Bioinformatic and Experimental B. distachyon Gene Analysis
The problem tackled by each team of students is determining the biological function of a distinct gene, and a mutated version of the same gene, in the plant Brachypodium distachyon, which is a model organism whose entire genome has been mapped. However, just because we know all its genes does not mean we know what each gene does. The point of this laboratory course is for each student team to discover the function of a gene that's been assigned to them. What each team discovers is new knowledge because the biological functions of the genes in Brachypodium distachyon are not yet known. To accomplish this goal, we learn concepts and applications of modern DNA technology including an introduction to the field of genomics. We begin by practicing key molecular biology methods and how they are used in gene analysis. We then consider how entire genomes are analyzed using common bioinformatics tools. Finally, we practice methods for manipulating genomes as a means of determining gene function.