Frequently Asked Questions about
Principles of Genetics

Principles of Genetics is a self-paced, self-learning program specifically designed to teach genetics on your computer.


How do I get a copy of the entire course, Principles of Genetics, for FREE!?

Collect your mini-hypertextbook by downloading this zipped file - "FREE PofGene.zip"
Choose "Save File". Remember where you download the file. "PofGene.zip" is about 2.3 MB.
Create a specific (new) directory. Name the directory whatever you want ("genetics" is a good name). Copy or drag "FREE PofGene.zip" into this directory.
Unzip the course packaging with decompression software. Most operating systems already have decompression software installed, but if yours does not, you can use software such as WinZip or Stuffit. Note: Windows will let you browse into a Zip file without unzipping, but the links will not work.
Once you have the book extracted or unzipped, start your book by viewing "gendex.htm" (not ""FREE PofGene.zip") with your web browser set to autoload images, and with javascript enabled. (These are usually the browser's default settings.) I suggest you then bookmark it ("gendex.htm") so it is easier to find later.

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Who is the author/teacher and what are his credentials?

Dr Jamie Love created Principles of Genetics.

Jamie took Genetics in 1975 as an undergraduate and loved it. During his Master's programme he was made Lab Assistant for Genetics where he taught students how to conduct friut fly experiments, type blood and identify Barr bodies. After receiving his MS, he worked as a technician in cytogenetics, where he learned to identify each human chromosome by G-banding. Later he went on to map the location of genes by in situ hybridisation, purify plasmids by ethidium bromide gradient centrifugation, digest DNA with restriction endonucleases, run gels and produce Southerns. In 1986, at the age of 30, he started a PhD programe in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Louisiana State University Medical Center (New Orleans). In his thesis, titled "Avain Repetitive DNA", Jamie demonstrated how to isolate and characterise taxa-specific DNA and produce DNA "fingerprints" from a diverse group of animals (alligators, horses, tortises, igaunas, parrots, etc.) When he graduated in 1990, Dr Love, accepted a post-doc position in Scotland, a part of The United Kingdom. (The best part! ) The UK is home to the oldest, biggest and most distinguished distance-learning university in the world - The Open University. Jamie spent several years studying its methods while working towards his diploma in Information Technology.

Jamie touching a rock from the moon
(National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC).
After four years as a post-doc at the "Poultry Research Centre" - which was later renamed "The Roslin Institute" ("Home of the Clone" - Dolly the sheep) - Dr Love and his team created the first transgenic bird by DNA microinjection. As the molecular biologist on the team, Dr Love was responsible for engineering and isolating the plasmids to introduced into the chicken genome and identifing birds carrying the transgenes. Following his second post-doc position (studying prostate cancer) Jamie moved to the tiny, tropical island of Saba (Netherland Antilles) where he taughty Genetics to medical students. It was hot and humid and Jamie grew "homesick" for Scotland, so he returned to Edinburgh and joined the faculty at Napier University where he taught "Biomedical Investigations" and "Pathology". Later, Jamie was asked to be their Genetics Instructor and to help develope the department's flexible (distant) learning modules. In that role Dr Love acted as editor and coordinator of several distance learning books - teaching Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology and Biotechnology. In June of 2000 Napier University awarded Dr Love the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. This certificate is awarded to those who complete a series of classes, workshops, peer review and an educational project. Jamie chose as his project to create a web-based, self-learning minicourse in evolution.

Later, Dr Love held senior posts at a series of biotech companies (making microarrays for gene expression profiling, GPRC cell ines for signaling stuidies and magnetic proteins for purification, identification, imaging and therapy) where he was resposnible for business development and intellectual property. Dr Love was also an Adjunct Associate Professor (part-time) with the University of Maryland University College where, via distance learning, he taught "Selection and Evaluation of Biotechnology Projects" to students working towards a Master of Science in Technology Management. In the last few years before retiring, Dr Love worked at the University of Edinburgh helping graduate students to set up businesses based upon thier discoveries.

Dr Love started Merlin Science in 1995 - teaching chemistry over the Internet. The following year he published "Principles of Alchemy", his first self-paced, self-learning "hypertextbook". It was very well received and has become particularly popular among home schoolers.
Being an amateur astronomer, web master and with growing experience in distance learning, Jamie began delivering astronomy courses over the Internet in 1997, as part of "Science Explained". Thousands of eager students visited his website, asking questions about astronomy and getting answers. Several professional astronomers visited the website and congratulated him on his work. With curious students asking plenty of questions and professional astronomers helping him, Dr Love was able to create a first class astronomy hypertextbook, "Principles of Astronomy".
Dr Love's third and final hypertextbook, "Principles of Genetics", is his most advanced course.

When he is relaxing, Jamie enjoys bird watching, fossil collecting, and stargazing.

