Field of Science

Eukaryotic Microbiology Intro Readings

My advanced microbiology course, Eukaryotic Microbiology, is up and running. At least the website is. I have assigned several introductory papers for the course as a primer for the students. The papers include:

    I've used the Cavalier-Smith and Koonin papers in the past to introduce the basic ideas surrounding where eukaryotic cells come from (I think the Koonin paper is more clear here) and what is a eukaryotic cell (Cavalier-Smith wins here).

    This year I've introduced the other three papers to provide additional perspective on the origin issues. The McInerney paper does a good job summarizing the four basic hypotheses for the origin of the eukaryotic cell (see the figure) and I think it is good to come after the first two papers as they deal more directly with the science behind the origin of eukaryotic cells.

    I particularly like the last two papers by Williams and Forterre as they basically argue different things. This allows me to introduce ambiguity into the course from the beginning, which I think is important. One of my goals is to teach students to think critically about the science they read. This is quite difficult as I think the students have been taught that if it's written in a textbook or scientific paper, it must be correct. Here, I am giving the students two papers, written the same year, that argue two different points of view. Logically they cannot both be correct. It will be interesting to see if this helps students get over the hurdle of being able to question authority or not. 

    1 comment:

    Andre Leon said...

    As a Chemistry major seeking to get a stronger background in microbio, thank you so much for posting these introductory papers. I always appreciate having material be contextualized by the primary literature.