J 2004 RNA interference BMJ 328 1245 1248 10.1136/bmj.328.7450.1245 15155505 416605 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7450.1245
4. Miller JA, Witherow DS, Carson S 2009 A laboratory-intensive course on RNA interference and model organisms CBE Life Sci Educ 8 316 325 10.1187/cbe.09-02-0012 19952100 2786282 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.09-02-0012
5. Carson S, Miller H 2011 A contemporary, laboratory-intensive course on messenger RNA transcription and processing Biochem Mol Biol Educ 40 89 99 10.1002/bmb.20580 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20580
6. Sengupta S 2013 Bringing RNA interference (RNAi) into the high school classroom Am Biol Teach 75 698 703 10.1525/abt.2013.75.9.12 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/abt.2013.75.9.12
7. Napoli C, Lemieux C, Jorgensen R 1990 Introduction of a chimeric chalcone synthase gene into petunia results in reversible co-suppression of homologous genes in trans Plant Cell 2 279 289 10.2307/3869076 12354959 159885 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3869076
8. Serrano A, Liebner J, Hines JK 2016 Cannibalism, kuru, and mad cows: prion disease as a “choose-your-own-experiment” case study to simulate scientific inquiry in large lectures PLOS Biol 14 e1002351 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002351 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002351

Supplemental Material

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1889
2019-12-18
2020-12-05

Abstract:

RNA interference (RNAi), the process that results in the degradation of a target gene’s mRNA, is a fundamental part of eukaryotic gene regulation and is also an important molecular technique that allows for experimental manipulation of gene expression without altering DNA sequences. Despite the importance of RNAi, there have been relatively few lecture-based activities designed to teach about the consequences of this process and counter common misconceptions. I present here an inquiry-based activity that is centered around a “choose your own experiment” design where students generate hypotheses and critically evaluate their ideas by choosing several simulated experiments. The activity presents students with one of the original puzzling observations, the discovery that triggering overexpression of a given gene in a flower resulted in an opposite change in phenotype than expected, and the subsequent discovery that there was a dramatic decrease of that gene’s mRNA, that sparked the discovery of RNAi. Students then propose a molecular mechanism for these results before using a limited budget of funding to simulate their choice of experiments. Simulated results are provided for these experiments, and students must work together to interpret and discuss these results before deciding on the next experiment. I provide a guide for instructors on how to implement this activity, with suggestions on how to vary the activity to fit different class sizes as well as an abbreviated version for instructors who are short on time. Finally, I include an aligned assessment so that instructors may check student learning about the impacts of RNAi.

Highlighted Text: Show | Hide
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/jmbe/20/3/jmbe-20-58.html?itemId=/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1889&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

Click to view

FIGURE 1

A flowchart showing the different parts of the activity, along with the estimated time required and the relevant corresponding sections of the supplement.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1889
Download as Powerpoint

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Please check the format of the address you have entered.
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error