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    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    SCIENCE/Fiction: Modular Template for Class Design
    We present a modular scaffold for designing an introductory seminar using speculative fiction and science papers to welcome university undergraduates to the biology major. A list of twelve possible topics is included, such as Memory, Parasites,...
    geneticscell biologyneurosciencesystems biologyScience Fiction
    Lesson
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    Where Does Elsie's Hair Color Come From? A "De-Simplified" Pedigree Lesson
    Pedigree analysis is part of most Genetics curricula, but the examples traditionally used in genetics courses present phenotypes as if they were entirely and inexorably defined by genotype. This does not reflect the current state of understanding...
    pedigreeMultifactorialphenotypic variationpenetranceexpressivityquantitative variation
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    Snail Races: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Learn Invasive Species Ecology
    Inquiry-based lessons allow learning that is hands-on and student-driven, fostering engagement and retention of knowledge in any discipline. Here, we use this learning framework to engage students in exploring the effects of biotic and abiotic...

    Courses: EcologyEcology

    ecologyenvironmentInvasive SpeciesScience CommunicationScientific InquiryDispersal
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Science “Fails”: A Bank of Historical Examples for Learning From Failure in Science
    Learning from failure is critically important to the processes of scientific inquiry, discovery, and invention. However, students are not routinely taught how to reflect on, learn from, and ultimately embrace failure, and relatively few curricular...
    metacognitionScience process skillsLearning from failurepower and privilegestudent wellbeing
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    Fragile States: A Case Study Exploring Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry Through the Lens of Fragile X Syndrome
    This case aims to strengthen students’ understanding of molecular biology concepts through study of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Students begin by learning the cause and phenotypes of FXS and related conditions. Students then apply genetics...
    gene regulationtranscriptiontranslationFragile X syndrometriplet repeat expansionsex linkagemetabolic pathway
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    Population Ecology of the Northern Spotted Owl
    The mathematical modeling of populations utilizing field-collected demographic data is an important component of lab curricula in a variety of undergraduate biology lab courses. During the global pandemic brought about by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in...
    demographyCommunity Ecologypopulation ecologyconservation biologylife tables
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    Central Dogma, Dictionaries, and Functions: Using Programming Concepts to Simulate Biological Processes
    Technologies like next-generation sequencing, proteomics, and high-throughput phenotyping have transformed the way we do biology. There is a continued need for scientists with computational skills to analyze biological data while understanding the...

    Courses: BioinformaticsBioinformatics

    computationpythonJupyter notebookFunctionscentral dogmaDictionaries
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    Simulating Cortical Rotation, Axis Induction, and Experimental Embryology in Amphibian Embryos Using Clay Models
    The study of development requires learners to understand spatially complex concepts like embryo anatomy. Embryo anatomy is dynamic over time, and it is often manipulated by researchers in experiments that are fundamental to the field. This spatial...
    developmentXenopusfertilizationEmbryologyinductionSymmetry breakingOrganizerCortical rotationPatterning
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    Engaging Students in Pharmacogenetics: Patient Case Studies Using the PharmGKB Website
    Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes are important regulators of drug efficacy and toxicity. Genetic variation in CYP isoforms can impact how well patients respond to medications or experience unwanted toxicities. PharmGKB is an online pharmacogenomics...

    Courses: GeneticsGenetics ToxicologyToxicology

    toxicologyPharmacologydrug metabolismpharmacodynamicspharmacogenetics
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    Learning R for Biologists: A Mini Course Grab-Bag for Instructors
    As biology becomes more data driven, teaching students data literacy skills has become central to biology curriculum. Despite a wealth of online resources that teach researchers how to use R, there are few that offer practical laboratory-based...
    Rdata analysisRStudio
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    How to Find a Gene: Retrieving Information From Gene Databases
    A strong understanding of distinct gene components and the ability to retrieve relevant information from gene databases are necessary to answer a diverse set of biological questions. However, often there is a considerable gap between...
    NCBItranscriptiontranslationGene StructureGene databasesEnsembl
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Sanger Sequencing by Hand: Using Paper Clips to Demonstrate Chain Termination
    Sanger sequencing is commonly taught with a hands-on approach. Sanger sequencing involves chain termination by dideoxynucleotides, because they are missing the oxygen on the 3’ carbon atom, which is required for the addition of subsequent...

    Courses: GeneticsGenetics

    nucleotidessequencingDNAgel electrophoresisChain Termination
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    Honoring the Complexity of Genetics: Exploring the Role of Genes and the Environment Using Real World Examples
    Historically, undergraduate genetics courses have disproportionately focused on the impact of genes on phenotypes, rather than multifactorial concepts which consider how a combination of genes, the environment, and gene-by-environment interactions...
    genesenvironmentMendelQuantitative traitsMultifactorialGene by environment interactions
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    Online Information Literacy: Applying the CRAAP Test to Vaccine (Mis)information
    Teaching scientific literacy skills can help combat the propagation of misinformation online. This lesson is intended to give students practice identifying reliable scientific information on the Internet, in the context of vaccine safety. It was...
    Vaccinesimmunityreliability
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    Garden Variety Mutations: Using Primary Data to Understand the Central Dogma in Large-Lecture Introductory Biology
    The ability to interpret and create an argument from data is a crucial skill for budding scientists, yet one that is seldom practiced in introductory courses. During this argumentation module, students in a large lecture class will work in groups...
    mutationtranscriptiongene expressioncentral dogmatranslationgel electrophoresisGenotype/Phenotype
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    A Case Study for Teaching Toxicology: Using Whales as an Indicator for Environmental Health
    One of the challenges of teaching scientific courses is helping students understand research methods, biological models, and data analysis, which can be especially difficult in classes without a laboratory component. Within the field of...
    absorptionone environmental health hypothesismetals
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    A Rapid Genetic Screen Using Wisconsin Fast Plants®: A Hands-On Approach to Inheritance of de novo Mutations
    Some concepts in genetics, such as genetic screens, are complex for students to visualize in a classroom and can be cumbersome to undertake in the laboratory. Typically, very large populations are needed, which can be addressed by using...
    mutationInheritancegermlinesomaplant lifecycle
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    Animal Behaviour Case Study Lessons in Communication, Migration, and Parental Care Using the Jigsaw Approach
    Animal behaviour courses integrate concepts across biological disciplines and are particularly well suited for collaborative, student-focused teaching strategies. Case Studies can positively impact students by...
    case studycommunicationprimary literatureanimal behaviorjigsawParental CaremigrationAnimal BehaviourProximate mechanisms
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    Metastatic Mastery: A Case and Game-Based Approach to Learning About Cancer Mechanisms
    Mechanisms that contribute to the development of cancer are numerous and complicated, though most can be traced to a set of mutations in cell cycle regulatory genes that throw the process of cell division off balance. Communication of these...
    mutationcancertranscriptioncell cycletranslationOncogenesTumor-suppressorp53Transcription factor
    Review
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    Workshop Report: Summer 2020 Virtual CRISPR in the Classroom
    As innovations and developments in genome editing technologies using CRISPR-Cas systems progress, the need to disseminate relevant knowledge and build skills among the next generation of young scientists in undergraduate classrooms is vital. Our...
    geneticscrisprGenome Analysisgene editingbacterial immunity