Undergraduates may soon sequence genomes, thanks to the brainchild of Steven Verhey, an assistant professor in the department of biology at Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg. His idea to create a network of two- and four-year colleges whose sophomores would tackle a genome began when he had students at Evergreen State College sequence part of the carrot mitochondrial genome and the daffodil and red bell pepper plastid genomes. "I wanted to include as many students as possible to sequence an entire genome," explains Verhey. He shared his vision with geneticist Steve Wagner and Steve Stefanides, an assistant professor at Wenatchee Valley College. Their first proposal to the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program wasn't funded, but they are trying again, with a different angle. CWU microbiologist Holly Pinkart suggested sequencing Spiroplasma citri, a mycoplasma plant pathogen whose genome is a scant million...

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