Biology 122 Molecular Genetics

Tues Fri, 1:40 -3:00 PM Rosenstiel 118

Prerequisite: BIBC22a (Genetics and Molecular Biology) or its equivalent.

Prof. Susan Lovett Rosenstiel 337 x6-2497

Prof. James Haber Rosenstiel 302 x6-2462

Office hours: by appointment

If you are a student with a documented disability on record at Brandeis University and wish to have a reasonable accommodation made for you in this class, please see us immediately.

This course will explore the molecular mechanisms that contribute to genetic stability and genetic change. Historical or current research literature will be reviewed to provide a grounding in modern molecular genetics.

As there is no textbook for this course, class attendance and participation in classroom discussion is especially important. Introductory genetics textbooks may come in useful for background information (I'll place background material on reserve from time to time in the Science library.) Class time will consist of two parts: an introductory lecture to the topic and discussion of an assigned research paper pertinent to the topic. Students are expected to read the paper prior to class and come to class with questions they may have regarding the paper. we may offer a few study questions to guide our discussion.

There will be two exams, a midterm in-class exam and a final exam. Both will be open book/open notes exams and will emphasize research literature. In addition, several problems or short writing exercises will be assigned throughout the semester (assignments 1-9). The assignments are designed to encourage mastery of genetic fundamentals and to prepare for the examinations. Assignments will be handed out on Friday class and due the following Tuesday. The completed assignments should be the result of the student's independent work.


T Jan. 14


Fundamentals of modern genetic analysis
Conditional, synthetic and noncomplementing mutations, dominance/recessiveness
Ordering of pathways, epistasis

F Jan. 17


Fundamentals of genetic analysis II
suppression, defining interacting proteins

T Jan. 21


The origin of mutations
Replication errors, depurination/ deamination, chemical adducts


Lecture 3-5 Notes               Powerpoint

F Jan. 24


Mutation avoidance mechanisms: mismatch repair .Bacterial mismatch repair; microsatellite instability in yeast and colon cancer

T Jan. 28


DNA repair
NER in bacteria, yeast and humans; XP; TFIIH and coupled repair

Assignment 2 due                  Answers to assignment 2

F Jan. 31


Transposable elements,
mechanism of transposition
                     Powerpoint transposition

T Feb. 4


Transposons and genomic instability, transposons as genetic tools

Assignment 3 due                  Answers to assignment 3

F Feb. 7


Retrotransposons and retroelements

T Feb. 11


Genomic instability and repetitive DNA

repetitive DNA lecture notes

F Feb. 14


Genetics in the genomics age

T Feb. 18


Assignment 4 due       Answers to assignment 4

No class SNOW

F Feb. 21


Assignement 5 due

Genomic structure: chromosome segregation
CEN, ARS, TEL lecture notes  powerpoint

T Feb. 25


Site specific recombination
Phase variation
Phage lambda integration and excision
Site specific recombination as a genetic tool

lecture notes

F Feb. 28


Study list 1, study list 2

In class exam: open book/notes, covers material through 2/21

Mar. 3-7


Midterm recess, no class

T Mar. 11         


Homologous recombination in bacteria
Recombination hotspots, Chi sites and RecBCD

lecture notes

F Mar. 14


Recombination in bacteria II
Heteroduplex DNA

T Mar. 18


Basic fungal genetics
Tetrad analysis. Centromere linkage. Linkage.

lecture notes

Assignment 6 due

F Mar. 21


Mechanisms of homologous recombination in eukaryotes
Gene conversion and PMS

Holliday, Meselson-Radding models of recombination

lecture notes                     Powerpoint

T Mar. 25


Mechanisms of homologous recombination in eukaryotes II 
RAD genes in yeast (and higher cells)

F Mar. 28


Meiotic chromosome segregation: the recombination connection
Meiotic non-disjunction. Zip, Msh4/5
Distributive pairing

Lecture notes                        Powerpoint

T Apr. 1


Double strand break repair, telomeres


F Apr. 4


Gene targeting and gene manipulation

T Apr. 8


Hypermutation and immunoglobulin rearrangements


F Apr. 11


Guest lecture Piali Sengupta

T Apr.15


No class, Brandeis Monday

W Apr. 16


Brandeis Friday, Class canceled

Apr. 17-24


Passover/spring recess, no class

F Apr. 25


Study day, no class

T Apr. 29


Imprinting, X-inactivation

M May 5
6:00 PM-9:00 PM


Final exam: open book/notes(block N)