Kendall M Gray
Molecular genetics: description of fundamental genetic processes such as mutation, repair, genetic exchange, recombination, and gene expression. Use of genetic strategies to analyze complex biological processes. Focuses on prokaryotic organisms. Prerequisite: BIOL 200; either CHEM 223, CHEM 237, or CHEM 335. Offered: W.
Microm 411 explores how the genetic analysis of bacteria and viruses can be used to study fundamental biological processes such as the nature and function of the genetic code, mutation and DNA repair, genetic exchange, recombination, and the regulation of gene expression. Lectures focus on the use of relatively simple genetic strategies to analyze complex biological processes, with a major emphasis on logical inference and problem solving. Laboratories allow students to apply the principles and reasoning skills learned in lecture toward the isolation and characterization of novel bacterial mutants.
Student learning goals
Students completing this course will learn not only the basic factual background of microbial genetics, but how those facts were experimentally determined and what scientific data actually supports them.
It is our hope that students will also learn the basics of experimental design, the analysis of new data, and basic skills of creative problem solving.
General method of instruction
Class meets for 2 hours of lecture three days per week (MWF), with one of those periods typically devoted to laboratory topics. The laboratory operates on an open format in which the lab room is available for use from 10:00-4:30 daily (MTuWThF) on a drop-in basis. Students work in pairs for the lab. At least one member of each pair is required to come in at some point each day to perform work on ongoing experiments. Laboratory work typically requires less than 30 minutes per day to complete, although some procedures may take longer.
Class assignments and grading
A single grade is given for both the lecture and laboratory combined. Grades are based on four lecture examinations and seven experimental write-ups (worksheets) from the laboratory exercises, as well as one laboratory skills test. Lecture exams are short answer format, with questions that require students to solve new problems through the application of principles covered in both lecture and lab.