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Jack R. Girton, Chair, Genetics Major Committee
Genetics is the scientific study of heredity. Understanding the basis of heredity is fundamental to all aspects of the life sciences, from the most basic molecular study to applied studies of agricultural species. At Iowa State University the study of the life sciences is interdepartmental, involving faculty in the basic, agricultural, and veterinary sciences. Faculty in 20 different departments are involved in genetics research. This large group of faculty presents a broad range of possibilities for students to learn from faculty who are at the forefront of research in many areas of genetics.
Undergraduate study in genetics is jointly administered by the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology, the Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. Undergraduate degrees are offered through both the College of Agriculture and the College of Liberal Arts and Science. Programs of study for genetics majors leading to a BA or a BS degree are available. A minor in genetics is also offered for students majoring in several areas of the life sciences.
Training in genetics may lead to employment in teaching, research, or a variety of health-related professions. Although some students find employment directly after their baccalaureate training, many students continue their education in graduate or professional programs. Students with the BS or BA degree may find employment in the biotechnology, health, or food industries. Recent graduates have also developed careers in conservation biology, technical writing, science journalism, technical sales, business, and genetic counseling.
The required course work and associated electives provide students with the foundation in basic life sciences, mathematics, chemistry, and physics that is essential for professions involving modern biological/biomedical sciences. As part of these courses students develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, writing, research-related activities in the biological sciences. The respective communications and English proficiency requirements of both colleges are met by an average of C or better in Engl 104, 105 or 105H, and an additional English writing course. The lowest grade acceptable in any of these courses is C-. Students in the College of Agriculture must also achieve a C or better in an oral communications course.
A grade of C- or better is required in all biological science courses within the major and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 is required for graduation.
Specific entrance requirements for medical and health-related professions are established by the professional schools. Students interested in fulfilling pre-professional requirements for such professions as dentistry, human medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physicians assistant, and veterinary medicine can major in genetics while fulfilling the pre-professional requirements. (See Preprofessional Study.)
Graduate study in genetics leading to the Master of Science and doctor of philosophy degrees is offered at ISU. Graduate study is organized as a separate interdepartmental graduate major from the undergraduate program. For more information on graduate study in genetics see: Genetics - Interdisciplinary.
Curriculum in Genetics
In addition to basic degree requirements listed in the Curricula in Agriculture or in Liberal Arts and Sciences, genetics majors must satisfy the following requirements:
1. Biol 211, 211L, 212, 212L, 313, 313L, 314, 314L, 315, and Micro 302.
The minor in genetics may be earned by completing Biol 313, 313L, 314, 314L, Gen 410, 411 and 491. A Genetics major may not double major or minor in Biology.
Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: 410, 411, 462, 495.
Courses primarily for undergraduate students
Gen 298. Cooperative Education. Cr. R. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of department cooperative education coordinator; sophomore classification. Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing each work period.
Gen 313. Principles of Genetics. (Same as Biol 313.) See Biology. Credit for graduation will not be allowed for more than one of the following: 260, 313 and 313L, 320, Biol 313 and 313L and Agron 320.
Gen 313L. Principles of Genetics Laboratory. (Same as Biol 313L.) See Biology.
Gen 320. Genetics, Agriculture and Biotechnology. (Same as Agron 320.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Biol 212. Transmission genetics with an emphasis on applications in agriculture, the structure and expression of the gene, how genes behave in populations and how recombinant DNA technology can be used to improve agriculture. Credit for graduation will not be allowed for more than one of the following: 260, 301, 320, Biol 313 and 313L and Agron 320.
Gen 340. Human Genetics. (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2006. Prereq: Biol 313 or Gen 313. Fundamental concepts and current issues of human genetics. Human chromosome analysis, pedigree analysis, gene mapping, the human genome project, sex determination, genetics of the immune system, genetics of cancer, gene therapy, the genetic basis of human diversity, eugenics.
Gen 398. Cooperative Education. Cr. R. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of department cooperative education coordinator; junior classification. Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing each work period.
Gen 411. Molecular Genetics. (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Biol 314. The principles of molecular genetics: gene structure and function at the molecular level, including regulation of gene expression, genetic rearrangement, and the organization of genetic information in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nonmajor graduate credit.
Gen 462. Evolutionary Genetics. (Same as Biol 462, Dual-listed with EEOB 562.) (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Biol 315. The genetic basis of evolutionary processes in higher organisms. The role of genetic variation in adaptation, natural selection, adaptive processes, and the influence of random processes on evolutionary change. Nonmajor graduate credit.
Gen 490. Independent Study. Cr. arr. Prereq: 313, junior or senior classification, permission of instructor. Students in the College of Agriculture may use no more than 6 credits of Gen 490 toward the total of 128 credits required for graduation; students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may use no more than 9 credits of Gen 490 toward graduation.
Gen 491. Undergraduate Seminar. (1-0) Cr. 1. F. Prereq: Junior classification. The investigation of current issues in genetics. Graduate school and employment opportunities discussed. Practice in resume writing and interview techniques. Required for majors in genetics.
Gen 495. Molecular Biology for Computational Scientists. (Same as BCB 495.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Dobbs. Survey of molecular cell biology and molecular genetics for non-biologists, especially those interested in bioinformatics/computational biology. Basic cell structure and function; principles of molecular genetics; biosynthesis, structure, and function of DNA, RNA, and proteins; regulation of gene expression; selected topics. Provides biological background for BCB/ Com S/Math 594. Credit for graduation will not be allowed for more than one of the following: Gen 411 and 495. Nonmajor graduate credit.
Gen 498. Cooperative Education. Cr. R. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of department cooperative education coordinator; senior classification. Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing each work period.