Far beyond the crosswalk, in the hidden depths of Transy’s campus lives a rare species of organism. A species so extraordinary, that until recent semesters at Transy, few have dared step foot into its territory; however, in keeping with the pioneer spirit of Transy, a select group of students recently embarked on an expenditure to observe these strange and elusive creatures in their rarest form. That’s right folks, love is in the air at Transy and that means it’s Potato Head mating season!
Led by adjunct assistant professor of Biology, Josh Adkins, students enrolled in Biological Interactions became pioneers in the study of Potato Head mating behavior. Students were assigned identical potato heads from the existing population which reflected a phenotype that is heterozygous at all loci.
Having observed the traits that the existing population possessed, the students released the individual potato heads back into the population to mate. Using a coin toss, students simulated the production of gametes. For each gene on a list of predetermined genes, the coin was tossed. Heads represented the dominant allele, and tales, the recessive allele. These alleles were then used to “breed” one’s potato head with another from the population. This process was repeated for two subsequent generations—resulting in some rather strange combinations.
Upon further inspection it became evident that potato heads with less than desirable traits (e.g. no arms, no feet) received little to no attention from the others. Consequently, these traits began to disappear from the population in later generations which indicates that natural selection had occurred!
This activity—while, admittedly, entertaining—is but one of the countless ways in which Transy professors utilize effective (albeit unconventional) methods to teach their students. At Transy, our professors understand that, while textbooks have a lot to offer, there are many other ways to learn! As a first-year I have experienced countless hands-on experiences in my classes. From “mating” potato heads to helping a professional ceramics artist create a one-of-a-kind piece (that I got to keep!), Transy will stop at nothing to ensure that their students’ education is as hands-on as possible!