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Inquiry-based undergraduate laboratories provide the opportunity to engage students in a research experience that improves scientific thinking, but such activities can be difficult to develop and implement due to limited time and resources. We have developed a series of inquiry-based laboratory modules that directly address Vision and Change core concepts and competencies, as well as core principles in the fields of genetics and physiology. The laboratory modules focus on a common polymorphism in the alpha-actinin-3 (ACTN3) gene that results in the lack of ACTN3 protein expression in fast twitch muscle fibers in 16% of the human population. This project provides an authentic classroom research experience and addresses the connection between science and society by examining the implications of ACTN3genetic testing to improve sports training and performance. Modules are broken down into introductory, information literacy and the scientific method, genotyping, and physiology lessons. If all modules are implemented, the study can be completed in 5-8 weeks, but instructors can decide to implement one or more modules independent of each other. We have successfully implemented the modules in First Year Seminar and upper-level physiology classes at Dickinson College and an upper-level genetics class at Georgetown University, indicating that these exercises are adaptable to all levels of the undergraduate biology curriculum, as well as general non-science classes. This article accompanies the Science Behind the Lesson "The Science Behind the ACTN3 Polymorphism."


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Copyright: © 2019 Frey, Somers, Lehman, Hall, Hwang, and Yarden. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.