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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

McAssey, Edward [1], Heyduk, Karolina [1], Leebens-Mack, James H. [1], Burke, John [1].

An active learning demonstration of artificial selection: Showing the effects of domestication and drought stress on carrots and lettuce.

The effect of domestication on plant species is one of the most obvious examples of evolutionary change. Artificial selection is an efficient mechanism for altering plant traits to benefit human needs. The reduction of diversity associated with domestication may have a negative consequence with the looming impact of global climate changes. Therefore it is of general interest to understand the impacts of stressors associated with climate change (increase prevalence of droughts) on both crops and their wild relatives. To teach middle school students about domestication, the effects of climate change and natural diversity we have developed a module whereby easily grown plants like wild and cultivated lettuce and carrot are both watered and droughted in order to present students with plants to phenotypically characterize. Students have a tremendous amount of ownership over this project by both planting seeds and ultimately measuring a variety of traits on plants after a drought treatment has been applied. Specifically students measure root length, width, circumference and volume for carrots and number of leaves, average leaf surface area and leaf mass for lettuce. This hands-on lesson provides students with a clear view of the product of strong artificial selection. By collecting actual data, the students are able to show that domesticated varieties have more exaggerated trait values for human food consumption. In contrast, by measuring the plants that have been droughted, students will see the negative effects of water limitation. Furthermore, the relatively lesser impact of drought on wild germplasm may suggest to the students that there is value in studying and using wild species for crop breeding.

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1 - University Of Georgia, Plant Biology, 2502 Miller Plant Sciences, Athens, GA, 30602, USA

Active learning
climate change.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE003
Abstract ID:956
Candidate for Awards:None

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