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Biology 20


After 4 weeks of introductory material and experiments designed to teach key biological concepts and molecular biology techniques, students complete an authentic research project. Example projects:

Student loading gel
  • Screening for new CRISPR alleles affecting cell division in corn
  • Performing CRISPR mutagenesis in Arabidopsis to understand fire germination response.
  • Characterizing the nematode population of Bodega Bay 
  • Locating trans-gene insertion in the mouse genome to identify a potentially new hair color gene.
  • Identifying putative clock genes in Citrus.



Video describing the Biology 20 Course.



Open to first-year life science majors, BIOL020 introduces computational and experimental approaches in investigating the genomes of plants and animals. In the first part of the course the basic concepts of biology and experimental techniques will be taught. In the second half of the course, students  complete a research project derived from ongoing faculty research projects at UCR. Examples of past projects:

  • Identification and phenotyping of new CRISPR alleles of the tangledgene in maize with Dr. Carolyn Rasmussen and graduate student Pablo Martinez.
  • Amplifying and comparing putative white fly resistance genes in parasite resistant and susceptible alfalfa plants with Dr. Linda Walling and graduate student Patrick Thomas.
  • Characterizing mouse neutrophils expressing fluorescent markers with Dr. David Lo.
  • Identifying nematode species located in the waters around Catalina Island with Dr. Holly Bik.
  • Identifying core clock genes in cowpea and citrus with Dr. Dawn Nagel.
  • Verifying transposable element insertions in rice with Dr. Susan Wessler.
  • Identifying strigalactone biosynthetic genes in cowpea with Dr. Dave Nelson.
  • Characterizing kinases in mosquito sperm with Dr. Richard Cardullo.
  • Characterizing sequence polymorphism in spider silk genes with Dr. Matthew Collin.
  • Phenotyping transcription factor knock-downs via RNAi in nematodes with Dr. Morris Maduro.







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