Summer and Fall Course Series
This course series starts in the summer during Freshman College and continues into the fall semester. During the summer course freshmen are exposed to the study of TEs using bioinformatics and wet bench experiments. Summer 2008 was a mini-version of the Spring 2008 course. The Summer 2009 course was changed to give students more introductory background and to simplify the project. During the project students used the maize genome browser to annotate DNA TEs in introns and used PCR to look for polymorphism of those TEs.
Students who take the summer course can continue in the Fall course. In Fall 2008 we used the yeast transposition assay for the first time with students. Five students completed several projects with this assay. In the final project students explored the excision site repair. The students chose and researched and tested several DNA repair enzymes in the non-homologous repair pathway. The project formed the basis of an independent undergraduate research project.
In Fall 2009 the students are studying TEs located in introns of maize genes. The students annotated the TEs using the Maize Genome Browser. They are determining if these TEs are polymorphic in any of 30 maize strains. Finally students will conduct experiments to determine if these TEs alter gene expression.