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ERIC Number: EJ823003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
Experimenting with Spirituality: Analyzing "The God Gene" in a Nonmajors Laboratory Course
Silveira, Linda A.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v7 n1 p132-145 Spr 2008
References linking genes to complex human traits, such as personality type or disease susceptibility, abound in the news media and popular culture. In his book "The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes", Dean Hamer argues that a variation in the "VMAT2" gene plays a role in one's openness to spiritual experiences. In a nonmajors class, we read and discussed "The God Gene" and conducted on a small scale an extension of the study it describes. Students used polymerase chain reaction to replicate a portion of their "VMAT2" genes, and they analyzed three polymorphic sites in the sequence of these products. Associations between particular "VMAT2" alleles and scores on a personality test were assessed by t test. The course, of which this project was a major part, stimulated student learning; scores on a test covering basic genetic concepts, causation/correlation, and laboratory methodology improved after completion of the course. In a survey, students reported the laboratory project aided their learning, especially in the areas of statistics and the linking of genes to behaviors. They reported high levels of engagement with the project, citing in particular its personal nature as motivating their interest. (Contains 6 tables and 4 figures.)
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; E-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A