Biology 231

Biology 231: Genetics, Evolution and Development

Prerequisite: BIOL 132

Credit Hours: (4) Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory

An introduction to the basic principles of genetics, microevolution, molecular biological techniques, and developmental biology.  Topics include classical Mendelian genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetic analysis, bioinformatics and genomics, Microevolution, phylogenetics analysis and plant and animal development.  Laboratory experiments and projects apply course concepts and scientific methodology to biological research questions.  This is the third course in a four-course core sequence intended for biology, medical technology, and other life sciences majors.  This core sequence serves as a foundation and prerequisite for further study in biology.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

    Meiosis and sexual reproduction

    Mendelian Inheritance


    DNA structure

    DNA Replication


    Gene Regulation

    Prokaryotic Genetics

    Genetic Linkage

    Recombinant DNA technology


    History of Evolutionary thought

    Evidence for evolution

    Micro Evolution


    Introduction to macroevolution

    Phylogenetics and classification

    Developmental Biology


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be taught in classroom and laboratory sessions.  Classroom instruction will be a combination of lecture, discussion, group work, team learning, and case studies as determined by the instructor, in coordination with the instructors for the other core courses.

The laboratory meetings will be coordinated with the other courses in the core sequence to provide the students with the skills to design experiments to test hypotheses, to troubleshoot experiments as they go along, and to report their results in the format of the biological literature.  This course will focus particularly on the following basic laboratory skills:

    -Data base searches and effective use of Boolean operators

    -Calculation of concentration

    -GEL electrophoresis

    -Statistical analysis of data

    -Sterile technique

    -Phylogenetic analysis of molecular data



Goals and Objectives of Course

Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

    ▪ Identify from provided data and solve problems involving simple Mendelian ratios (3:1, 1:2:1, 9:3:3:1, 9:3:4 etc.).

    ▪ Describe in both phenotypic and molecular terms dominance relationships of gene expression.

    ▪  Identify from graphics the various stages of meiosis.

    ▪ Describe the structure and function prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes.

    ▪ Describe distribution of sequences within the eukaryotic genome in terms of copy number (e.g., single copy, intermediate repetitive highly repetitive) and function.

    ▪ Explain the relationship between gene duplication and divergence of protein function.

    ▪ Describe molecular structure of nucleic acids and proteins.

    ▪ Describe the processes of DNA replication, transcription and translation.

    ▪ Correctly identify patterns of inheritance from pedigree analysis.

    ▪ Correctly apply simple probability theory to predict phenotypic traits in a given pedigree.

    ▪ Describe common chromosome and karyotype abnormalities of humans.

    ▪ Identify stage of meiosis where aneuploidy occurs.

    ▪ Apply simple statistical tests to the evaluation of genetic data.

    ▪ Explain mathematically how allele frequencies behave in populations under Hardy-Weinberg assumptions, natural selection and genetic drift.

    ▪ Interpret phylogenetic trees.

    ▪ Map character changes onto phylogenetic trees.

    ▪ Identify homology and homoplasy (convergence and reversals) given a phylogenetic hypothesis.

    ▪ Interconvert various computer file types.

    ▪ Upload and download files to and from servers.

    ▪ Search the databases at the National Center for Biological Information using Entrez.

    ▪ Describe early embryonic development in plants and animals.

    ▪ Explain the relationship between gene regulation and development.

    ▪ Pour and load horizontal electrophoretic gels.

    ▪ Accurately determine the molecular weight of proteins and nucleic acids via gel electrophoresis.

    ▪ Maintain bacterial cultures using sterile technique.


Assessment Measures

Methods of assessment will include:

    -Analysis of written examinations, quizzes, writing to learn and other writing assignments, practical laboratory examinations, and laboratory reports.  Some component of the laboratory assessment will test the student's ability to make measurements and use the equipment.  Assessment measures may also include evaluation of student presentations and graded homework, depending on the instructor.

    -Analysis of skills in comprehending, synthesizing, and articulating course content.

    -Analysis of students' skills in critical thinking.

The success of the course as an integrated unit within the four-course sequence will be assessed through feedback from instructors teaching the later courses and suggestions from instructors teaching the earlier course.  Pre- and post-testing will be used in the core courses to evaluate retention of concepts, information and skills.  Student writing will be compared between courses to assess improvement in reading and writing.


Other Course Information



Approval and Approval

New Course October 25, 2007

Revised    2/6/09    Gary Coté

April, 2011

Revised: March 20, 2012