Genetics: Principles and Applications

Betty Kutter, Ph.D.
Department of Biophysics
Lab I, Rm# 2023

Class Links
Evergreen PhagePage
Contact Info

This is an upper division/graduate course designed particularly for people with a strong interest in the subject and good study and library research skills, but without a strong molecular background. (Those who DO have a strong molecular background will be expected to work a turn or three further up the spiral of learning, do more of the problems or a more complex small-group research project for presentation and/or more exploration of the original literature.) The format will include assigned readings, lectures, workshops, student presentations, problems and laboratory work on PCR and gel analysis of DNA. The initial assignments are given below; more details will be worked out once the full make-up of the class is clear.

The Secret of Life. Jim Watson: (paperback: available on sale at Amazon)

From Genes to Genomes. Lee Hartwell et al.:
The new 2nd edition is excellent and highly readable, especially good for those of you who will be wanting to gradually learn more about genetics and its applications over years to come – it is expensive ($129), but there are some rather unusual deals at or that you might try for, so I am only asking the bookstore to order a few copies. Also, I have seen excellent deals (some under $20) for the first (2000) edition (also very good, I am sure – the authors are tops in the field as both educators and scientists)

Some suggested small-group research topics:

Genetically modified foods: goals and concerns – potential benefits and problems

Forensic applications of genetics – uses and concerns

Environmental causes of mutations

Genetic bases of current antibiotic resistance problems

Managing potential abuses of human genetic information

iRNA and gene regulation – in nature and by design

Handout Week 3

Handout Week 7

Genetics Final Reports 2005

Final Presentation/Email List

Syllabus - Genetics - draft as of Jan 4, 2005 -

This will be finalized in conjunction with the class, reflecting their particular needs and interests, and will include both student and faculty presentations.


Topics and Activities


In Hartwell unless otherwise specified.

Week 1

General discussion of backgrounds, interests, goals and potential applications; bring in news articles related to things you would like to discuss over the quarter

The conceptual and molecular basis of genetics – from phage, plant and human perspectives – I will hand out illustrated notes and go over interactive sites of interest.

2nd ed. 1-33
1st ed. 1-6;
Epilogue: 814-820

Week 2

How genes work: overview of DNA replication, information storage, mutation and recombination, and the PCR reaction that is used so much for identifying particular genetic material.


2nd ed. 155-188; 191-203; 227-228; 300-301

Week 3

pg. 155-188, 191-203, 227-228, 300-301

Week 4

Lab: the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and related technologies; discussion sessions while PCR is running. --Results!!
Turn In "Integration Paper"

Hartwell; Ch. 9 –"Deconstructing the Genome: DNA at High Resolution – pg. 277-315 as well as 371-387 (part of chapter 11), and 398-406 (again chapter 11).

Week 5

Gene expression
Genetic engineering: basic techniques and controversies

Hartwell; pg. 208-221, on using T4 phage to understand the basic properties of the genetic material.
Pgs. 237-272 Gene Expression
Watson: 73-85

Week 6

Somatic genetics and cancer.
Integration Paper 2 Due.

Hartwell; Chapter 18. Pgs 617-646 and 581-605
Watson Cancer Chapter

Week 7

Analyzing the genome
We will also discuss Chapter 11 readings assigned Week 4

Gene Cloning: pgs. 285-297 &
Reconstructing the Genome pgs. 321-366 (ch. 10)

Week 8

Integration Paper Due
Genetics Evolution and Embryology

Genetics Evolution and Embryology: Pgs: 707-735

Week 9

Snacks - ??
Plant Breeding
Diabetes & Genetics
Birth Defects
Lyme Disease

Final Presentation/Email List | Genetics Final Reports 2005


Week 10

Snacks- Take, Debbie
Conservation Genetics
High School Curriculum
Regulatory Proteins

Final Presentation/Email List | Genetics Final Reports 2005

GMO Reading in Watson: Ch. 6; pgs 135 - 163

Conservation Genetics Reading in Hartwell: pgs 677-683, genetic drift pgs 687-688



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