This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Chautauqua Short Course -- Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting, and Knitting-together at Grand Valley State University in August 2006. 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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Comparative Genomics: The Globin Gene in Human and Bats
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



John Palisano
The University of the South

Deirdre Vaden
Prairie View A & M University


Possible Audiences:

Undergraduate - Upper level  


Brief Overview:

The course will introduce the students to genomic data by studying the globin gene sequences of humans and any other organism for which a published sequence exists, like guinea pig. As students begin to do the sequence analysis, they will begin to sequence bat globin genes so that they can compare the bat and human globin sequences. This project is being initiated because there is increasing interest in using bats as an important and unique model for studies of vascular and lymphatic systems development in humans. This study will use computer analysis of published and student-generated DNA sequences to determine evolutionary origins of the human and bat a-globin molecules. The globin molecule was chosen because much of the sequence data already exists for humans and other taxa and but not bats. These studies will open the door to larger studies. Furthermore, bats are becoming well recognized vector of many emerging diseases (like rabies, nipah virus, and, possibly, ebola virus) that infect humans.  


Project Materials:

ClusterW, Multialign, DNA extraction kit, Spectrophotometer, PCR, DNA primers, DNA sequencer, Appropriate software, Et bromide  


Resources and References:

Workbench, BLAST, Database for primers, general references for mammalian evolution and the globin molecule  


Future Directions:

In the future, we will analyze the entire family of globin genes and compare them to other mammals.