College of Arts and Sciences

Division of Mathematics and Sciences

BIO 495: Topics in Biology-Understanding Biotechnology

 3 credit hours; Fall 2008

Lecture/Laboratory: Tuesday and Thursday 5:00 to 6:50 pm

Prerequisite: Genetics Bio 307 or consent of instructor

Instructor: Dr. Kirk W. Pomper at or 502-597-5942

Rationale and objectives:

 Biotechnology will have an increasingly profound impact on human health, agriculture, the environment, and society itself. This course will offer an introduction to the molecular tools used in biotechnology and discuss current trends in biotechnology. This course will be of interest to undergraduate and non-traditional students who wish to take an initial course in molecular biology and gain laboratory experience in molecular techniques. Lectures will focus on the tools of molecular biology (e.g., purification of nucleic acids, cutting and joining DNA, vectors, sequencing DNA, genomic and cDNA libraries, RFLPs, Southern Blots, and PCR), genetic engineering, cloning, gene therapy, the human genome project, molecular markers, forensic DNA, bioremediation, biodiversity, and bioterrorism. The laboratory portion of this class will offer students a “hands on” opportunity to learn the techniques of molecular biology used in biotechnology. Students will extract DNA from plant or fish species, set up and run PCR with mitochondrial and inter simple sequence repeat primers, and score the resulting markers on agarose gels. Students will also examine restriction mapping of a plasmid as well as other techniques. This course will help students achieve the following objectives:

 1. To become familiar with the methods of molecular biology used in biotechnology today. 

2. To understand basic biotechnology issues, such as genetically modified organisms for human consumption, the human genome project, and cloning that are already impacting our society.

3. To gain “hands on” experience with the methods of molecular biology used in biotechnology

 Evaluations: The evaluation of each student will be based on lecture exams and quizzes during the semester and comprehensive lecture and lab finals at the end of the semester. The point distribution will be:

Lecture exams during the semester      2 x 20% =  40%

Laboratory notebook                                                  25%

Lecture final                                                                25%

Quizzes, participation, and attendance                    10% 

Total                                                                          100%

Attendance of lectures and laboratories is extremely important, if a student has more than three unexcused absences; their course grade may be lowered by one letter grade. All exams must be taken as scheduled in the attached course calendar. All exam scores will be counted for determining the grade. No lecture or lab exam grades will be dropped. The grades will not be curved. The grading scale will be:

            90 - 100% = A

            80 - 89%   = B

            70 – 79%  = C

  60 – 69%  = D

            50 – 59%  = F

 Laboratory Record Book: Each student must maintain a laboratory record book. Use a bond laboratory note book. The lab record book should contain protocols and labeled drawings of the experiments performed. Such a record book will also prove to be very helpful while reviewing for the semester and final exams.

 Textbooks and other references:

Lecture texts: Biotechnology: An Introduction, by Susan R. Barnum, Publisher: Brooks Cole; 2edition (April 5, 2006) Language: English, ISBN-10: 0495112054

Lab text: Laboratory Notebook (see Bookstore and Handouts that will be provided)

Supplemental texts:

Understanding Biotechnology: An Integrated and Cyber-Based Approach by George Acquaah. Paperback: 432 pages Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1st ed edition (April 9, 2003) ISBN: 0130945005 From

Genes to Genomes: Concepts and Applications of DNA Technology by Jeremy W. Dale and Malcolm von Schantz. John Wiley & Sons; (October 4, 2002) ISBN: 0471497835

DNA Science: A first Course, second edition, by David A. Micklos, Greg A. Fryer, and David A. Crotty. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (2003). ISBN: 0879696362

Other information: Students are urged to attend all classes and be on time. The university attendance policy will be followed. Three tardies will count as one unexcused absence. Students may lose 1 point from the final total for each unexcused absence. Because of extenuating circumstances such as illness or death in the immediate family, or university functions which may arise during the semester, the instructor, when presented with an adequate and documented reason for the students being absent, will, if possible provide opportunities for make-up of course work or exam missed. Academic honesty will be expected of all students. Cheating and plagiarism will result in a score of zero on that particular test of assignment and thus lowering of grade in the course. Se the handout on COMMON POLICIES FOR BIOLOGY COURSES for more details of these policies. Any student who feels she or he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please contact the Disability Resource Center at (502) 507-5093 in room 420 Hathaway Hall to coordinate reasonable accommodations for the students with documented disabilities.




Lecture presentation





Introduction to Biotechnology and review of genetics       


 The Nature of Living Things:  The Central Dogma, DNA replication 

Overview of Laboratory Safety, Units of measure, Pipeting, preparation for experiments, Gel Electrophoreses

Chap. 1 and 2



Gene structure and expression

Purification of Nucleic Acids

Length of DNA molecules

Chap. 2 and supplemental reading



Recombinant DNA technology, cutting and joining DNA, vectors, endonuclease, vectors, Genomic and cDNA libraries

The influence of gel agarose concentration on DNA movement during electrophoresis

Chap. 3  and supplemental reading



Reporter genes

Sequencing DNA, RFLP, Protein methods

Restriction Nuclease Mapping of λ DNA

Chap. 3  and supplemental reading



Molecular markers, and DNA fingerprinting

Southern and Northern Blots. Biodiversity, PCR

Reporter Genes: Analysis of a Genome Segment

Chap. 3  and supplemental reading



Exam 1

Principals of Immunology

Reporter Genes: Analysis of a Genome Segment (cont.)




Microbial Biotechnology

Serum Proteins and the Western Press-Blot

Chap. 5



Plant Biotechnology  

Southern Blot Procedure

Chap. 6



Animal Biotechnology


Extraction of plant or fish DNA, quantification.

 Chap. 7



 Marine Biotechnology

Exam 2

PCR with RAPD primers

Chap. 8




PCR: with ISSR or mitochondrial primers.

Chap. 9



Medical Biotechnology

PCR with mitochondrial markers.

Chap. 10




PCR with mitochondrial markers.

Chap. 11



Forensics continued, Regulation, Patents, and Society


PCR with mitochondrial markers.

Chap. 12



How to write a letter of application for a job and create a CV.

Off on 11/27

Other PCR primers.




Review day





Final Exam (Dec 11, 10 am)






 Also see for more information on KSU Biotechnology!