Human Genetics (Non-laboratory course)

I.     Course Prefix/Number: BIO 104

       Course Name: Human Genetics (Non-laboratory course)

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces basic genetic principles and applications in human populations.  Content includes the cell cycle; structure, function, mutation and transmission of the genetic material; role of genetics in health care and biotechnology; and ethical, psychological and social implications of gene-based medicine.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should understand and be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills to evaluate recent advances in genetics.
  2. Summarize the processes of DNA replication, transcription, and translation.
  3. Explain the effect of mutagens on gene expression, cells and individuals.
  4. Describe mechanisms for microevolution in a population.
  5. Identify and describe the stages of the cell cycle.
  6. Compare and contrast the stages and the genetic significance of mitosis and meiosis.
  7. Solve genetic crosses and interpret results.
  8. Analyze normal and abnormal human cytogenetic data, including karyotypes.
  9. Describe the genetic determination of sex.
  10. Explain non-mendelian inheritance including mitochondrial and multi-factorial genetics
  11. Analyze pedigrees to explain the mode of inheritance of a trait.
  12. Describe the role of genetics in the development and progression of cancer.
  13. Discuss the importance of genetics in risk assessment, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease
  14. Summarize the medical applications of genetic technologies in reproductive technologies.
  15. Evaluate contemporary issues in genetics, including ethical, legal and/or social implications.


By the completion of your biology courses at Oakton, you will have gained the experience to:

  1. Think critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.
  2. Communicate – communicate ideas, concepts, and information through written and oral means. Collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
  3. Demonstrate literacy – demonstrate the ability to read critically within content areas. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and communicate data, information, ideas, and concepts. Assess, critique, and select from a variety of information resources.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility – demonstrate an understanding of personal responsibility and ethical behavior in one’s own academic and civic life.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

The topics in bold indicate science topics related to society. In a given semester the following breakdown will take place:           

  1. Introduction to Genes
    Levels of Genetics
    Genes and the Environment
    Application of Genetics
    Introduction to Cells
    Cell Components
    Cell Division and Death
    Cell-Cell Interactions
    Stem Cells
    The Reproductive System
    Gamete Maturation
    Birth Defects
    Maturation and Aging

  2. Transmission Genetics
    Mendelian Inheritance
    Pedigree Analysis
    Exception to Mendelian Genetics
    Mitochondrial Genes
    Sexual Development and Determination
    Traits Inherited on Sex-Chromosomes
    Sex-limited and Sex-Influenced Traits
    X inactivation
    Genomic Imprinting
    Genes and the Environment Molding Traits
    Polygenic Traits
    Genome-Wide Association Studies

  3. DNA and chromosome structure
    DNA Structure and Replication
    Science History of the Discovery of Genetic Material
    Gene Expression and Regulation
    Processing a Protein
    Gene Mutation
    Gene Expression during Development
    Control of Gene Expression
    Non coding RNAs
    Gene Mutations
    Types and Causes of Mutations
    DNA repair and disorders associated with them
    Chromosomes structure
    Visualizing Chromosomes
    Abnormal Chromosome Number
    Abnormal Chromosome Structure

  4. Population Genetics
    Constant Allele frequencies in a population
    Changing Allele frequency in a population and evolution

  5. Genetics of Cancer
    Characteristics of Cancer Cells
    Origins of Cancer Cells
    Cancer Cells and MicroRNAs
    Genes contributing to cancer
    Environmental Causes of Cancer
    Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

  6. Genetic Technologies
    Patenting DNA
    Amplifying DNA
    Modifying DNA
    Silencing DNA
    Genetic Testing and Treatment
    Genetic Counseling
    Genetic Testing
    Treating Genetic Disease
    Reproductive Technologies
    Infertility and Subfertility
    Assisted Reproductive Technologies

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture material is presented in lecture-discussion format.  Students are expected to participate by asking questions, by responding to questions asked of them, and by performing problem-solving exercises.  Visual aids are often used.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

May vary depending on instructor, but may include:

  • mandatory attendance during lectures
  • active participation in class and satisfactory completion of written assignments
  • satisfactory performance in written lecture tests or quizzes

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Lewis, Human Genetics - Concepts and Applications, McGraw Hill, 2018, 12th ed. Or equivalent. Supplemental readings may be assigned by the instructor.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

May vary depending on instructor, and may include:

  • objective and/or essay lecture exams
  • written assignments or projects
  • lecture quizzes

XI.   Other Course Information

Additional course information may vary but may include:

  • information concerning group and/or individual reviews scheduled during class time or outside of class time
  • information concerning biology tutors
  • suggestions for success in class (i.e. careful note-taking by students)
  • use of study sheets to aid in preparation for lecture or laboratory exams

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.