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Biodiversity Science Kits

Biodiversity Science Kits

The Wolbachia Project: An award-winning Vanderbilt educational lab series

One exciting real-world student research project offered at Vanderbilt is the award-winning “Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project” designed for middle and high school or college biology classes. Wolbachia are the most common symbiotic bacteria in animals and are inherited from mother to offspring each generation. These bacteria are common parasites in arthropods worldwide, including many insects, spiders, and crustaceans.

Wolbachia and the educational lab series are interesting for climate change and biodiversity research based on the following rationales: (i) Wolbachia assist the formation of new arthropod species by modifying sexual reproduction and preventing interbreeding between populations (ii) A taxonomy and DNA sequencing set of labs enables classrooms to key out arthropods and genetically identify the species of arthropod and Wolbachia and (iii) Wolbachia in mosquitoes lower transmission of arboviral diseases such as Dengue and Zika viruses. These diseases are expected to geographically spread due to wetter and warmer weather patterns. The ability of Wolbachia to reduce disease transmission may be relevant for protection of biodiversity as it provides an environmentally friendly, pesticide-free way to control insect pest and vector populations.

The Wolbachia Project offers hands-on, immersive research and learning opportunities for biodiversity, biotechnology, and bioinformatics with complete assistance for all labs and lessons.



Best of all, the Bordenstein Lab currently offers free sample processing for high school classes impacted by COVID-19. Get started today!