Biology 17: The Biology of Food

Semester: Fall

Offered: 2015

This non-science-majors course (click on course title for a recent syllabus) presents major themes in biology by examining the nature of food and the ways in which humans modify, and have been modified by the organisms we eat.  The first part of the course concerns the chemistry, structure, and physiology of plants and animals, and provides a brief introduction to human nutrition. The second part presents fundamental concepts in genetics and evolution as illustrated by the origin and genetic modification of domesticated organisms. Finally, we will consider how food is produced, and the place of agriculture in the global economy. Lectures will be supplemented by demonstrations, laboratory exercises, field trips, and movies. Students will work in small groups on a library- or activity-based project, which they will present to the class.

Related materials

Biology 540/CAMB 541: Genetic Analysis

Semester: Spring
Offered: 2015

This course describes the logic and practice of genetic analysis, i.e., the use of mutations for the analysis of gene function (click on course title for a recent syllabus). The course is divided in two parts.  The first part provides a general overview of the logic and methodology of genetic analysis.  The second part introduces several widely used experimental systems—Zea mays (corn), Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), Caenorhabditis elegans (nematode), Mus musculus(mouse)–and how genetic analysis has been used to study various processes in these organisms. Each case study highlights a different aspect of genetic analysis.  The course is appropriate for graduate students and undergraduates and who have had an introductory course in genetics and molecular biology.