DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the carrier of genetic information in each living cell, and eventually determines the potential of the cell. Recent advances in the understanding and the practical use of the ways in which the information contained in the DNA is expressed and can be specifically altered have revolutionized much of the biosciences. Applications are increasingly powerful and have given rise to the field of biotechnology. This discipline is evolving rapidly as exciting developments in this area follow each other in a rapid pace. The start of the century was marked by the announcement of the virtual completion of the important part of the human DNA sequence, years ahead of schedule, and hundreds of organisms now have a known genome sequence.
The applications of recombinant DNA technology are powerful and uses (and potential misuses) are many. However, this area is often perceived as complex and somewhat inaccessible. This course is designed to remedy this problem, and to provide information on the development and current status of DNA technology and its wide range of impacts on society. From this course, the student hopefully will be able to develop a balanced view of the various aspects of gene technology, as it affects society at many different levels (health care, forensics, agriculture, basic science, product development, etc.).
The aim of the course is that you understand the material so that you can work with it and apply it. Therefore, emphasis in quizzes and exams is on testing whether you understand the concepts and can use your knowledge. Labs are aimed at becoming proficient in some standard lab techniques, and at becoming familiar with procedures and content of scientific reporting. "Regurgitation" of memorized material is not expected; one forgets the memorized material within weeks after having finished the course, while concepts and working knowledge stick around much longer, and are far more useful in the long run. An important thing to stress with this course is that keeping up with the material is essential. As lectures and laboratory experiments build on what was covered earlier in the course, a student has a real good chance to get lost quickly if materials covered before are not thoroughly understood. To help you in the process of keeping up with the material, attendance at lectures and your assigned lab section is mandatory. If you have a valid excuse for missing a lecture or lab, please notify Dr. Mason or Dr. Gaxiola by Email or phone beforehand, and for laboratories suggest arrangements how you can catch up that same week (e.g., by participating in another lab section that same week). Note that such one-time exceptions need to be granted beforehand. There are no make-up labs.
A few notes on “clickers”: Students are responsible for having them registered with their full name and ASU ID number, for bringing them to class each lecture, and for having them always in working order (remember the battery!). For help with clickers, please go to the einstruction.com website or call their toll-free number.
The lecture portion of this course consists of four modules, each of which is concluded with a quiz. Quizzes are cumulative and are designed to have you use the material you have learned, but now in a different context. A final exam is given as well, at the time shown in the Schedule of Classes. Quizzes and the final exam are open-book and consist of essay questions. Any written materials may be used that you can bring with you without being in the way of your neighbors but the use of electronic devices (laptops, blackberries, etc.) is not allowed.
The quizzes and the final exam will focus on your comprehensive grasp of the material rather than on factual trivia.
The laboratory portion of the course is designed to get practical experience in basic techniques and applications in molecular biology and genetic engineering, including DNA isolation, transformation, DNA amplification, construction of recombinant DNA, gel electrophoresis, etc. Moreover, the laboratory experience serves to aid in the understanding of the materials covered in lectures. In addition to the laboratory work, students are expected to write laboratory reports.
The course satisfies the General Studies Literacy and Critical Inquiry (L) requirement. A minimum of six "L" course semester hours are required on a Program of Study. The tests and laboratory reports are writing-intensive, and will help the student to learn to organize ideas logically and coherently. For help achieving your maximum writing potential, the Writing Center ((480) 965-4272; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.asu.edu/duas/wcenter/; UASB 140) has resources and tutors available.
Your final grade is determined by your average score on the quizzes (Qav), your grade in the laboratory section (Lab), your in-class performance as evidenced by your "clicker" response to questions (C), and by your score on the final exam (F). Qav contributes 40% to the final grade, F 20%, Lab 30%, and C 10%. The grade for C is a combination of "being there" and actually providing the right answer.
Over the past years, on average the following correlation between scores and grades has existed for the MBB 343/BIO 343 course (the average grade has been about a B):
|86 -100 %||A|
|71 - 85 %||B|
|56 - 70 %||C|
|35 - 55 %||D|
This does not mean that exactly the same grading scale will be used this year (it depends on how easy or how hard the quizzes and exam turn out to be), but it gives you a good indication of what to expect.
Cheating, plagiarism, and academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course. Note that also the use of another student’s clicker is considered cheating. Please be aware of the University policies that allow sanctions ranging from reduction in grade to expulsion from the University without expectation of readmission.
ASU's Student Academic Integrity Policy
Student Code of Conduct and Sanctions
http://www.abor.asu.edu/1%5Fthe%5Fregents/policymanual/chap5/chapter_v.htm#5-303, http://www.abor.asu.edu/1%5Fthe%5Fregents/policymanual/chap5/chapter_v.htm#5-308 and http://www.abor.asu.edu/1%5Fthe%5Fregents/policymanual/chap5/chapter_v.htm#5-304
Instructors | Aims
Lecture Part: Schedule | Expected Background & Textbook Info | Historical Perspective
Intro to Biotechnology | DNA, RNA and Protein Synthesis | Chemical Synthesis, Sequencing, and Amplification of DNA |
Directed Mutagenesis and Protein Engineering | Vaccines | Antibiotics & Proteins | Bioremediation |
Microbial Insecticides | Plant Genetic Engineering: Methodology | Plant Genetic Engineering: Applications | Transgenic Animals
Human Molecular Genetics | Regulatory & Ethical Aspects | Biotech Inventions | Additional Materials
Lab Part: Aims and Expectations | Schedule
Center for Bioenergy & Photosynthesis
Arizona State University
Room PSD 209
Tempe, AZ 85287-1604
22 September 2008
phone: (480) 965-1963
fax: (480) 965-2747