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Pisum sativum, Yellow (Dominant) and Green (Recessive)

Principles of Genetics/R.S. Callow
Wilmslow Guild, 1 Bourne Street, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5HD
Fridays 13.30 - 15.30, ten weeks from 15th January 2010
Book through Wilmslow Guild: tel. 01625 523903; e-mail wilmslowguild@btconnect.com

Course Outline. Genetics is the discipline devoted to the investigation of heredity and variation. In less than one hundred and fifty years, it has transformed our understanding of the origin and continuity of life and enabled us to support human society: through improvements in agriculture, forensics and medicine. Principles of Genetics have been derived from four areas of enquiry: (i) patterns of inheritance, (ii) measures of resemblance, (iii) observations of chromosomal behaviour and (iv) molecular analysis of the organisation of the genetic code. We shall examine each of these areas in turn. Emphasis will be given to interpretation of evidence and inferences to be drawn from it. No previous knowledge will be assumed and there will be ample opportunity for discussion. Detailed course notes will be provided.

I.    Pattern and Process

  1.    Segregation of Mendel’s hereditary Factors
         Independent Assortment, Dominance, Epistacy and Linkage

  2.    Chromosomal Inheritance
         The Chromosome Theory, Wilson’s Theory of Chromosomal Sex Determination, Sex-linked Inheritance, Crossing Over

  3.    Measures of Resemblance
         Inheritance of metric characteristics, Experiments of Johannsen and East, Galton’s measure of resemblance between
         parents and their offspring, Fisher’s procedure accounting for the components of variability

  4.    Non-Mendelian Inheritance
         Semi-autonomous organelles, genes in chloroplasts and mitochondria, jumping genes

II.    Substance

  5.    Macromolecules
         Types of macromolecule and their significance, amino acids and the structure of proteins,
         nucleotides and the structure of nucleic acids, organisation and replication of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA),
         types of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA): their roles in reading the genetic code and managing the synthesis of proteins

  6.    Genetic Code
         Deciphering the genetic code, Transciption: making the messenger, Translation: making proteins,
         Transposons: mobile interruptions

  7.    Chromosomal Structure and Exchange
         Chromosomal architecture, nuclear cycles and their role in regulating the transmission and expression of genes,
         Barr bodies, mules and tortoiseshell cats, the mechanism of chromosomal exchange

  8.    Molecular Detectives
         Repetitive sequences and fingerprints, tracing DNA via the Polymerase Chain Reaction procedure (PCR),
         tests of paternity, DNA profiling and its reliability in Court

  9.    Molecular Medicine
         Mutation and pathology, chromosomal and molecular pre-natal diagnosis, the prognosis for prevention and treatment

10.   Genetic Engineering
       The universality of the genetic code, engineering techniques, genetically engineered food: from self-shearing sheep to
       naturally decaffeinated coffee