Genomics: Modern Genetics, Bioinformatics, and the Human Genome Project

Fall, 2008    L. F. Appel

Genetics has provided a foundation for modern biology. We will explore the classical genetics and go on to consider how genomics has transformed this field. This course is intended to introduce students to the fields of genetics and genomics, which encompass modern molecular genetics, bioinformatics, and the structure, function, and evolution of genomes. We will discuss important new areas of research that have emerged from the genome projects, such as epigenetics, polymorphisms, transgenics, systems biology, stem cell research, and disease mapping. We will also discuss bioethical issues that now face us in this new postgenome era.




To understand the development, applications, and extensions of Mendelian genetics, from pea plants through human gene mapping and genomics.  
To review molecular techniques for gene analysis, and be able to apply them on single gene and genome-wide levels.  
To be able to read and analyze papers in the field.
To be able to use available software for genome analysis.
To have an understanding of systems biology and emergent properties.  
To be able to put genetic breakthroughs into an ethical context.

Class meetings:


MW  2:40 - 4:00

201 Shanklin




Laurel F. Appel, 101 Hall-Atwater, 685-3258 lappel@wes

Office Hours:


Monday 11:00-12:00 and Wednesday 1:10-2:00, and by appointment.

CA Sessions:


Sam Schilit will hold office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in (or around) study room 88 in the basement of SciLi.



Hartwell, L., et al., GENETICS: FROM GENES TO GENOMES, 3rd edition, 2008, ancillary material, handouts, journal articles, and web readings.



Evaluation will be based on:

5 problem sets (10%)

3 in-class labs (15%)

4 journal articles (summary/discussion) (20%)

mid-term and final (25% each)

class participation (5%)

Other policies:


This will be a participatory course.  Students will be expected to prepare and present sections of material, especially in the second half of the course. Regular attendance is therefore necessary, as well highly correlated with success in the course.

Students are encouraged to work together, but then write up and submit their own work, except in cases where e-labs are done and submitted as a group. e-problem sets from the textbook will be graded as full credit/no credit, but the copy of the results e-mailed to the professor will allow me to gauge your understanding. 

Extensions may be requested in advance when needed; unexcused late assignments will not be accepted without a note from the health center or Dean.


Copyright 2008, Laurel F. Appel. Version C.