Course Proposal for Honors Course,
Wonderful Life - Genes and Evolution
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Name: Frank Deis, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
and Lenore Neigeborn, Division of Life Science,
Office of Undergrad. Instruction
Campus Address: both in Nelson Labs, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway NJ 08854.
Campus Phone: Deis, 445-2814 and Neigeborn 445-6633
Fax: Deis 445-4213 and Neigeborn 445-5870
email: deis@rci, neigeborn@biology

Semester in which you wish to teach: Spring 2001
Title of Proposed Course: Wonderful Life -- Genes and Evolution

Describe briefly the major focus and content of your proposed course:

Deis portion:

Life appears to have originated on Earth nearly 4.5 billion years ago, when the oceans boiled and the atmosphere had no oxygen. The changing conditions on our planet have defined the parameters within which life has existed. An increase in oxygen from 2.5 billion to 500 million years ago eventually permitted "modern" animals to exist. Massive extinctions (esp. at the end of the Permian) have narrowed the spectrum of species on the planet. I will focus on the origin of life, early evolution, implications for life in extreme environments and possible life on Mars. Books by Stephen Jay Gould and Peter D. Ward among others will be assigned. Students with an appreciation of chemistry will understand the concepts in this part of the course better than those without, but the readings are intended to be non-technical.

Lifelinks -- related URL's.

Neigeborn portion:

Following the origin of life itself came a massive expansion of life forms of ever increasing diversity. This was achieved via the evolution of complex, yet flexible, genetic mechanisms. How did complex traits and behavior evolve and what are the realities of examining the genes of extinct species? This section will include specific discussion of genes, with readings designed for the layman, by Richard Dawkins and others.

Dr. Frank Deis studied Chemistry at Rice University and the University of Virginia and Medicinal Chemistry at MCV/VCU. He has taught Biochemistry at Rutgers since 1977.

Dr. Lenore Neigeborn studied Genetics and Development at Columbia University. Her research and publications focus on the regulation of gene expression and development in eukaryotes. Dr. Neigeborn teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Molecular Genetics and is the Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Instruction in the Division of Life Sciences and the Director of the Biological Sciences Advising Office.

WONDERFUL LIFE -- Genes and Evolution

Booklist from which course readings will be selected.

Controversies some of which will be addressed in the course.