An exploration of genes and genomes that highlights the connections between molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and evolution. Topics will include: DNA and RNA, and protein structure and function, gene organization, mechanisms and control of gene expression, origins and evolution of molecular mechanisms, and gene networks. The course will also deal with the principal experimental and computational tools that have advanced relevant fields, and will introduce students to the rapidly expanding databases at the core of contemporary biology. Relying heavily on primary literature, we will explore selected topics including the molecular biology of infectious diseases, genetic underpinnings of development, the comparative analysis of whole genomes and the origin and evolution of genome structure and content. Prerequisites: BIO 110 or 152. Laboratory (BIO 231) is recommended but not required.