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Hands-on systematics lab

Beverly Brown bjbrown at naz.edu
Tue Nov 5 19:00:09 EST 2002

Hello to everyone -

I've developed a systematics lab that uses Biology Workbench and guides 
students through the process of  drawing trees based on their own 
knowledge and then comparing their trees with computer-generated ones 
(using 18S rRNA gene sequences from GenBank).  They are asked to deal 
with such questions as which algal division is most closely related to 
land plants and which land plants evolved first.

I'm not a systematist and don't know if the organisms we're using  are 
the best ones.  I've tried it two years now and students seem to enjoy 
using the web and generating their own trees.   They also seem to 
understand the advantages and disadvantages of computer-generated trees. 
 Another adavantage is that there is no cost involved since Biology 
Workbench is available for free.

If anyone would like to take a look at what I've put together, I would 
appreciate any feedback you might have.  I'll be glad to send the file 
along if you're interested.




Beverly J. Brown, Ph.D.                Phone:  585-389-2555
Nazareth College of Rochester      Fax:      585-586-2452
Biology Department                      E-mail: bjbrown at naz.edu
4245 East Avenue 
Rochester, NY 14618-3790


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