A Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) professor and 138 of his undergraduates have co-authored a paper that provides the first genome-wide estimate of vital genes that are also essential for eye development of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The undergraduates are students in a unique biology class taught by HHMI professor Utpal Banerjee at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Banerjee and his students identified 501 essential genes responsible for processes such as repair, cell death, and cell replication in the fruit flys developing eye. They report the results of their research and the impact of their research-based learning project in the February 2005 issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) Biology.
“It wont be easy to find a paper with 138 undergraduate authors,” said Banerjee, one of 20 HHMI professors who received $1 million grants in 2002 to improve undergraduate biology education. “In fact, this could easily be the first paper ever published with that many undergraduate authors that has serious science in it.”
Jennifer Donovan | EurekAlert!
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