Goldenrod GallEmphasizes the role of genetic information in biological systems. Under this theme, we cover subjects from the molecular to the population levels of organization. Topics include the nature of inheritance and life cycles, structure/function of DNA, gene expression and regulation, the changing genetic makeup of species as they evolve, and the development of individual organisms from zygotes.

 This class makes use of the Arboretum in the goldenrod gall fly lab.  In this biology lab, students investigate whether goldenrod gall fly larvae collected from restored prairie area are different from larvae collected from a small native prairie 10 km away. They look for biochemical differences in proteins using cellulose acetate electrophoresis. Students determine the genotype of each gall fly; students compare the combined class’ genotypes for the two groups of gall flies statistically using chi-square analysis. Students read a related scientific paper and discuss it in a subsequent lab session. Students write a full lab report describing their results using standard scientific paper formatting. A detailed description of this format and the writing process is provided.

Learn more about the Goldenrod Gall Fly Lab here.