BISC 413, Advanced Genetics Laboratory

Section 010

Tuesdays, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

019 McKinly Hall

Instructor: John McDonald
322 Wolf Hall (office)
Phone: 831-2007 (I rarely check messages, so e-mail is better)
Class web page:


This schedule has links to the instructions for each day's lab. I'll post the instructions shortly before each lab, so don't print them out ahead of time.

Date Day Activity
Aug. 30 Tuesday Collect bees, bagworms, webworms, and freshwater isopods
Sept. 6 Tuesday Allozyme project pre-proposal due
Sept. 8? Thursday? Katie and two classmates: field trip to Delaware shore, leave Newark at 5 p.m.
Sept. 13 Tuesday  
Sept. 18 Sunday Rachel, Morgan, Pete, and a couple classmates: field trip to Delaware shore, leave Newark at 9 a.m.
Sept. 20 Tuesday Allozyme project proposal due
Sept. 27 Tuesday  
Oct. 4 Tuesday  
Oct. 11 Tuesday  
Oct. 18 Tuesday  
Oct. 25 Tuesday  
Nov. 1 Tuesday Cats!
Nov. 8 Tuesday Election Day: no class
Nov. 15 Tuesday  
Nov. 22 Tuesday Thanksgiving break: no class
Nov. 29 Tuesday Report on cat project due
Dec. 6 Tuesday Allozyme paper due;
Presentations: meet in 306 Wolf

Overall plan

Each of you will complete one large project and one small project. The large project will involve surveying allozyme variation in natural populations of an invertebrate or plant. I will assign you one species that is easy to collect and easy to identify. With the assistance of your classmates, you will collect samples from multiple locations and look for variation in allele frequency. You'll spent most of the lab time in September collecting your organisms, then in October and November you'll run gels to observe genetic variation.

You'll also do a second, smaller project in November on cat coat genetics.

Office hours

There are no fixed office hours. You can make an appointment by talking to me before or after class, or by e-mailing me.

Lab manual

We will not use a printed lab manual this fall. I will give you individual instructions for collecting your organisms, and I'll give you a printed manual on running starch gels.


You will not be penalized for absences, but you must make up the work you miss. If you know in advance that you will miss a lab, please talk to me so we may make arrangements for you to do the work at another time. If you have an unplanned absence, please e-mail me as soon as you can so we may make arrangements.


Your grade will be based on the following:

The grades will not be curved. There are no extra credit projects. The points from the assignments will be combined and converted to letter grades as follows:

A 93-100; A- 90-92.9; B+ 87-89.9; B 83-86.9; B- 80-82.9; C+ 77-79.9; C 73-76.9; C- 70-72.9; D+ 67-69.9; D 63-66.9; D- 60-62.9; F 0-59.9.

Students who are less than 3 points below the minimum grade needed for their program (such as an undergraduate biology major with 67 to 69.9 points) will be given the opportunity to take an incomplete grade and complete an extra credit project. This project will be a lot of work, such as writing a 15-page term paper on a topic of my choice. Upon satisfactory completion of the project, you'll get the minimum grade needed for your program (such as C- for undergraduate biology majors). There will be no other extra credit.

Return to John McDonald's home page

This page was last revised November 20, 2016. Its URL is