Fall 2020 - BISC 357 D100

Genetic Engineering (4)

Class Number: 1308

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 202, MBB 222, and MBB 231, all with a grade of C- or better. Recommended: MBB 331.



Techniques in gene cloning and the evaluation of gene function are introduced in lectures and practiced in labs. Lab exercises include genomic DNA, RNA, and plasmid purification; PCR; various cloning techniques; and construction of novel genes. Students are introduced to additional techniques in lectures including gene editing, and genome sequencing. Students with credit for MBB 308 may not take this course for further credit.


The skills we will cover are useful for students who are considering an academic career in disciplines ranging from medicine to ecology. We will discuss nucleic acids isolation, and determination of quality and quantity of the DNA or RNA isolate. We will also focus on methods such as PCR, DNA sequencing, site-directed mutagenesis, and gene knock down or overexpression/misexpression. We will cover traditional cloning via restriction enzyme digest and ligation, as well as alternative methods such as Gateway and SLIC cloning approaches. Students will do multiple bioinformatics assignments aimed at careful primer or oligo design for particular types of constructs and approaches.


  • Worksheets based on lab simulations and other exercises done during the “lab time” 20%
  • Weekly canvas quizzes that cover both lab and lecture material. 20%
  • Bioinformatics exercises 20%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 20%


NOTE: the course is still under development and the grading and evaluation approach is subject to change. The course will include both synchronous and asynchronous components.



No lab supplies are required but the lab simulations require that you have access to a laptop or desktop computer. Here are the technical specifications from the manufacturers of the simulations:

Simulations can only be used on laptop or desktop-based computers, which meet the following requirements:

· Processor: Dual core 2 GHz or higher

· Memory: 4 GB or more

· Graphic card: Intel HD 3000 / GeForce 6800 GT / Radeon X700 or higher

· OS: Latest version of Windows (64-bit) or Mac OS or ChromeOS · Supported browsers: Latest version of Firefox and Chrome

· A stable internet Connection


iPad/Phone/Tablets not yet supported


Lecture Material 

Provided on-line material and links (videos demonstrating techniques, for instance)

Lab Simulations 


Links are provided for on-line material

Sections from recommended text: Genetic Engineering, by Rastogi, S. and Pathak, N. Oxford University Press 2009, ISBN: 9780195696578

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).