By Eric Ostertag, M.D., Ph.D.
I went to a high school in a small Midwestern town in Wisconsin. As is sometimes the case, neither the town nor the school was particularly progressive; however, I remember one science teacher who stood out from other educators. Rather than the rote textbook learning administered by his peers, he taught the life sciences through hands-on experimentation. As students, we were granted some autonomy, creating our own slides that we then studied under light microscopes, isolating DNA and running it on gel electrophoresis rigs. We even created transgenic plants by transducing them with the gene-encoding green fluorescent protein using tobacco mosaic virus. It was in this class that I became enthralled with genetics.