BIOL 2341: Introduction to Genetics

In this introduction to a fascinating and controversial area of contemporary science, students are presented with basic terms, principles, and research methods used in the study of genetics. Students learn about the transmission, distribution, arrangement, and alteration of genetic information and how it functions and is maintained in populations.


  • Relate the structure and function of the DNA molecule to its functional role in encoding genetic material.
  • Apply the principles of inheritance as formulated by Mendel.
  • Apply the principles of extensions to Mendelian inheritance, including multiple allelism, lethal alleles, gene interactions, and sex-linked transmission.
  • Analyze genetic data using statistical procedures.
  • Describe normal chromosome number, structure, and behaviour in human cells, and understand the cause and effect of alterations in chromosome number and/or structure.
  • Understand how to identify and classify mutations in DNA.
  • Describe the basic aspects of the flow of genetic information from DNA to proteins.
  • Explain and make deductions about gene regulation with emphasis on the lac operon model.
  • Deduce the relationship between genetic, physical, and cytogenetic maps.
  • Illustrate how information generated by genome sequencing projects can be used to discover practical knowledge about gene expression and relationships between species.
  • Apply the Hardy-Weinberg Law in analyzing population genetics for gene frequency, sex linkage, equilibrium, and heterozygote frequency.

Course outline

Module 1: Structure and Biochemistry of DNA

  • Section 1.1: DNA - the Genetic Code
  • Section 1.2: Structure, Replication, and Manipulation of DNA
  • Section 1.3: Transcription and Translation

Module 2: Transmission Genetics

  • Section 2.1: Basic and Advanced Principles of Heredity
  • Section 2.2: The Chromosomal Basis of Heredity

Module 3: Linkage, Mapping, and Chromosomes

  • Section 3.1: Gene Linkage and Genetic Mapping
  • Section 3.2: Human Karyotypes and Chromosome Behaviour

Module 4: Prokaryotic Genetics

  • Section 4.1: The Genetics of Bacteria and Viruses
  • Section 4.2: Molecular Mechanisms of Prokaryotic Gene Regulation and RNA Interference in Eukaryotes

Module 5: Specialized Topics

  • Section 5.1: Genetic Engineering and Genomics
  • Section 5.2: Mechanisms of Mutation
  • Section 5.3: Cancer
  • Section 5.4: The Basics of Population Genetics

Required text and materials

Hartl, D L. Essential Genetics: A Genomics Perspective. 6th edition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2014.
Type: Textbook ISBN: 978-1-4496-8688-8


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Structure and Biochemistry of DNA 8%
Assignment 2: Transmission Genetics 10%
Assignment 3: Linkage, Mapping and Chromosomes 14%
Assignment 4: Prokaryotic Genetics & Gene Regulation 10%
Assignment 5: Specialized Topics 8%
Final Exam * 50%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at start of course.

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