Dahlquist:Evo-Ed Evolution of Lactase Persistence

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This page contains notes from the BioQUEST Curriculumm Consortium Summer Workshop 2015 project on the Evo-Ed Case: The Evolution of Lactase Persistence.

Other Case Studies

PowerPoint Summary

Annotated Bibliography

Protein Structure Exercises

POU2F1 (aka OCT-1)


In this exercise, you will explore the structure of a the regulatory transcription factor POU2F1 (OCT-1) from human, bound to its regulatory DNA. The binding of POU2F1 to an enhancer upstream of the LCT gene that encodes lactase activates lactase expression. Variants in the enhancer motif are responsible for lactase persistence, which enables humans to digest the milk sugar, lactose, after weaning.

Learning objectives

At the end of this exercise, the student should be able to

  • define and show the differences between different levels of protein structure: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary.
  • locate a domain and explain its relationship to the levels of structure mentioned above
  • identify the types of amino acid side chains that interact with the DNA and name the types of weak, noncovalent bonds responsible for the interaction
  • describe the relationship of structure to function for POU2F1 and how this relates to lactase persistence

SNP Data and Human Genome Browser

Gene Regulatory Network

Canonical Oct-1 binding site Motifmap.jpg

Open Education Resources

Links from "Open Education Resources (OER) for science teaching - an evolving landscape" talk by Ahrash Bissell, Monterey Institute for Technology and Education


Links from Development of BioSQuARE, an instrument to assess undergraduate biological quantitative skills Jason Belitsky

  • QRLA
  • BioSQuaRE v4 online, via Qualtrics

Identifying Primer Locations

Primer Locations

  • identify forward and reverse primer sequences
  • enter both sequences into Human BLAT Search

Santa Cruz Human BLAT Search Human BLAT Search

  • identify sequence locations of forward and reverse primers
  • identify which primer (forward or reverse) comes before the other by looking at the start and end locations of each primer

sequence locations

  • select the region within Chromosome 2 of the Human Genome containing both the forward and reverse primes
    • click the selected region button
    • enter the start location of the first primer and the end location of the second primer

Chromosome 2 selecting start and end region

RFLP Analysis