A brief resume about Dr Love (relevant to these courses)

EDUCATION
Postgraduate Certificate: Teaching & Learning in Higher Education (2000) from the Education Development Unit, Napier University, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK).
Project: "A Web-based Self-study Program Teaching Evolution".
PhD: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1990) from Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA (USA).
Dissertation: "Avian Repetitive DNA"
MBA: Heriot-Watt Business School, Heriot-Watt University. Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
MS: Department of Biology, Saint Cloud State University. Saint Cloud, MN (USA)
Thesis: "Comparison of Blood Proteins from Allopatric Populations of the American Toad (Bufo americanus) by Isoelectric Focusing"
BA: Department of Biology (Chemistry Minor), Northland College. Ashland, WI (USA)
Environmental Sciences emphasis

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
2001 to present. Adjunct Associate Professor (part-time) at the University of Maryland University College, MD (USA).
Via distance learning teach "Selection and Evaluation of Biotechnology Projects" to students working towards a Master of Science in Technology Management.
1995 to present. Virtual Instructor (part-time) at Merlin Science.
Create self-paced, self-learning "hypertextbooks" in Chemistry, Astronomy and Genetics specially designed for home schoolers and other distance learners.
2001 to 2005. Vice President of Business Development and Marketing
Worked at a small biotech company that manufactured microarrays and provided gene expression profiling services.
1998-2000. Teaching Associate (Permanent post = "tenured") at Department of Biology, Napier University, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK).
Responsible for developing the department's flexible (distance) learning modules including editing or co-authoring self-learning materials ("Molecular Genetics", "Food Microbiology and Biotechnology" and "Monographs for Higher Still Biotechnology"). Taught Genetics (sole instructor) and parts of Biochemistry.
1997-1998. Laboratory Consultant for Ross Breeders Ltd, Newbridge, Midlothian (Scotland, UK).
Developed a high throughput (6000 samples per month) PCR-based screening procedure to detect avian retroviruses in the blood or feathers of stock poultry (chickens).
1997. Associate Professor at Saba University School of Medicine, Saba, Netherlands-Antilles.
Sole instructor for Medical Genetics and parts of Physiology and Biochemistry.
1994-1996. Post-doc. Department of Surgery/Urology at Western General Hospital, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK).
Characterized and isolated growth factors responsible for the development of prostate bony metastasis. Developed bioassays (tissue culture). Purified specific proteins.
1994-1996. Lecturer (part-time) at Department of Biology, Napier University, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK).
Sole instructor for Bio-Medical Investigations (undergraduate) and Pathobiology (graduate).
1990-94. Post-doc. Department of Reproduction and Development, Roslin Institute, Roslin, (Scotland, UK).
Created transgenic chickens by DNA microinjection. Team member in chick embryo culture. Independently and exclusively provided all molecular biology support.
1986-1990 Research and Teaching Assistant (part-time as a graduate student) at Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, LSU Medical Center. New Orleans, LA (USA).
Used a variety of techniques in genomic analysis to determine phylogenetic relationships with an emphasis on studying repetitive DNA in birds. Team taught Biochemistry.
1985-1986. Research Assistant. Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA (USA).
Studied the molecular evolution of alpha-globins in Equids (horse family) using a wide variety of molecular genetic techniques (Southerns, in situ hybridization, etc.).
1984-85. Research Assistant. Department of Virology at University of California Medical Center, San Diego, CA (USA).
Identified changes in the population dynamics of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in various types of leukocytes collected from men infected with HIV.
1983-84. Research Assistant. Hematology Department at Scripp's Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA (USA).
Raised and purified MAbs. Used them to analyze the enzymology and immunochemistry of phosphofructokinase from humans and dogs.
1982-83. Research Assistant. Gene Mapping Unit at The Agouron Institute, La Jolla, CA (USA).
Determined the position of naturally occurring DNA fragments (mostly oncogenes) and sites of integration of retrovirus on human and ape chromosomes, by in situ hybridization.
1981-82. Research Assistant. Human Cytogenetics Department at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (USA).
Identified chromosomal rearrangements involved in leukemia. Cultured, synchronized, and harvested cells from patient's peripheral blood and bone marrow. High resolution G-banding.
1978-1981. Teaching Assistant (part-time as a graduate student) at Department of Biology, Saint Cloud State University, Saint Cloud, MN (USA).
Assisted in teaching General Biology and Genetics. Taught "fly genetics and husbandry", human blood typing and some cytogenetics.

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Tell me more about the exams.

Each course ends with a computerized, self-administered exam. The exams are composed of 20 questions answered by multiple choice, totaling 100 questions throughout the five courses. Jamie wrote the three wrong choices to represent common errors or misunderstandings that the student might have. That makes the choices harder but it also means a wrong answer, with the feedback provided, is a learning experience.

After completing the exam, the student submits it and the computer generates a "virtual page" that shows the grade and scores each answer as "Right" or "Wrong". The student can jot down which ones were wrong and close the virtual page. The exam will have been reloaded so all the previous answers have been wiped away. At this point the student has two options - take the entire exam all over again (choosing all 20 responses) or click the web browser's "Back Button" to reload all the previous answers from earlier, including the wrong ones, and change them. Regardless of which method used, the student is given plenty of opportunities to correct errors and submit a "perfect" test. (Please note that the virtual page does not print from most web browsers because it is not "seen" by the printer. It is not a real web page because it is generated "on the fly".)

Of course, the student is on the "honor system" and the exams are meant to encourage the student to continue while providing some incentive to achieve a perfect score. Note: students can take the exams as many times as they like but there is no way to save answers. That is, once you turn off the web browser the answers are gone forever. Dr Love experimented with ways to save these exams on the hard disk but it is difficult to get one method that to work across all platforms (PCs and Macs) correctly and consistently. Also, most folks do not like the idea of software writing on the disk and it tends to set off the virus alerts!

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What about copyrighted materials, site licences and stuff like that?

In 2017, Jamie formally retired from his post at the University of Edinburgh and the following year decided to give his courses away for all to enjoy. His hypertextbooks (courses) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
    This means you are free to:
  • Share copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
    under the following terms:
  • Attribution You must give appropriate credit and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor (Dr Jamie Love) endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
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