Course description: The study of genetic material, the gene as a unit of recombination, mutation,
function, and regulation. This course focuses on genetics in three branches: Mendelian (classical or transmission) genetics, molecular genetics, and population genetics. We begin with Mendelian genetics in order to introduce basic concepts and the history of genetics. This knowledge makes the discussion of molecular genetics more relevant and meaningful. We will then discuss the details of molecular genetics and related techniques. We will conclude with population genetics and a brief discussion of the use of genetic techniques in ecological/conservation programs.
Textbook: Genetics: A Conceptual Approach. Benjamin A. Pierce. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, NY. 2003.
Rationale: This course provides an introduction to genetics, providing an understanding of concepts that are essential to modern biologists. A working knowledge of genetics is important in disciplines ranging from ecology to medicine. Additionally, this knowledge is necessary to understand current ethical debates regarding genetic issues.
Prerequisites: BS 1114
1. To understand the language and basic concepts of genetics, providing a conceptual framework for
2. To understand how traits are inherited and to use this understanding in analyses (to solve
problems and complete pedigrees)
3. To understand probability concepts and use these concepts to solve problems (including basic
4. To understand how genetic problems may lead to disease or lethality
5. To understand the molecular basis of genetics (including such topics as replication, transcription,
translation, and mutation)
6. To understand the workings and importance of major genetics techniques such as PCR
7. To understand current issues regarding genetics (e.g., cloning, use of transgenic organisms)
8. To understand the workings and uses of population genetics techniques
9. To gain experience with writing a research paper and making an informal presentation
Institutional Goals: This course will address the six institutional goals (found on page 11-12 of the catalogue) as follows.
1. Institutional goal 1 (“To produce students who demonstrate an understanding of the Judeo-Christian heritage and Christian worldview”) will be addressed by objectives 1, 7, and 9. Students will learn aspects of the historical development of the science of genetics, consider current ethical issues, and demonstrate their perspectives within their presentations.
2. Institutional goal 2 (“To produce students who demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively
across the curriculum”) is primarily addressed by objective 9, but will also be addressed by exam questions, homework assignments, and class discussions.
3. Institutional goal 3 (“To produce students who demonstrate the ability to reflect critically upon
the world, the environment, society, and self”) will be addressed within the context of class discussions, through exam questions, and through student presentations (objective 9).
4. Institutional goal 4 (“To produce students who demonstrate the ability to apply the principles of
the scientific method to become more effective problem solvers”) will be addressed through problem solving during class, homework, and exams (reflected in objectives 2 and 3).
5. Institutional goal 5 (“To produce students who demonstrate an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle
that will promote lifelong heath and fitness”) will be addressed through discussion of genetic components of diseases (objective 4)
6. Institutional goal 6 (“To produce students who demonstrate a competence in at least one
particular body of knowledge”) will be addressed through strengthening student knowledge of genetics, and of important general scientific concepts, through all aspects of the course.
Attendance and completion of all exams is mandatory. Students are accountable for all class assignments, class announcements, handouts, and information provided in lecture. After three absences, a student’s course grade will be reduced by 5% for each additional absence. If more than six lectures are missed, the student will be asked to drop the course or receive a failing grade.
If you must miss an exam, then you must contact me as quickly as possible. It is always better to contact me before rather than after an absence if you know in advance that you must miss class (if you notify me in advance, it will be easier to receive approval for a makeup). Please provide a substantive excuse (e.g., a doctor’s note). Do not assume that you will be able to make up an exam. Additionally, please do not ask to postpone an exam on the day of the exam. If you have other exams on the same day, bring it to my attention before the exam date.
Assignments turned in after the due date will be penalized 5% for each day that they are late. Presentations may not be rescheduled if missed.
Students are expected and required to uphold the highest standards of academic honesty in this and all courses. Students should be familiar with the College's policies concerning academic integrity (Catalog, page 52; Student Handbook, page 32, section VII). Students requiring any clarification of these policies should consult their academic advisor or the Office of Academic Affairs.
Lecture Exam I 50 pts
Lecture Exam II 100 pts
Lecture Exam III 100 pts
Homework 100 pts
Written assignment - draft 30 pts
Written assignment - final 50 pts
Presentation 50 pts
Final Exam 200 pts
Total 680 pts
Homework assignments will consist of problems assigned in class. The written assignment and presentation are an individual project on a relevant topic of your choice (subject to my approval). The written assignment will be a 7-10 page paper discussing a current genetics topic. Examples of topics include applications of genetic techniques, inbreeding depression, genetic diseases in humans, and temperature sex determination. After a first version of the paper is turned in, I will grade it, make comments, and return it. You will then be responsible for revising it and will turn in both the first and final versions of the paper. At the end of the semester, you will give a 10 - 15 minute oral presentation on your topic.
Instructor: Ann V. Paterson
Phone: (870) 759-4717