Course Information


Name and numbers: Bio 344, Molecular Biology

Lecture meeting place and time: Varies

Overview: The purpose of this course is to provide a reasonably in-depth analysis of the fundamental knowledge and principles upon which molecular biology is based. This analysis will include discussions of key concepts, experiments, techniques, and some of the scientists involved, so that a realistic feel for the area can be gleaned. Mechanisms will be emphasized, since a mechanistic framework is necessary to understand how regulation is achieved, and how genes and organisms have evolved. The main topics will be: DNA replication, recombination, repair, and transcription; RNA processing and translation; genomics, genetic engineering, and retroviruses.

Course prerequisites: Bio 325 (Genetics) with a grade of at least C. You will also find it of considerable benefit if you have had Organic Chemistry and either Cell Biology or Biochemistry.

Course materials

Required Textbook: Molecular Biology, Robert F. Weaver, 4th edition., 2007, McGraw-Hill

            web site:

Course web site:

Class Attendance 

      Attendance at lecture and discussion sections is strongly encouraged, and will be taken and used to add bonus points to each exam. The bonus points will not exceed 5% of the allotted points for the exam (e.g., if exam = 100 possible points, bonus pts will be ≤ 5 pts). 

Class Conduct

      The main rule for any class is to “Be considerate of others, including the instructor”, which means being on time and not leaving in the middle of class unless absolutely necessary, avoiding unnecessary chatting or other distractive behavior (e.g., eating, reading the Texan), and not sleeping in class; if you have to sleep, go do it elsewhere.

Grading and exams

      The course grade will be based on 4 exams, with 3 given during lecture periods and a final comprehensive exam. The lowest score of the 3 lecture-period tests will be dropped. The final must be taken. The points breakdown are as follows:

            2 x 100 points for 2 of 3 lecture-period exams =    200 points    (57%)

            1 x 150 points for final exam =                               150 points    (43%)

                                                                                         350 points = 100%

      Grades will be assigned mainly as: A=88-100, B=77-87, C=65-76, D=50-64, F= < 50.

      If a lecture-period exam is missed, that exam automatically becomes the dropped score, and no excuse is needed. If you miss another exam, you must have a compelling reason and appropriate documentation (e.g., note from a physician, etc.) to receive consideration. Make-up exams will not be given.

Academic Integrity

    Ethical conduct is expected at all times, and anything less will be penalized.