This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting, and Knitting-together at University of Texas at Austin in May 2005. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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Comparison of the Olfactory Receptor Genes in Canines and Primates
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Gary Ogden
St. Mary's University

Brenda Whaley
Houston Baptist University

Donald Frohlich
University of St. Thomas

Jae-Ho Kim
Rogers State University


Possible Audiences:

Biology majors  


Brief Overview:

Dogs are known for their acute sense of smell. Humans are not. Do dogs have a higher percentage of functional olfactory receptors as compared to humans and other primates? Students will be assigned to obtain the full length genetic sequence of five olfactory receptor (OR) genes from their assigned OR family. (See website below.) Students will determine if a functional orthologous gene is present in the human genome, in the genome of a great ape, and in the sequence of a monkey. The class will pool their data and analyze for the percentage of pseudogenes present in each group.  


Project Materials:  


Resources and References:

“Loss of Olfactory Receptor Genes Coincides with the Acquisition of Full Trichromatic Vision in Primates”, Gilad, Y. et al., PLoS 2:120 (January 2004) “Evolutionary changes of the number of olfactory receptor genes in the human and mouse lineages” Niimura, Y. et al., Genes 346:23-28 (2005)  


Future Directions:

The same comparison can be made for other species or variance between human populations can be determined.  



- austin.ppt