Genetics Bio. 325W

Fall 2005
Lecture TTh 9:30-11 BUR 130 (attendance required, assigned seating)
Discussions: (attendance required)

T 11-12 RLM 7.112
T 1-2 BUR 232
T 2-3 BUR 232
Th 1-2 WEL 4.224
Th 2-3 WEL 3.226


Instructor: R.H. (Dick) Richardson, Professor TA:   Peg Wallace
Office: 114AA Bio Lab 114A Bio Lab
Telephone: 471-4128 471-4128
Office Hours: by appointment, email, phone as given in discussion



Textbook required for the course is Essential Genes by Benjamin Lewin. There will be handouts, most of which will be available for downloading from this web as pdf files.


You will need a student IF account for many services, such as certain off campus access to the computer network. If you do not have one already, follow the steps.

  • All students must have a University of Texas electronic mail account, available at no additional charge. (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc. are unreliable for communication required in this class. Use a recognizable version of your formal name, not a nickname.) The use of the World Wide Web (a.k.a. "the Web") and email is required for this class.
    • One of the uses for email is sharing questions and discussion of relevant topics throughout the class.
    • Also, important information about class changes may be posted there (as well as on the Announcement page of the class web).
    • Public computer terminals are available in in ESB 101  and PAI 1.32 and in the Undergraduate Library (Flawn Academic Center) SMF, or by modem and telephone (or broadband) connections from off-campus locations.
    • I will subscribe you to the class mailing list, which is called "supergenes." You may receive help from classmates (who receive credit for their effort) and you may also get credit for insightful and significant questions asked. If you do not have a UT email address, I will subscribe you using the one from the roster, but it should be replaced quickly as soon as possible when you get one on the UT system. Let me know asap.
    • Exam questions may be derived from posts and discussion on supergenes.
  • For writing assistance, you have access to the Writing Laboratory in the FAC, second floor.

Email is the most efficient way to communicate either with Peg Wallace, your TA, or me for help or in making an appointment. However, you may telephone (471-4128) or make an appointment if you prefer. You may also leave voice mail if I am not in the office when you call. For return calls, speak clearly and slowly when leaving your name and number


Attendance: (lecture and scheduled discussion sections) = 10% (1pt deducted from final grade per excess unexcused absence up to 10pts; you are allowed one unexcused absence without penalty. Attendance is taken in the first 5 minutes after the lecture or discussion session begins.)
Exams: average = 55% (2 exams during semester plus final, see Note below*)
Writing assignments = 25% (one revision is allowed for maximum of 3 assignments)
Homework = 10% final grade credit when complete at time due; loss of half credit when late or incomplete. (HW is handed in at time of first exam and second exam, or as discussed in class.)

*Note: There are no makeup exams or re-exams.
However, your total exam credit may be your final exam grade if it is higher than your exam average provided that --

  • you have no more than 4 unexcused class absences, and

  • your homework requirements are COMPLETE, and

  • you have no unexcused absences in discussion sections (makeups in another session during the same week is acceptable).

  • Seats will be assigned Sept. 6 and attendance records will begin this day. 

  • Homework assignments are found on the web at the end of each chapter supplement (linked from the Class Schedule).

  • Writing assignments will be found on the Class Schedule. Modifications will be announced on the Announcements page.

REQUIRED Procedures for Writing Assignments

You have extensive reading in the text and the supplemental materials (i) distributed in class or (ii) downloaded from this web site. These web materials and class handouts have the same weight as your text book reading. Lectures and class activities will cover only selected segments of this material. If you fall behind, it is difficult to catch up!  

  • Homework assignments must be written in a sewn lab book. (available at the University CoOp and elsewhere)

  • These notebooks are handed in twice during the semester, when you have an exam (or ASAP if you miss the exam). 

  • HW is checked to see that assignments are current and complete. Any assignments completed before the books are handed back may be taped into the proper place of your notebook before continuing, or you may recopy your work into the notebook.



  • read the chapters to be discussed in class and have questions written down (will be handed in at end of class as part of your homework grade),
  • read the related material on the Web Site for this course, and
  • read your email & Announcements on the evening before each class for updates and information that may apply to your questions and participation in class. (You are responsible for these.)

Bring your textbook to class.

While this class is not inherently difficult, it probably will require you to change some study and thought habits. It is common for reasonably well prepared non-science students to make A's and B's. Usually the grade distributions are about 70% A's and B's. There is no "curve" of the final grade because you earn your grade by individual effort and performance.
Maybe this will be the semester that every student earns and receives an A

The typical class performance is as follows:

Typical Grade Distribution

The ability to learn new concepts has been well studied, and has a shape much like the grade distributions above. I've added a few descriptions along the curve, below, which seems to describe most student's reactions.

Use of e-mail for the class e-conference ("Supergenes") and use of the Web:

In this class, you are encouraged to post questions, comments, and answers to Supergenes. Read the instructions. Be sure your name (recognizable for bonus credit) appears in the "From" line of your email. It is preferable that your email name also be recognizable as your real name.

You may ask questions, make comments, or "try" answers in a more "private" way directly to one another and to your TA and me. Even private messages are not absolutely "secure," so do not write anything on email that you consider truly confidential. There are certain conventions and netiquette that you will learn also. Always be polite; disrespect may get your name removed from the listserv. Mistakes will occur, so just correct them with a "follow-up" message, and don't fret about having made them.

Approximate Course Schedule, Fall '05Semester

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Maintained by Dick Richardson
Last updated 09/08/05