Genetics: A Molecular Perspective

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9780130085306: Genetics: A Molecular Perspective

This book is unique in that it takes a molecular first approach. It starts with DNA and moves through the genetic expression at the molecular level before turning to the more traditional Mendelian and Neomendelian transmission genetics. This book emphasizes what the reader should come to understand, not simply memorize. In addition to topics traditionally covered in genetics, this book provides cutting edge information on Bioinformatics and Proteomics, as well as a chapter on advanced topics in Molecular Genetics.

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About the Author:

William S. Klug is currently Professor of Biology at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) in Ewing, New Jersey. He served as Chairman of the Biology Department for 17 years, a position to which he was first elected in 1974. He received his B.A. degree in Biology from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to coming to Trenton State College, he returned to Wabash College as an Assistant Professor, where he first taught genetics as well as general biology and electron microscopy. His research interests have involved ultrastructural and molecular genetic studies of oogenesis in Drosophila. He has taught the genetics course as well as the senior capstone seminar course in human and molecular genetics to undergraduate Biology majors for each of the last 33 years. He was the recent recipient of the first annual teaching award given at The College of New Jersey as the faculty member who most challenges students to meet high standards.

Michael R. Cummings is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has also served on the faculty at Northwestern University and Florida State University. He received his B.A. from St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He has also written textbooks in human genetics and general biology for non-majors. His research interests center on the molecular organization and physical mapping of human acrocentric chromosomes. At the undergraduate level, he teaches courses in Mendelian genetics, human genetics, and general biology for non-majors. He has received numerous teaching awards given by the university and by student organizations.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Genetics: A Molecular Perspective is the newest addition to the series of textbooks designed to provide support to students as they study one of the most fascinating scientific disciplines. This book is designed specifically for courses that begin with DNA as the focal point, and where a solid foundation in molecular genetics is provided before proceeding with coverage of the more traditional areas of classical heredity.

Certainly no subject area has had a more sustained impact than Genetics on shaping our knowledge of the living condition. As a result of discoveries over the past 50 years, we now understand with reasonable clarity the underlying genetic mechanisms that explain how organisms develop into and then function as adults. We also better understand the basis of biological diversity and have greater insight into the evolutionary process.

As we edge into the new millennium, discoveries in this discipline continue to be numerous and profound. As geneticists and students of genetics, the thrill of being part of this era must be balanced by a strong sense of responsibility and careful attention to the many related issues that will undoubtedly arise. The formulation of proper laws and policies will depend on a comprehensive knowledge of genetics and measured responses to these issues. As a result, there has never been a higher premium or greater need for a useful and up-to-date genetics textbook.

In addition to the "DNA-first" approach taken, the first edition of Genetics: A Molecular Perspective, as with other texts in the series, has been designed to achieve six major goals. Specifically, we seek to:

  • Emphasize concepts rather than excessive detail.
  • Write clearly and directly to students in order to provide understandable explanations of complex, analytical topics.
  • Establish a careful organization within and between chapters.
  • Maintain constant emphasis on scientific analysis as the means to illustrate how we know what we know.
  • Propagate the rich history of genetics that so beautifully illustrates how information is acquired and extended within the discipline as it develops and grows.
  • Create inviting, engaging, and pedagogically useful full-color figures enhanced by equally helpful photographs to support concept development.

These goals serve as the cornerstones of this new text. This pedagogic foundation allows the book to accommodate courses with varied approaches and lecture formats. While we assume that adopters of this text will initiate coverage by emphasizing DNA and molecular genetic expression, all chapters in the text are nevertheless written to be as independent of one another as possible. This allows instructors to utilize them in various sequences once the molecular foundation of genetics is firmly established. We believe that the varied approaches embodied in the goals listed above together provide students with optimal support for their study of genetics.

Writing a textbook that achieves these goals has been a labor of love for us. The creation of the initial edition of this text is a reflection not only of our passion for teaching genetics, but the constructive feedback and encouragement provided over the past two decades from adopters, reviewers, and our students.

