Print Version

Effective: Summer 2017

Advisory: Advisory: MATH 220 or equivalent; biology experience; demonstrated proficiency in English by placement as determined by score on the English placement test OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 25 & ESLL 249; not open to students with credit in BTEC 10.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Natural Sciences Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (84 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students can explain what biotechnology is, and how it influences medicine, agriculture, and daily life.
  • Students can apply the scientific method to study a question
Description -
Provides basic scientific knowledge fundamental to the field of biotechnology, including cell and molecular biology. Emerging topics in biotechnology, including genetic engineering, biofuels, genetic testing, evolution, and drug development. Regulatory, social, ethical questions and dilemmas will be discussed and debated. Intended for all students. Fulfills Foothill GE/Natural Sciences requirement.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Summarize major historical achievements and events in biotechnology,
  2. Identify the levels of biological organization and explain their relationships,
  3. State the Cell Theory and describe the structure and function of cells,
  4. Differentiate between prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells, and viruses and consider the importance of these differences in biotechnology,
  5. Describe the structure and function of DNA and explain the process by which it encodes for proteins.
  6. Define, identify, and evaluate products made using biotechnology,
  7. Discuss the scope and role of biotechnology in health care, agriculture, the environment, forensics, and the study of evolution
  8. Investigate application of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology,
  9. Discuss the benefits and implications of knowing the DNA sequences of humans and other organisms,
  10. Discuss and argue ethical considerations of current controversies in biotechnology,
  11. Describe how scientific methodologies are used to conduct experiments,
  12. Display experimental data by tabulating and graphing,
  13. Analyze experimental results and draw appropriate conclusions,
  14. Use basic and advanced laboratory skills to explore topics in biotechnology,
  15. Use library and internet skills to explore topics in biotechnology.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Fully equipped biotechnology laboratory, lecture room, computer facilities, internet, audio visual equipment.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Biotechnology Overview
    1. definitions
    2. history
  2. Biological Organization
    1. characteristics of life
    2. hierarchical levels of organization
      1. important elements and molecules
      2. biological macromolecules
  3. Cells
    1. Cell Theory
    2. prokaryotic cell structure
    3. eukaryotic cell structure
    4. virus structure
    5. model organisms in biotechnology
  4. Cell Structure Implications for Biotechnology
  5. Molecular Biology
    1. Central Dogma
    2. structure and function of DNA
    3. replication, transcription, translation
    4. structure and function of proteins
      1. enzymes
      2. antibodies
      3. structural proteins
    5. recombinant DNA
      1. isolation of DNA
      2. vectors
      3. transformation
      4. gene expression
    6. techniques
      1. genetic engineering
      2. PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
        1. process
        2. applications
      3. cloning
      4. DNA sequencing
      5. genome sequencing
        1. Human Genome Project
        2. other organisms
  6. Biotechnology Products
  7. Biotechnology Applications
    1. medical
    2. agricultural
    3. environmental
      1. biofuels
    4. forensics
    5. other, as appropriate
    6. biotechnology and the study of evolution
      1. evolution
        1. definitions
        2. examples
      2. bioinformatics
        1. applications
  8. Bioethics
    1. considerations
    2. current controversies
      1. cloning
      2. stem cells
      3. gene therapy
      4. genetic modifications
      5. privacy concerns
  9. The Scientific Method
    1. making observations
    2. asking questions
    3. forming hypotheses
    4. testing hypotheses
    5. experimental conditions
      1. independent variable
      2. dependent variable
      3. controls
      4. repeatability
    6. collecting and analyzing results
      1. methods of data display
    7. drawing conclusions
    8. scientific literature
      1. original research
      2. peer-review
      3. authorship
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Midterm exams comprised of objective and/or written sections and which require critical thinking and analysis of course readings
  2. Cumulative final exam
  3. Oral expression in discussions and/or presentations
  4. Written expression in evaluating course topics and which require integration of scientific principles with societal/personal views
  5. Inclusion of library and internet resources in written and oral work
  6. Laboratory computational assignments, graphing, notebook-keeping, and experimental design and analysis
Representative Text(s) -
Thieman, William J. and Michael A. Palladino. ,Introduction to Biotechnology. Pearson. 2012. ISBN: 978-0321766113

Disciplines -
Biological Sciences or Biotechnology
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations with individual and/or small group lecture activities
  2. Laboratory experiments using the techniques and methodologies of cell and molecular biology as appropriate for biotechnology
  3. Small group discussions on specific topics in biotechnology
Lab Content -
  1. Skills
    1. Apply the Scientific Method
      1. design an experiment to test an original hypothesis
      2. draw appropriate conclusions from experimental results
    2. Computational Skills
      1. calculations, including dilutions
      2. data representation
        1. tabular
        2. graphical
    3. Record Keeping
      1. laboratory notebooks
  2. Techniques and Instrumentation
    1. micropipetting
    2. centrifugation
    3. gel electrophoresis
    4. restriction digests
    5. spectrophotometry
    6. polymerase chain reaction
    7. enzyme assays
  3. Topics
    1. isolation and use of DNA
    2. isolation and use of proteins
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading Assignments
    1. weekly reading assignments from college-level text and outside sources
    2. suggested supplemental readings from articles relevant to course material
    3. suggested supplemental readings from web searches relevant to course material
    4. discussions based on reading assignments and which require knowledge and integration of course material
  2. Writing Assignments
    1. poster preparation for oral presentation on subject relevant to course material
    2. laboratory notebook containing experimental results analysis and interpretation, including sources of error or ambiguity