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Tribal College Teaching Workshops
With the goal to promote educational exchanges between the research community and Native American students, we have organized an outreach program including two biology workshops for students and faculty from tribal colleges. The outreach program commenced in 2006 and will continue through 2016.
The two workshops include a Genetics workshop and a PCR workshop. In the Genetics workshop, researchers from this project teach a week-long genetics and molecular biology training workshop including lectures, hands-on class exercises and computer lab activities. In the PCR workshop, students study and practice molecular biology research techniques such as using PCR to monitor microbial contaminations in water sources. The course schedules, lecture notes, lab manuals, and student feedbacks for all past workshops are available from this web site.
The goal of the workshop is to introduce faculty and students to concepts of genetics. Participants will learn about how traits are transmitted and how genetics impacts our lives on a daily basis. Each day will focus on a special topic in genetics, using examples from our every day lives. We will explore answers to questions such as:
- What is the genetics of coat color differences in horses and cattle? How can that information help you in horse or cattle breeding?
- What exactly is passed on from generation to generation when plants have different traits, like different flower colors or plant sizes? Can we use the information to improve the plants we eat?
- What is happening to our environment, water quality and natural resources and how can we use genetics to improve our land and lifestyle?
- How is genetics used to understand and discover cures for diseases such as diabetes?
- What exactly are GMOs and do they affect us and the world?
The workshop is a training session on the use of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) for molecular research and as a teaching tool for basic biology classes. PCR is a method for isolating and amplifying whole genes or small fragments of genes and it is used extensively for most genetics research, for forensics and for DNA study. It is particularly useful for DNA diagnosis. We will be learning how to use PCR to test water samples for bacterial contaminants.