Features of this Text

  • Online Media Tutorials—Students are guided in their understanding of important concepts by working through what are simply the best animations, tutorial exercises, and self-assessment tools available.
  • A Unique Organization—We provide a chapter sequence designed to immediately establish the importance of genetic function at the molecular level. Then, classical heredity is presented beginning with a consideration of mitosis and meiosis followed by extensive coverage of the findings of Gregor Mendel. Once solid coverage of transmission genetics is completed, we then return to the most recent findings embodied in the study of DNA biotechnology and genomic analysis. The book concludes with modern coverage of several advanced topics in eukaryotic genetics (gene regulation, development, and cancer) as well as a thorough consideration of genes and populations.
  • Cutting Edge Topics—Beyond the up-to-date coverage of molecular genetics early in the text, the chapter Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Proteomics (Chapter 17) provides students with the most recent concepts and tools necessary to understand the information explosion occurring in these cutting-edge fields. The sister chapter, Applications and Ethics of Genetic Technology (Chapter 18) contains important coverage of how the era of Genomics impacts on society. Unique to this text is Chapter 23—Chromosome Genetics: Immunoglobulins, Isochores and Chromatid Dynamics, where these advanced topics are presented. Finally, another addition to this series of texts is the chapter entitled Conservation Genetics (Chapter 27). This presentation represents the first coverage of this emerging discipline in any genetics textbook. The role of molecular biology in conservation is discussed.
  • Modern Presentation of Topics—In addition to the cutting edge topics discussed above, modern coverage is particularly evident in the discussions of recombinant DNA technology (Chapter 16), as well as in the coverage of the organization of repetitive DNA sequences in the human genome (Chapter 4), the TRAP protein that functions during regulation of the trptophan operon (Chapter 19), and the role of genetics in the origin of cancer (Chapter 22). Coverage of conservation genetics, and in particular, the genetic assessment of diversity in endangered species (Chapter 27), is also at the forefront of genetic studies.
  • A New Art Program—The design of an entirely new art program will be evident to past users of the alternative edition, Concepts of Genetics. To all users, the pedagogic value of the well-designed and beautifully executed figures will become apparent, and constitutes one of the cornerstones of this new text.
  • Excellent Photographs—A large number of photographs beautifully illustrate and enhance this textbook. Whenever possible, organisms that are subjects of genetic analysis are shown. Often, photographs are present as part of presentations in important figures, e.g., Taylor, Woods, and Hughes autoradiograms showing replication in Vicia faba, (Figure 3-5), the electron micrographs directly capturing transcription of rDNA in Notophthalmus and transcription and translation in E. coli (Figure 5-15), etc.
  • Section Numbers—All major section titles are numbered making it easy for instructors to assign topics and for students to find topics within chapters.
  • Modern "Genetics, Technology, and Society" Essays—Short essays that link genetics and society accompany most chapters. The most modern topics pursued include consideration of stem cells, the genetic identification of anthrax strains, the attempts to create HIV vaccines, and emerging societal issues surrounding human-sex selection. These are in addition to essays that consider genetically modified foods, completion of the Human Genome Project, and endangered species—the Florida panther, among many others. These may be assigned even if they are not part of the formal lecture coverage.
  • Extensive Problems to Solve—There are many entries in the "Problems and Discussion Questions" at the end of each chapter from which instructors may choose as student assignments are determined. These problems are written at various levels of difficulty, with those that are most challenging found in the "Extra Spicy Problems" sections. Students also can gain insights into different analytical approaches illustrated in each chapter by utilizing the "Insights and Solutions" section at the conclusion of each chapter (see below).

Emphasis on Concepts

Genetics: A Molecular Perspective emphasizes the conceptual framework of genetics. Our experience with this approach shows that students more easily comprehend and take with them to succeeding courses the most important ideas in genetics as well as an analytic view of biological problems. To aid students in identifying conceptual aspects of a major topic, each chapter begins with a section called "Key Concepts," which outlines the most important ideas about to be presented. Then, each chapter ends with a "Chapter Summary," which enumerates the five to ten key points that have been covered. These two features help to ensure that students focus on concepts and are not distracted by the many, albeit important, details of genetics. Specific examples and carefully designed figures support this approach throughout the book.

Problem Solving and Insights and Solutions

In order to optimize the opportunities for student growth in the important areas of problem solving and analytical thinking, each chapter concludes with an extensive collection of "Problems and Discussion Questions." These represent various levels of difficulty, with the most challenging problems located at the end of each section (the Extra Spicy entries). Brief answers to half the problems are in Appendix C. The Student Handbook is available when faculty wish to expose their students to detailed discussions and answers to all problems and questions.

As an aid to students in their development of analytical thinking skills, the Problems and Discussion Question section of each chapter is preceded by what has become an extremely popular and successful section called "Insights and Solutions." In this section we stress:

  • Problem solving
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Analytical thinking
  • Experimental rationale

Problems or questions are posed and detailed solutions or answers are provided. This feature primes students for moving on to the "Problems and Discussion Questions" section that concludes each chapter.

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Klug, William S., Cummings, Michael R.
Published by Benjamin Cummings (2002)
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William S. Klug, Michael R. Cummings
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