Public Release: 

New Genetics educational resource promotes active learning

A new educational resource in the Genetics journal connects cutting-edge research with critical thinking in undergraduate instruction

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD - August 9, 2012 -- As upper level undergraduate genetics instructors plan their syllabi for the fall semester, the Genetics Society of America's GENETICS journal offers a new educational resource, articles called "Primers." These articles are designed to bring cutting-edge scientific research into the classroom by making scientific papers accessible to students.

The principal learning goal of the Primer is to "make research and genetics accessible to a much broader audience, not just researchers, their postdocs and grad students, but also to undergraduates and their instructors," said Elizabeth A. De Stasio, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and editor of the Primer section in the GENETICS journal.

"With jargon and unfamiliar techniques, the primary research literature can be inaccessible to many students," Dr. De Stasio added. "The Primer article, tied to a research article published in the same issue of GENETICS, will provide guidelines for genetics instructors who want to expose their students to current research."

The August 2012 GENETICS Primer written by Dr. De Stasio is based on the article, "A Network of Genes Antagonistic to the LIN-35 Retinoblastoma Protein of Caenorhabditis elegans," by Stanley R. G. Polley and David S. Fay. The Primer introduces concepts of reverse genetics and RNA interference (RNAi), suppressor screens, synthetic phenotypes and phenocopy. Necessary background, explanations of concepts, as well as suggestions for using the article in the classroom and questions for classroom discussion are included.

"The intent is for the research article and the Primer to be used together in the context of a genetics classroom. We will be highlighting articles that teach and reinforce genetic principles and approaches, while concentrating on current, rather than classic discoveries," Dr. De Stasio noted. "Focusing the Primers on contemporary scientific literature will engage students in the learning process and guide them toward the process of scientific discovery." Dr. De Stasio expects the Journal to publish six Primer articles each year, about one in every other issue of GENETICS.

"Providing valuable educational resources like this that enhance the quality of genetics education, teaching and learning is one of our missions." said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of GENETICS. "Engaging students in the process of critically analyzing primary research is a vital part of research training."

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CITATION:

Elizabeth A. De Stasio. Suppressors, Screens, and Genes: An Educational Primer for Use with "A Network of Genes Antagonistic to the LIN-35 Retinoblastoma Protein of Caenorhabditis elegans" Genetics August 2012 Volume 191, Issue 4, 1031-1035

ABOUT GENETICS:

Since 1916, GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org/) 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. 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 www.genetics-gsa.org. Also follow GSA on Facebook at facebook.com/GeneticsGSA and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.

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