Online High School


Genetics Course Outline

  • To review basic biology genetics fundamentals.
  • To develop students’ knowledge of more complex genetic inheritance patterns.
  • To help students recognize and understand the use of a variety of scientific tools for manipulation of DNA (terms and techniques).
  • To enable students to read about genetically modified organisms and DNA testing and write about it in a way that reflects intelligent and thoughtful analysis.
  • To provide a wide range of learning opportunities, including worksheets, labs, tests, and essays, in order for students of varying ability levels to be successful.
  • To learn what is currently being utilized in the realm of genetics and glimpse what future advances may be possible.


  • The student will review the fundamentals of basic genetics.
  • The student will be able to predict the outcome of both simple and more complex genetic crosses using Punnett Squares.
  • The student will explore how mutations in DNA can lead to changes in proteins for favorable or less favorable outcomes in offspring.
  • The student will learn and write about current uses of biotechnology including the formation of their own data-supported opinions.

Course Outline

The course is divided into 8 chapters and is designed as a semester elective. Basic concepts from biology will be reviewed and built upon. This course covers topics such as inheritance, manipulating DNA, and genetic engineering. A short description of the content of each chapter is summarized below.

  • Introduction
  • Course Description
  • Understanding Plagiarism
  • Units and Assessments
  • MLA Formatting and Documentation
  • MLA Citations and Sources
  • Setting the Pace

This chapter covers some basic history of the field of genetics, variation in offspring caused by dominant and recessive alleles, probability, and the use of Punnett Squares to predict outcomes of genetic crosses.

  • How does biological information pass from parents to offspring?
  • Who was Gregor Mendel, and why was he important to the field of genetics?
  • What are Mendel’s Laws of genetics?
  • What types of observed inheritance patterns are caused by dominant and recessive inheritance?
  • How can Punnett Squares be used to predict the probability of an outcome?
    • 2.1 Gregor Mendel
    • 2.2 Mendel’s Experiments
    • 2.3 Using Punnett Squares and Probability
    • 2.4 Multiple Alleles and Two-Factor Crosses
    • 2.5 Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance
    • 2.6 Intermediate Phenotypes

This chapter covers information about genetic testing, sex-linked traits, environmental influences on gene expression, aneuploidy, and gene mapping using linked genes.

  • What information can be obtained using a karyotype?
  • How can predictions of outcomes be obtained for sex-linked genes?
  • How can the environment influence gene expression?
  • How can chromosomes be mapped using linked genes?
    • 3.1 Karyotypes
    • 3.2 Sex-Linked Traits
    • 3.3 Environmental Influences on Gene Expression
    • 3.4 Gene Mapping

This chapter covers the structure of DNA, how it is copied (DNA replication), and the different types of mistakes (mutations) that can occur during this process. Since genetics is based on the genes stored in the DNA of an organism, it is important to understand how that DNA is put together.

  • How was the structure of DNA discovered?
  • How is DNA constructed?
  • How is DNA copied?
  • What mistakes can occur during DNA replication?
    • 4.1 Discovering the Structure of DNA
    • 4.2 The Structure of DNA
    • 4.3 DNA Replication
    • 4.4 Chromosomal Mutations

This chapter covers some of the different types of disorders that can be passed on genetically from parents to offspring that are generally not visible on a karyotype. These are small changes in a gene or section of a chromosome which may have big impacts on the organism.

  • What is the difference between a sex-linked and a sex-influenced genetic trait?
  • How can a pedigree help predict the outcome of a cross or the source of a
  • genetic problem in a family?
  • What are some common genetic disorders that affect humans?
    • 5.1 Pedigrees
    • 5.2 Sex-Linked and Sex-Influenced Disorders
    • 5.3 Autosomal Dominant Disorders
    • 5.4 Autosomal Recessive Disorders

This chapter covers biotechnology, the tools and techniques used to manipulate DNA. This will include making copies of DNA using PCR, separating DNA fragments by size using gel electrophoresis, and the uses for these processes.

  • If a sample of DNA is very small, how can it be amplified (copied) to enlarge the sample size?
  • How does the process of DNA gel electrophoresis work?
  • What are some applications of the technology of DNA manipulation?
    • 6.1 Amplification of DNA
    • 6.2 Cutting DNA
    • 6.3 Separating DNA Fragments
    • 6.4 DNA Gel Electrophoresis Applications

This chapter describes how DNA is actually decoded and used by the cell.  Gene mutations, different from the chromosomal mutations discussed in chapter 4, are examined, including what effects they can have on an organism.

  • If proteins are made in the cytoplasm of a cell and the DNA is in the nucleus, how is the information transmitted to the ribosomes in the cytoplasm?
  • Once the ribosomes have the information, how are proteins assembled?
  • What are some causes of mutations in the DNA of an organism?
  • What are the different types of mutations, and what effects do they have on an organism?
    • 7.1 Transcription
    • 7.2 Translation
    • 7.3 Gene Mutations

This chapter discusses the process and uses of genetic engineering. Scientists can clone cells (make identical copies) and change the genes in cells.  They can even put genes from different species into cells. Why would scientists want to do this?  What gains could be made from these changes?  What are the ethical considerations involved in changing the genetic makeup of an organism?

  • What are some ways that genetic engineering has been used to modify organisms for the benefit of humanity?
  • How and why do scientists manipulate DNA in living organisms?
  • Why are some people opposed to genetic engineering?
  • What is gene therapy?
    • 8.1 Microbiology – Industry and Medicine
    • 8.2 Biotechnology in Agriculture
    • 8.3 Environmental Protection
    • 8.4 Medical Applications
    • 8.5 Computer Analysis of DNA Sequence Data