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Plant Biology Undergraduates Publish a Novel & Affordable Classroom Gene Editing Method

A close up photo of Arabidopsis in flower

Undergraduate students from two Department of Plant Biology lab courses have recently co-authored a scientific paper with Dr. Wolfgang Lukowitz, an associate professor of plant biology. The paper describes a novel and cost-effective method to edit the genes of plants within the confines of a classroom. The work was published in the journal Frontiers in Genome Editing. Dr. Lukowitz was the instructor of the lab course and mentored the students throughout the research and publication process. 

Gene editing using a methodology known as CRISPR has enabled scientists to edit the genes of various organisms, such as bacteria, insects, mammals, and of course plants. In this case the students used the thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). The use of CRISPR is becoming increasingly common in scientific research labs around the world. However, the use of CRISPR has not been incorporated into undergraduate science curricula, even though it is regularly used in the labs and workplaces students will be working in after graduation. This paper lowers the barriers of entry for the use of CRISPR technology in college classrooms and is a first step towards incorporating the CRISPR technology into more undergraduate science classes and potentially transforming STEM education.

Read the full manuscript published in Frontiers in Genome Editing here.

Find more information on the University of Georgia Undergraduate Plant Biology Program here.

Image: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz (Via Wikimedia Commons)


Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Plant Biology

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