GEN-30306 Genetic Analysis, Tools and Concepts (GATC)

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture12
Tutorial17
Practical77
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. AJM Debets
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. AJM Debets
prof. dr. JAGM de Visser
dr. ir. BA Pannebakker
Examiner(s)dr. ir. AJM Debets

Language of instruction:

English

Assumed knowledge on:

Knowledge of general genetics is required (GEN-11806 Fundamentals of Genetics and Molecular Biology). A special version of the course GEN-11806 can be attendded in period 1 (mornings).

Contents:

This advanced course deals with the use of a genetic approach, the application of genetic tools and concepts, to unravel and understand complex biological phenomena. The processes of evolution (natural selection, genetic recombination, mutation and transmission of genes), the structure and functioning of chromosomes and quantitative genetic traits in various prokaryotic and eukaryotic model organisms are studied. Several examples will be discussed on how a genetic approach is applied to analyse biological questions such as aging, adaptation, symbiosis, somatic incompatibility, genome organisation, homologous recombination, and epigenetic inheritance as a source of variation in phenotypes.
Genetic tools include genetic mapping techniques using (molecular) markers and QTLs, analysis of recombination, strategies for chromosome and genome analysis, and experimental approaches of evolutionary processes. Several techniques for the genetic analysis of biological functions will be illustrated in laboratory classes and computer based experiments. The course program also includes comparative genetics, cytogenetics and aspects of genetical genomics. The experiments in the laboratory not only instruct students how to deal with simple and powerful experiments for scrutinizing the genetics of microorganisms, they also teach the students how to work with microorganisms in a safe manner.
The course includes additional exercises focusing on solving genetic problems, and reading literature. Current genetic research will be illustrated by using recent papers. Students working in small groups are invited to prepare an oral presentation and discussion, focused on critically understanding these research papers.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe the relation between genes, chromosomes and DNA and the concept of genome structure;
- explain how heredity, evolution, and genetics are interrelated;
- apply common genetic, cytogenetic and molecular mapping technologies to localise genes, markers and quantitative traits on linkage maps, chromosomes;
- use simple computer programs to map genes, molecular markers and QTLs;
- analyse genetic processes which lead to evolutionary changes;
- critically evaluate and discuss current views on genetic mapping and recombination, evolution, adaptation, aging, and epigenetic inheritance;
- design and execute genetic experiments to answer relevant research questions.

Activities:

- lectures;
- tutorials and computer modules are the basis of the theoretical part of the course;
- students will practice the analysis of some genetic experiments by computer case studies;
- students will carry out several lab-experiments on (evolutionary) genetic analysis of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi);
At the end of each experiment students have to hand in a short report (generally less than 1 page) in which the main results are described and the significance explained. Literature discussions are included in the programme.

Examination:

- active participation/laboratory performance (10%);
- literature/experiment discussion (10%);
- final report (10%);
- written closed book test with open questions (70%).

Literature:

The theoretical background and a general overview of the background of the course is given in several chapters of the textbook of Griffiths (AJF Griffiths et al. An Introduction to Genetic Analysis, Freeman & Co, 10th ed.).
A specification of the theoretical and practical information is given in the guidelines of the course, which include references to the textbook, further readings, exercises and relevant websites. All lectures and lab class instructions include PowerPoint presentations, which are essential parts of the study material. These materials are uploaded on the MyPortal site of the course.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Compulsory for: BBIBiologyBScA: Cell and Molecular Biology6WD
BPWPlant SciencesBScA: Plant Genomics and Health1AF, 6WD
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScI: Plant Adaptation1AF, 6WD
MBTBiotechnologyMScA: Cellular/Molecular Biotechnology6WD
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScB: Biological Chemistry1AF, 6WD
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScA: Biomedical Research1AF, 6WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology1AF
MinorPeriod
Compulsory for: WUPBRBSc Minor Plant Breeding6WD
Restricted Optional for: WUPBTBSc Minor Plant Biotechnology1AF