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ERIC Number: EJ1038769
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
Beyond Punnett Squares: Student Word Association and Explanations of Phenotypic Variation through an Integrative Quantitative Genetics Unit Investigating Anthocyanin Inheritance and Expression in "Brassica rapa" Fast Plants
Batzli, Janet M.; Smith, Amber R.; Williams, Paul H.; McGee, Seth A.; Dosa, Katalin; Pfammatter, Jesse
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v13 n3 p410-424 Sep 2014
Genetics instruction in introductory biology is often confined to Mendelian genetics and avoids the complexities of variation in quantitative traits. Given the driving question "What determines variation in phenotype (Pv)? (Pv=Genotypic variation Gv + environmental variation Ev)," we developed a 4-wk unit for an inquiry-based laboratory course focused on the inheritance and expression of a quantitative trait in varying environments. We utilized "Brassica rapa" Fast Plants as a model organism to study variation in the phenotype anthocyanin pigment intensity. As an initial curriculum assessment, we used free word association to examine students' cognitive structures before and after the unit and explanations in students' final research posters with particular focus on variation (Pv = Gv + Ev). Comparison of pre- and postunit word frequency revealed a shift in words and a pattern of co-occurring concepts indicative of change in cognitive structure, with particular focus on "variation" as a proposed threshold concept and primary goal for students' explanations. Given review of 53 posters, we found ~50% of students capable of intermediate to high-level explanations combining both Gv and Ev influence on expression of anthocyanin intensity (Pv). While far from "plug and play," this conceptually rich, inquiry-based unit holds promise for effective integration of quantitative and Mendelian genetics.
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail: ascbinfo@ascb.org; Website: http://www.ascb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin