Course Description

Course Name

General Biology I

Session: VSOU1222

Hours & Credits

3 Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Course scope:

ISC105 General Biology I is designed to provide foundation knowledge for students majoring in biology. This course is also appropriate for physical science, health science, and engineering students who wish to learn the fundamentals of modern biology at the college level. Emphasis of this course is placed on biomolecules, cellular structure, and genetics.

Class attendance:

Class attendance is required.

1. The Chemical Context of Life

1.1 Matter consists of chemical elements in pure form and in combinations called compounds

1.2 An element’s properties depend on the structure of its atoms

1.3 The formation and function of molecules depend on chemical bonding between atoms

1.4 Chemical reactions make and break chemical bonds

2. Water and Life

2.1 Polar covalent bonds in water molecules result in hydrogen bonding

2.2 Four emergent properties of water contribute to Earth’s suitability for life

2.3 Acidic and basic conditions affect living organisms

3. Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life

3.1 Organic chemistry is the study of carbon compounds

3.2 Carbon atoms can form diverse molecules by bonding to four other atoms

3.3 A few chemical groups are key to molecular function

4. The Structure and Function of Large Biological Molecules

4.1 Macromolecules are polymers, built from monomers

4.2 Carbohydrates serve as fuel and building material

4.3 Lipids are a diverse group of hydrophobic molecules

4.4 Proteins include a diversity of structures, resulting in a wide range of functions

4.5 Nucleic acids store, transmit, and help express hereditary information

4.6 Genomics and proteomics have transformed biological inquiry and applications

5. A Tour of the Cell

5.1 Biologists use microscopes and biochemistry to study cells

5.2 Eukaryotic cells have internal membranes that compartmentalize their functions

5.3 The eukaryotic cell’s genetic instructions are housed in the nucleus and carried out by the ribosomes

5.4 The endomembrane system regulates protein traffic and performs metabolic functions

5.5 Mitochondria and chloroplasts change energy from one form to another

5.6 The cytoskeleton is a network of fibers that organizes structures and activities in the cell

5.7 Extracellular components and connections between cells help coordinate cellular activities

5.8 A cell is greater than the sum of its parts

6. Membrane Structure and Function

6.1 Cellular membranes are fluid mosaics of lipids and proteins

6.2 Membrane structure results in selective permeability

6.3 Passive transport is diffusion of a substance across a membrane with no energy investment

6.4 Active transport uses energy to move solutes against their gradients

6.5 Bulk transport across the plasma membrane occurs by exocytosis and endocytosis

7. An Introduction to Metabolism

7.1 An organism’s metabolism transforms matter and energy, subject to the laws of thermodynamics

7.2 The free-energy change of a reaction tells us whether or not the reaction occurs spontaneously

7.3 ATP powers cellular work by coupling exergonic reactions to endergonic reactions

7.4 Enzymes speed up metabolic reactions by lowering energy barriers

7.5 Regulation of enzyme activity helps control metabolism

8. Cellular Respiration and Fermentation

8.1 Catabolic pathways yield energy by oxidizing organic fuels

8.2 Glycolysis harvests chemical energy by oxidizing glucose to pyruvate

8.3 After pyruvate is oxidized, the citric acid cycle completes the energy-yielding oxidation of organic molecules

8.4 During oxidative phosphorylation, chemiosmosis couples electron transport to ATP synthesis

8.5 Fermentation and anaerobic respiration enable cells to produce ATP without the use of oxygen

8.6 Glycolysis and the citric acid cycle connect to many other metabolic pathways

9. Photosynthesis

9.1 Photosynthesis converts light energy to the chemical energy of food

9.2 The light reactions convert solar energy to the chemical energy of ATP and NADPH

9.3 The Calvin cycle uses the chemical energy of ATP and NADPH to reduce CO2 to sugar

9.4 Alternative mechanisms of carbon fixation have evolved in hot, arid climates

9.5 Life depends on photosynthesis

10. Cell Communication

10.1 External signals are converted to responses within the cell

10.2 Reception: A signaling molecule binds to a receptor protein, causing it to change shape

10.3 Transduction: Cascades of molecular interactions relay signals from receptors to target molecules in the cell

10.4 Response: Cell signaling leads to regulation of transcription or cytoplasmic activities

10.5 Apoptosis integrates multiple cell-signaling pathways

11. The Cell Cycle

11.1 Most cell division results in genetically identical daughter cells

11.2 The mitotic phase alternates with interphase in the cell cycle

11.3 The eukaryotic cell cycle is regulated by a molecular control system

12. Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles

12.1 Offspring acquire genes from parents by inheriting chromosomes

12.2 Fertilization and meiosis alternate in sexual life cycles

12.3 Meiosis reduces the number of chromosome sets from diploid to haploid

12.4 Genetic variation produced in sexual life cycles contributes to evolution

13. Mendel and the Gene Idea

13.1 Mendel used the scientific approach to identify two laws of inheritance

13.2 Probability laws govern Mendelian inheritance

13.3 Inheritance patterns are often more complex than predicted by simple Mendelian genetics

13.4 Many human traits follow Mendelian patterns of inheritance

14. The Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance

14.1 Morgan showed that Mendelian inheritance has its physical basis in the behavior of chromosomes: scientific inquiry

14.2 Sex-linked genes exhibit unique patterns of inheritance

14.3 Linked genes tend to be inherited together because they are located near each other on the same chromosome

14.4 Alterations of chromosome number or structure cause some genetic disorders

14.5 Some inheritance patterns are exceptions to standard Mendelian inheritance

15. The Molecular Basis of Inheritance

15.1 DNA is the genetic material

15.2 Many proteins work together in DNA replication and repair

15.3 A chromosome consists of a DNA molecule packed together with proteins

16. Gene Expression: From Gene to Protein

16.1 Genes specify proteins via transcription and translation

16.2 Transcription is the DNA-directed synthesis of RNA: a closer look

16.3 Eukaryotic cells modify RNA after transcription

16.4 Translation is the RNA-directed synthesis of a polypeptide: a closer look

16.5 Mutations of one or a few nucleotides can affect protein structure and function

17. Regulation of Gene Expression

17.1 Bacteria often respond to environmental change by regulating transcription

17.2 Eukaryotic gene expression is regulated at many stages

17.3 Noncoding RNAs play multiple roles in controlling gene expression

17.4 A program of differential gene expression leads to the different cell types in a multicellular organism

17.5 Cancer results from genetic changes that affect cell cycle control

18. Viruses

18.1 A virus consists of a nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat

18.2 Viruses replicate only in host cells

18.3 Viruses and prions are formidable pathogens in animals and plants


*Course content subject to change