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Honors Program
Course Description

Honors Program: A pathway to excellence.

HON 202/402 Genomics

We are currently in the midst of a scientific revolution in biology with more far reaching effects than any in the last century. In this course we will explore this revolution in detail, though it is still too early to predict many of the outcomes. Genomics is a field of biology that represents a fusion of mathematics and biology in which mathematical techniques are used to answer basic biological questions. Our goal in offering this course is for students to gain an understanding of how genomic data are gathered, how these data are analyzed, and also be able to critically evaluate media coverage of topics in genomics.

We will cover such topics as research methods used to accumulate genomic data, how to access the major genomic databases, how various nucleotide alignment algorithms work and how to use them. We will discuss the topics of functional and structural homology as it relates to the genome and learn how to use algorithms to establish homology. We will also cover the analysis of gene expression patterns from antibody staining techniques to whole genome expression patterns using gene chip technology.

We will place current developments in genomics in the context of the history of biology and mathematics. We will also explore whether current advances in genomics represent a scientific revolution as defined by Thomas Kuhn. We want students to be able to make connections between genomic data and the relevant biological questions. Given a biological question, a student should be able to access relevant data from genomic databases, analyze it using the appropriate method of analysis, and interpret the results in the context of the biological question.

HON 202/402 Experiencing Ireland is available for either lower or upper division credit.

Substitutions: Possible course substitutions (subject to departmental approval): ENG 339, 361, 454, ANTH/GEOG/POLS/PSY/SOC 200s, POLS/HIST 409

Instructors: Dr. Michael Morrow and Dr. Eric Dyreson

Time: Spring 2008, Block 6, 12-3pm

Prerequisite: ENGL 102

Carl Friedrich Gauss 1777-1855

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