Principles of Human Genetics  (BIO446/591 and ASM446/546)

Fall 2008          This will be updated for fall 2009

Class Time:  Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-2:45PM      location:  LSE 250


 Dr. Brian Verrelli

 Life Sciences E, Room 315


 Dr. Anne Stone 

 Life Sciences E, Room 417   


Office hours:   or by appointment.

Course Description:   The study of human genetics is of relevance to people in a number of professions including: medical doctors, biomedical researchers, pharmaceutical developers, anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, psychologists, kinesiologists, law enforcement officials, bioethicists, lawyers, historians, among others. This course will examine human molecular genetics from an evolutionary perspective to examine basic principles of human genetics, methods of analysis, the current debates about the origin and history of humans, the Human Genome Project, natural selection and adaptation, genetic disease, and ethical issues in society.

Course web site:  All information will be available through this site and  ASU Blackboard

Grading:  For undergraduate students, the final grade for the course will be based on two exams (50%) and four homework assignments consisting of problem sets or reading assignments (50%). For graduate students, the final grade for the course will be based on two exams (50%), four homework assignments (25%), and a research paper due at the end of the semester (25%). Extra credit will not be offered in this course. Qualified students with disabilities needing appropriate academic adjustments should contact us as soon as possible to ensure your needs are met in a timely manner. Handouts are available in alternative formats upon request.

Grades will be scaled in the following manner:

97-100% = A+                        84-86% = B                             60-69% = D

94-96% = A                            80-83% = B-                           below 60% = E

90-93% = A-                           77-79% = C+

87-89% = B+                          70-76% = C

Text:  Unless otherwise noted, we will use Jobling, Hurles, and Tyler-Smith (2004) Human Evolutionary Genetics, Garland Publ.

Extra Readings:  Additional readings for the course will be made available to the class two weeks in advance of their discussion.

Academic Dishonesty

In the “Student Academic Integrity Policy” manual, ASU defines “’Plagiarism” [as] using another's words, ideas, materials or work without properly acknowledging and documenting the source. Students are responsible for knowing the rules governing the use of another's work or materials and for acknowledging and documenting the source appropriately.”  You can find this definition at:

Academic dishonesty, including inappropriate collaboration, will not be tolerated. There are severe sanctions for cheating, plagiarizing and any other form of dishonesty.

Schedule: (this may be updated during the semester)

Week Dates Topics Readings Assignments
1 Aug 26 Why human evolutionary genetics? Chapter 1  
  28 General genetics background Chapter 2  
2 Sept 2 continued    
  4 Human genome diversity Chapter 3  
3 9 continued    
  11 GenBank database tools Chapter 4 Homework #1
4 16 Molecular methods and techniques    
  18 Evolutionary genetic forces Chapter 5 HW#1 DUE
5 23 continued    
  25 Genetic data analysis and inference Chapter 6  
6 30 continued    
  Oct 2     Homework #2
7 7 Molecular evolution and language  DISCUSSION: Enard et al. (2002) Nature 218: 869-872  
  9 Human-Chimp protein evolution  DISCUSSION: Clark et al. (2003) Science 302: 1960-1963  HW#2 DUE
8 14 Primate evolutionary history Chapter 7  
9 21 Exam #1    Exam #1
  23 Modern human origins  Chapter 8  
10 29 continued    
11 Nov 4 Human population diversity   Chapter 9  
  6 continued Chapters10-11  
12 11 Veteran's Day NO CLASS Homework #3
  13 Admixture Chapter 12  
13 18 Complex trait variation Chapter 13 HW#3 DUE 
  20 Genetic disease and adaptation Chapter 14  
14 25 continued   Homework #4
15 Dec 2 Ethics and society Sudbery Chapter 11  
  4 continued DISCUSSION: Bolnick et al (2007) and Time magazine article (see,8599,1825539,00.html) HW#4 DUE 
16 9 Forensics Chapter 15  
  Dec 16 Exam #2 Tuesday, 12:10-2:00 exam #2