Molecular and Cell Biology 90A, Section 3

Evolution: Creatures, Not Creation (1 unit, LG)

Professor Jeremy Thorner
Friday 12:00-1:00, 174 Koshland Hall, Class number: 66879

The advent of molecular biology, recombinant DNA methodology, and the capacity to obtain and computationally analyze the complete nucleotide sequence of any genome (from a bacterium to a human) has confirmed the close relationships among all organisms at the genetic and biochemical level, and has confirmed the major tenets of the theory of evolution that were based on the fossil record and other more circumstantial and empirical evidence derived from field observations of existing populations. This course will discuss the unique physical and chemical properties of both water and carbon, and other molecules and elements on which the life forms on our planet are based; the principles of the scientific method and its application to our observations of the natural world; how the term "theory" is applied in science; and the forces that influence organismal survival, adaptation and speciation. Readings may range from Charles Darwin to Steven Jay Gould to James D. Watson.

Instructor Bio

Jeremy Thorner is a Professor in the Division of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. He has been a faculty member at UC Berkeley since July 1974. His current research addresses the mechanisms by which cells respond to and decode changes in their extracellular environment and induce the appropriate changes in metabolism, gene expression, growth, and proliferation rate, and cell shape that allow a cell to cope properly with the changed circumstances.

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This course is designed to be taken for a letter grade. Students who elect to take this seminar should enroll under the letter grade option.