Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Baker, Stokes [1].

The Greening of a Metabarcoding CURE Course.

Due to the dramatic advancement of massive-parallel sequencing technologies (i.e., next-generation sequencing and third-generation sequencing) a functional understanding of these technologies is becoming an essential component of life science education.  One approach to providing undergraduates hands-on access to genomics is to use course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) pedagogy.  As part of the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative at the University of Detroit Mercy, a CURE metagenomics course was established in the winter of 2019.  During the first three years of the course, students conducted 16S rRNA metabarcoding experiments to characterize aquatic prokaryotic communities.  Students gained experience accessing supercomputers to perform homology searches and learned how to perform advanced statistical analysis of their data, such as creating species accumulation curves, interpreting heat maps, and performing principal component analysis.   By using CURE pedagogy, students were able to experience authentic genomics research, thus advancing key recommendations of Vision and Change.   Results from the Laboratory Course Assessment Survey showed that most of the respondents felt they were contributing to scientific knowledge and the course fostered student collaboration. Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the course incorporated iteration aspects of scientific investigations, such as repeating procedures to fix problems.  Though successful, the course was limited to studies of microbial communities.  To redirect the research focus toward plant communities, a pollination study of urban beehives is being conducted during the winter term of 2021/22.  To identify what plant genera were utilized as pollen sources, the undergraduates have isolated eDNA from honey samples provided by community-based apiculture organizations, Hive Detroit, and Bees in the D.   To be able to utilize long-read sequencing technology (Oxford Nanopore’s MinION system), the students developed primers that amplified a large segment (18S rRNA and inter-transcribe spacer region) of the nuclear rRNA locus.  After obtaining their sequence information, the students will perform community analysis, using approaches like those used by their predecessors.  Along with presenting course assessment data, a discussion on how metabarcoding CUREs courses might be pursued to study other plant and algal communities.

Related Links:
Results of assessment study

1 - University of Detroit Mercy, Biology Department, 4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI, 48221, United States

Undergraduate teaching
Course-based undergraduate research experience 
Laboratory Course Assessment Survey 
Long read sequencing.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: EO2009
Abstract ID:928
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved