- Areas of Study
- About A&S
- Faculty & Staff
- Cultural Initiatives
- Research Initiatives
- Biology Major
- Molecular and Integrative Biology
- Pre-Health Sci. Emphasis
- Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
- Teacher Certification
- Minor in Biology
- Jay Boulanger
- Jeffrey Carmichael
- Brian Darby
- Diane Darland
- Tristan Darland
- Susan Ellis-Felege
- Chris Felege
- Steve Kelsch
- Peter Meberg
- Robert Newman
- Igor Ovtchinnikov
- Turk Rhen
- Isaac Schlosser
- William Sheridan
- Rebecca Simmons
- Vasyl Tkach
- Jefferson Vaughan
- Kathryn Yurkonis
University of North Dakota
Forensic Biology (BIOL 320)
Spring semesters, 3 credits
The objective of this course is to introduce the students to Forensic Biology, its history, methods and the application of biological evidence to a court. The ultimate goal of forensic biology is to prove the link between perpetrators and biological evidence found at crimes scenes. The concept of biological evidence, its basic types, as well as the key concepts of molecular and population genetics and their application in forensics methods of its collection and characterization are considered. The class focuses on human identification using the serological, biochemical, and genetic methods. Students intensively study
- Various forensic DNA markers including the CODIS STRs (short tandem repeats), mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), and minisatellites (variable number of tandem repeats)
- Interpretations of DNA profiles in crime-scene investigations
- New methods of forensic genomics based on the analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes
- Wildlife forensics
The course includes lectures as well as student in-class presentations, discussions of criminal cases, and the statistical evaluation of biological evidence and population databases.
This is one of the courses that the American Academy of Forensic Sciences recommends for forensic scientists and DNA analysts.
INTRODUCTION TO THE FORENSIC SCIENCES (ANTH 120)
Fall semesters, 3 credits
This course introduces students to science principles and the manner in which those principles are applied within various fields of the forensic sciences. Students who complete this course will be able to
- Provide definitions of science and forensic science
- Define several fields of the forensic sciences in terms of the types of evidence processed and typical procedures conducted in the forensic lab
- To become familiar with some of the techniques used by forensic scientists to collect and examine evidence recovered from crime scenes
- To understand the importance of physical and biological evidence and the role it plays in the determination of the guilt or innocence of an individual
- Identify and describe the impact of forensic scientists to their fields
GENETICS (BIOL 315)
This course is designed for undergraduates majoring in biology, including general biology, pre-health science, and fisheries and wildlife biology majors. The class is also suited to students in related disciplines like biochemistry, chemistry, forensic science, nursing, and psychology. The first half of the class is focused on the foundations of Mendelian and molecular genetics. In the second half, these concepts are expanded to more advanced topics. Advances in genetics and genomics touch upon virtually every aspect of our lives from our own health (i.e., birth defects, genetic diseases, and cancer) to the food we eat and the medicines we take (i.e., agriculture and biotechnology) to the environment we live in (i.e., wildlife and conservation biology).
HUMAN MEDICAL and POPULATION GENETICS
(BIOL 499 / BIOL 590)
The genetic diversity of human populations as well as differences between individual genomes form the basis of medical and forensic genetics. In this interdisciplinary course students consider the basic laws and concepts of population genetics and their specific applications to our understanding of genetic diseases, phenotypic traits and individual identity. The course includes lectures as well as computer lab sessions and exercises, student in-class presentations and discussions of research articles. Students also perform computer analysis of human genetic diversity and make inferences about the evolutionary processes in human populations.
Molecular Biology Techniques (BIOL 410)
Spring semesters (on alternate years), 4 credits
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Molecular biology techniques are used in many fields, ranging from basic biological research to forensic identifications. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), one of the basic techniques is routinely used for determining personal identities from crime and accident scenes, checking for pathogens, evaluating evolutionary relatedness of species, and measuring genetic variation and levels of gene expression.
Students will gain skills needed for working in genetics, forensic, animal and plant biology laboratories that utilize molecular biology technology. They will learn:
- What the techniques are used for and how they work
- How to perform basic, common techniques of molecular biology
- How to plan experiments including time and materials management
- How to prepare proper lab documentation (writing properly in lab notebook)
How students will learn this:
- Classroom lectures, assigned readings and exercises on the biology and theories behind the techniques
- Hands-on performance of many basic molecular biology techniques
- Lab preparation, such as making solutions and determining when experiments will be performed (in other lab courses this is typically done by teaching assistants)
- Maintenance of a laboratory notebook
Course format: This class meets formally on Mondays and Wednesdays. Lectures and reading assignments are given on Mondays (2:00 - 2:50 pm). Lab assignments, demonstrations, and quizzes are given on Wednesdays (2:00 – 2:50 pm). The laboratory (Starcher Hall 227) is open to work on assignments Monday through Thursday afternoons (noon-5pm). Although lab hours are flexible, you must complete your lab work during those times. Expect to spend 4-8 hours per week in the lab in addition to the two hours in class. Each lab assignment has to be completed within two weeks from the day when it was given.
The laboratory projects include three modules:
I. DNA isolation from own buccal swabs, polymerase chain reaction of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) section, amplicon purification, agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing reaction, separation of DNA sequencing products in a DNA analyzer, bioinformatics of human mtDNA and determining of the evolutionary origin of own mtDNA lineage
II. Molecular cloning and subcloning including transformation of bacterial cells, plasmid purification, DNA gel purification, making recombinant plasmids, blue and white colony screening, restriction digest
III. RNA isolation and quality check, reverse transcription, cDNA synthesis, tissue differentiation by the detection of genes with tissue-specific expression, real-time PCR
University of Connecticut, Storrs
ANTHROPOLOGICAL GENETICS (ANTH 305, section 20)
Molecular genetics, bioinformatics, ancient biomolecules, forensic genetics, and cytogenetics are considered together with evidence from physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics to address human-ape evolutionary relations, modern human origins, and recent human population histories and dispersals.
- Genetics and the Making of Homo sapiens
- The Neanderthal Genome Project
- Genetics of Pacific Islanders: Was Thor Heyerdahl right?
- Genetics of Plant and Animal Domestication
- ...and many other fascinating things.
Class sessions consist of a lecture by the Professor (1h 15 min), followed by a seminar session (1h 15 min). Each student participates fully during each seminar.
HUMAN GENETICS (MCB 200)
Conceptually the course is divided into three parts: molecular genetics, classical genetics, and human genetics. Two 50-minute lectures each week introduce the key concepts and facilitate understanding of the basic terms. One discussion section per week is used to review the material covered in the lectures.
HISTORY OF GENETICS (MCB 396, Section 049)
This interdisciplinary course explores the origins and development of the major concepts in genetics from Mendel and Darwin to the whole-genome technologies. A role of different scientific approaches, technologies, and model organisms in our understanding and transformation of the core genetic concepts is examined. The basic attention is directed to the review of the primary and most important secondary sources.
SEQUENCING MITOCHONDRIAL DNA (MCB 327, Section 5)
The three day course includes the necessary techniques to isolate, amplify, sequence human mitochondrial DNA and introduces students to the comparative analysis of human mitochondrial genomes. The course is essential for students specializing in forensic, ancient, population, and medical genetics.