Teaching Tips / Activity Overview:
- 3-4 weeks before you want to isolate the DNA from Arabidopsis, plant the seeds, water them, and allow them to grow. Follow the directions on page 4 of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis" for specific planting instructions.
- When you are ready to start the lab have students read the introduction to the activity on pg. 1-2 of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis.” Discuss any questions the students have and share with them the general time frame you plan to follow for the next few days including a listing of the major lab techniques that will be used (gel electrophoresis, DNA extraction and purification, PCR). There is a nice lab flow chart to share with students on page 3 of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis.”
- Explain that the major concepts to be learned are the relationship between genotype and phenotype, the use of transposable elements to mutagenize and tag genes, and the role of homeotic genes in plants and animal development.
- Have students pair up for the lab exercises and hand out pg. 4-11 of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis.” (If supplies are limited it would also work to have students work in groups of 4.) Assign students to review the methods and analysis sections of the lab on pg 4-10.
- The pacing at which you complete the lab will vary based on the amount of time you have your students in class. There is an activity time table I found helpful to reference on pg. 19 of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis.” I think this activity would work best in classes on block schedule or if you have double lab periods with students on alternating days. The traditional 40ish minute class periods would most likely be too short to accomplish most of the PCR and gel electrophoresis procedures unless the teacher completes many of the procedures for the students before or after the students are in class.
- There is also a bioinformatics portion of “Detecting a Transposon Tag in Arabidopsis" which starts on pg. 12.