Course description

Course objectives

Course syllabus

Course Description and Policies

We will begin with discussions of the process of science and continue with fundamental concepts, including biological molecules, organelles, characteristics and origins of species, classical and molecular genetics. Our main theme for the remaining course content is "consequences of gene expression." Presentations by actual researchers in areas of current interest will include essential background information, key historical and current research, and may include the social, political, and/or economic impact of the area. Past topics have included advances in basic science, biotechnology, human health, agriculture, the environment, and many more. Each presentation will include current and/or past scientific investigation or engineering strategies and will suggest resources for further pursuit of the subject.

Course coordinator

Dr. David Caprette, ABL 327 (Anderson Biological Laboratories, third floor), 713-348-3498,, office hours 11 am to 1 pm M, Tu, and Th, or by appointment. Please notify Dr. Caprette of any problem concerning attendance, grading, or course materials.


Students are expected to attend class ON TIME and participate in discussions and in-class activities. Up to two missed classes will be excused regardless of the reason. Students who arrive late and accumulate 40 minutes of missed class time will be recorded as missing one class. To be excused for more than two missed classes a student must have a legitimate excuse (illness or death in the family) for all missed classes and provide written documentation to support the excuse. We cannot give credit for in-class activities that are mssed because a student is late for class.


Speaker presentations, links to videos, homework assignments, links to reference materials, etc. will be posted under Resources. Some speaker presentations will be unavailable until after the corresponding class meeting. Students are welcome to use any additional resources to help them understand the concepts.


There will be no exams in this course. The course grade will be based upon homework assignments (60%), in-class activities (30%), and "Solid Gold," a case study in genetics (10%). Homework assignments and the "Solid Gold" case study are presented under Tests & Quizzes.

Honor code specifics

Students must work individually on assignments posted in Tests & Quizzes, with no assistance from other students unless otherwise noted. All assignments are otherwise "open resource," meaning that students may have access to their notes, posted resources and other reference materials while working on an assignment.

Students with disabilities

Any student with a documented disability needing adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with the course coordinator during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Such students should also contact Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.



Created by David R. Caprette (, Rice University 23 Feb 2012
Updated 13 Aug 12