KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Dr. Allan Brown, assistant professor with N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the N.C. Research Campus, is leading the effort to sequence the blueberry genome.

Seven Davidson College undergraduates, in a course led by biology professor Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell, have been given a sneak peek at a portion of the berry’s DNA. These juniors and seniors aren’t just marveling at the string of letters that make up the DNA assembly they are working with; they have identified metabolic pathways and hypothesized gene function.

On Tuesday, the students will present their findings to their peers, Campbell and Brown.

In early 2010, Brown contacted Campbell about a possible collaboration. Campbell oversees the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching, an international network of undergraduate faculty who facilitate undergraduate genomics research in the classroom.

“This is an innovative approach that allows students to design research projects to analyze real-world data using cutting-edge tools to make new discoveries. They are not simply performing canned experiments with a known outcome,” Brown said.

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