Genetics and Evolution

Course #212

Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sept. 22-Oct. 18

Times: 10 am to Noon

Location: Mercer Library

Cost: $48 or $43 if registered before September 8

Objectives:  Through a study of the process of molecular replication and the components of living cells and their functions, the student will be able to understand and discuss the process of evolution.

Requirements:  A previous exposure to the concepts of elemental biology will be helpful but not necessary.

Course Description:   A short review of cell biology with emphasis on the processes of cell duplication and differentiation.  Use of the concepts of genetics in a discussion of evolution.

Course Duration and Structure:  The course will meet 8 times for two hours each over a period of four weeks.  Classes will consist of varying amounts of lecture, lab and discussion.Course Structure

Day 1 – The basic structure of plant and animal cells

We will learn about cell components and their functions

  • Membranes
  • Mitochondria
  • Chlorophyll
  • Golgi Apparatus and other components
  • Discussion and questions

Day 2 – The Cell Nucleus

  • RNA. The first replicator and its role in cell differentiation and function
  • DNA cell duplication and reproduction
  • Discussion and questions

Day 3 – Cell Division

  • Process
  • Problems – genetic mutation
  • Genetic diseases
  • Stem cells
  • Discussion and questions

Day 4 – The Science of Genetics – A short history

  • Mendel’s peas to Watson and Crick’s double helix
  • Discussion and questions

Day 5 – Genetics Lab/Workshop

  • Prediction of traits
  • Dominant and Recessive Genes
  • The math and probability of inheritance

Day 6 – Application of Genetic Science

  • Selective Breeding
  • Bio-Engineering
  • The human genome project
  • Discussion and questions

Day 7 – The “Theory” of Evolution of Species

  • Darwin and other thinkers
  • What is a species?
  • The purpose? of evolution.
  • Discussion and questions

Day 8 – Current day application of genetics and the on-going process of evolution

  • The danger of antibiotic overuse
  • Who’s evolving
  • Politics, religion and evolution
  • Discussion and questions


Richard Thiede is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a BS major in biology and chemistry.  Post graduate studies at SMU and in a PhD program at the University of Colorado emphasized cell function at the molecular level.  He was a graduate assistant instructor at SMU, a teacher of biology, chemistry and physics at The Mount Hermon School and at Greenfield High School in western Massachusetts.  He has also done graduate level studies at Dartmouth College (Computer science/Basic programming), Northeastern University (Drug Counselling) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Wisconsin History and Symbolic Logic).  Although later on his professional career was as a business owner and machine designer, he has remained interested in cell biology and discussion of evolutionary issues.