Public Release:  Education resource focuses on teaching population genetics using current research

A Primer in the March 2013 journal GENETICS pairs undergraduate teaching concepts in population genetics with current research on speciation and sequencing in crickets, resulting in critical thinking in the classroom

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD - March 13, 2013 - Genetics and life sciences instructors, who teach undergraduate students about population and evolutionary genetics, have a new teaching resource: the March 2013 Primer in the Genetics Society of America's journal GENETICS uses current research on transcriptome divergence in two closely related species of field crickets to explain population genetics.

The Primer, "Population Genetics and a Study of Speciation Using Next-Generation Sequencing," by Patricia J. Wittkopp, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Michigan, explains how undergraduate instructors can, in their classrooms, use the article, "Patterns of Transcriptome Divergence in the Male Accessory Gland of Two Closely Related Species of Field Crickets" by Andrés et al., published in the February 2013 issue of GENETICS.

The Primer details background information on the Gryllus firmus and Gryllus pennsylvanicus cricket systems and the use of transcriptome sequence variation to study speciation. Dr. Wittkopp provides cogent explanations of the sequencing technologies used as well as some of the results of the paper, but leaves most of the results for students to interpret on their own. To give students the tools they need to interpret the data, Dr. Wittkopp provides a concise and accessible overview of the necessary genetics concepts on which the research of Andrés et al. is based. For instructors, Dr. Wittkopp provides guidance on how to use the primary literature in the classroom as well as questions for student discussion.

"By focusing on contemporary scientific literature, students engage in the learning process and are encouraged to make their own scientific discoveries," said Elizabeth A. De Stasio, Ph.D., a professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and editor of the Primer section in the Genetics Society of America's journal, GENETICS.

Primers are scheduled for the April, May, and June issues of GENETICS. "Providing valuable educational resources like this, which enhance the quality of genetics education, teaching and learning, is a mission of GSA," said Mark Johnston, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of GENETICS. "These articles help educators engage students in critically analyzing current primary research, a vital part of research training."

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CITATION: Patricia J. Wittkopp. Population Genetics and a Study of Speciation Using Next Generation Sequencing: An Educational Primer for Use with "Patterns of Transciptome Divergence in the Male Accessory Gland of Two Closely Related Species of Field Crickets" GENETICS, March 2013, Volume 193, Number 3, 671-675.

ABOUT GENETICS Primers: Primers are designed to bring cutting-edge scientific research into the classroom by making scientific papers accessible to undergraduate students and their instructors. A Primer is intended to be used with the research article, which is published in the same or a recent issue of GENETICS. Primers include topic background, explanation of genetics concepts, suggestions for using the article in the classroom, and questions for classroom discussion. The articles give instructors the opportunity to enliven student interest in genetics by teaching genetics principles in the context of current research.

ABOUT GENETICS: Since 1916, GENETICS has covered high quality, original research on a range of topics bearing on inheritance, including population and evolutionary genetics, complex traits, developmental and behavioral genetics, cellular genetics, gene expression, genome integrity and transmission, and genome and systems biology. GENETICS, a peer-reviewed, peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America is one of the world's most cited journals in genetics and heredity.

ABOUT GSA: Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for scientific researchers, educators, bioengineers, bioinformaticians and others interested in the field of genetics. Its nearly 5,000 members work to advance knowledge in the basic mechanisms of inheritance, from the molecular to the population level. The GSA is dedicated to promoting research in genetics and to facilitating communication among geneticists worldwide through its conferences, including the biennial conference on Model Organisms to Human Biology, an interdisciplinary meeting on current and cutting edge topics in genetics research, as well as annual and biennial meetings that focus on the genetics of particular organisms, including C. elegans, Drosophila, fungi, mice, yeast, and zebrafish. GSA publishes GENETICS, a leading journal in the field and an online, open-access journal, G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. For more information about GSA, please visit http://www.genetics-gsa.org. Also follow GSA on Facebook at facebook.com/GeneticsGSA and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.

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