In Biological Sciences .
The faculty members responsible for the subject matter of genetics, genomics and development believe that students who elect this concentration should consider themselves primarily biologists. Accordingly, students are urged to pursue a broad curriculum in the biological sciences while satisfying the requirements for the program area.
The Genetics, Genomics and Development concentration requires at least 13 credits chosen from a specific list of upper-level courses. Most of these courses beyond the introductory genetics course deal with current research in various aspects of genetics, genomics and development. In such courses there is usually no conventional textbook. Instead, students are expected to become familiar with the original literature dealing with the subjects under discussion. Often take-home rather than standard examinations are given so that students may exercise originality and ingenuity in answering a series of challenging questions for which there may be no single “correct” answer.
Students are encouraged to undertake independent study in a professor’s laboratory. There are a large number of laboratories on campus that perform research that relate to the concentration in Genetics, Genomics and Development. This activity affords an exposure to the disciplines of genetics, genomics and development beyond what is achieved in formal course offerings. Faculty research encompasses a broad spectrum of problems and experimental organisms. A brief overview of these interests include:
- Genetic studies in baker’s yeast, fruit flies, plants, mice, and other model organisms aimed at understanding cell cycle control, signal transduction, DNA replication, DNA repair, chromosome segregation, gene expression, and viral life cycles.
- Developmental and behavioral genetics in model organisms such as fruit flies, nematodes, plants, and mice.
- Population genetics and molecular evolution, functional and computational genomics, and genetics of complex traits in both model organisms and in humans.
Aside from their intrinsic appeal, the disciplines of genetics, genomics and developmental biology are an essential part of the background necessary to understand numerous aspects of other biological sciences. Thorough training in genetics, genomics and development is prerequisite to entering fields of applied genetics in agriculture and in health-related sciences. The need for understanding the underlying facts and principles of genetics, genomics and development is increasing as our society faces questions concerning genetics and human affairs.
Finally, since most of the faculty actively apply the latest cutting-edge technologies of recombinant DNA, next-generation DNA sequencing and genotyping, and high-throughput genomics techniques, students concentrating in Genetics, Genomics and Development are exposed to many aspects of these revolutionary methods.