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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Baker, Stokes S. [1], Roytek, Margaret A. [2], Vidican, Cleo B. [1], Jarocki, Christine [1].

Quantitative Inquiry Investigation with Plants Expressing Green Fluorescent Protein.

To develop mathematics skills in first year biology undergraduates, an inquiry investigation was developed where students had to perform quantitative measurements and statistical analysis of expression of red-shifted Green Fluorescent Protein (sGFP) in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana. An epifluorescent photographic apparatus that utilized a standard SRL digital camera was invented to allow the students to measure sGFP fluorescence (abstract link below). Students started their scientific inquiry by conducting a leaf excision experiment with transgenic and wild type plants. Fluorescence (i.e., pixel intensity) was quantifies with NIH ImageJ. After calculating a series of 95% confidence intervals, students observed that sGFP was not detected in wild type plants, nor in plants containing a chimeric sGFP gene under the control of the Arabidopsis alcohol dehydrogenase promoter (ADH). Six hours after leaf excision, mean pixel intensity increased 4.8 fold in ADH/sGFP plants (p = 0.000572), while no statistically significant variation in pixel intensity was observed in wild type plants (p = 0.9781). Students working in teams of four wrote short research proposals where they were asked to design a quantitative experiment to determine if the “drought” gene promoter was induced only by dehydration or induced by other stress factors. After the proposals were critiqued students conducted a variety of investigations involving factors like light intensity, temperature, salinity, soil pH, heavy metals, salicylic acid, and thigmotropism. Students then wrote mini-scientific posters to present their findings. The outcomes of formal assessments of learning gained will be presented.

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Related Links:
Epifluorescent camera attachment
Inquiry increases math skills abstract

1 - University of Detroit Mercy, Biology Department, 4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI, 48221, USA
2 - Oakland University, School of Education and Human Services, 435 G Pawley Hall, 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Rochester, MI, 48309-4401, USA

green fluorescent protein
alcohol dehydrogenase
Digital images

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 31
Location: Council Chambers/SUB
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 31006
Abstract ID:94

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