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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2008 Fall;7(3):310-6. doi: 10.1187/cbe.07-08-0061.

An innovative plant genomics and gene annotation program for high school, community college, and university faculty.

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Biology Department, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA.


Today's biology educators face the challenge of training their students in modern molecular biology techniques including genomics and bioinformatics. The Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC) of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has developed and disseminated a bench- and computer-based plant genomics curriculum for biology faculty. In 2007, a five-day "Plant Genomics and Gene Annotation" workshop was held at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL, to enhance participants' knowledge and understanding of plant molecular genetics and assist them in developing and honing their laboratory and computer skills. Florida A&M University is a historically black university with over 95% African-American student enrollment. Sixteen participants, including high school (56%) and community college faculty (25%), attended the workshop. Participants carried out in vitro and in silico experiments with maize, Arabidopsis, soybean, and food products to determine the genotype of the samples. Benefits of the workshop included increased awareness of plant biology research for high school and college level students. Participants completed pre- and postworkshop evaluations for the measurement of effectiveness. Participants demonstrated an overall improvement in their postworkshop evaluation scores. This article provides a detailed description of workshop activities, as well as assessment and long-term support for broad classroom implementation.

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