This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled BioQUEST Summer Workshop 2007 at Beloit College in June 2007. 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:

Upcoming events               BEDROCK Problem Spaces

Lactase evolution problem space
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Karen Klyczek
University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Mark Bergland
University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Catherine Dinitra White
North Carolina A&T State University

Chi-Cheng Lin
Winona State University

Arlin Toro
Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico


Possible Audiences:

undergraduate students and faculty  


Brief Overview:

We are contributing to the problem space for the lactase persistence case study presented in the mini-workshop by Waterman, Stanley, and Jenkins. We are also using this as an example case for modifications to the Case It software that will run microarray simulations using published data, and allow students to connect directly to online bioinformatics tools and databases. After reviewing the case scenario and research articles, students will run the microarray simulation and use the results to formulate questions regarding molecular evolution of lactase and related genes.  


Project Materials:

Case scenario
lactase (lct) and mcm6 sequences from a variety of organisms
Images of organisms from which sequences are derived
Case It software
Research articles describing SNPs associated with lactase persistance
Biology Workbench
Split Decomposition ESTEEM module  


Resources and References:

Case It home page, (software download)
Biology Workbench,
Bersaglieri, T. et al. Genetic signatures of strong recent positive selection at the lactase gene. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 74, 11111120 (2004)
Williamson, H. et al. Localizing recent adaptive evolution in the human genome. PLOS Genetics 3(6):e90
Tishkoff, S.H. et al. Convergent evolution of human lactase persistence in Africa and Europe. Nature Genetics 39(1):31
Affymetrix, source of probe sequences and dChip SNP analyzing software,  


Future Directions:

  • continue modification of Case It software
  • work on formatting microarray data so it can be imported into case it software and analyzed via Excel