Principles of Biology: The Organism

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
BIOL 1210
Principles of Biology: The Organism
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture/Tutorial 4 hours/week Laboratory 3 hours/week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course involves four hours of lecture/tutorial/week and three hours of laboratory work.  The information content is integrated with laboratory experiments, problem sets and textbook readings.

Course Description
This course examines the detailed microscopic structure and biochemical functioning of living organisms. Mechanisms of inheritance and evolution are also studied. With Biology 1110, this course fulfills the requirements of a first year university Biology course.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to Genetics and Evolution
    • mitosis
    • meiosis
    • Mendelian Inheritance: theory and problems
    • Non-Mendelian Inheritance: multiple alleles, sex linkage and multigenic inheritance
    • experiments using Drosophila: how to differentiate an autosomal character from a sex-linked character.
    • preparation of plant tissue for microscopic chromosome analysis.
  2. Molecular Basis of Life
    • basic chemical formula of amino acids
    • formation of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins.
    • functions and  mechanisms of action of enzymes
    • functions and structures of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA)
    • replication of DNA
    • cellular synthesis of proteins
    • molecular and chromosomal basis of mutations
    • structure and functions of cellular organelles
    • structure and function of biologically important lipids
    • models of membrane structure and transport of materials across membranes
    • structure and function of biologically important carbohydrates
    • biochemical tests for carbohydrates, lipids and proteins
    • lab analysis of enzyme action and optimum pH
  3. Conversion and Use of Energy by Cells
    • location and process of cellular respiration
    • catabolic pathways and interrelationships for carbohydrates, fats and proteins
    • significance of ATP
    • location and process of photosynthesis
    • light dependent reactions
    • light independent reactions
    • technique of paper chromatography for the separation of leaf pigments
  4. Plant and Animal Growth and Development
    • mechanisms by which seed plants reproduce
    • process of double fertilization
    • results of fertilization: growth of seeds
    • role of soil in plant growth and development, including impact of acid rain
    • role of plant hormones and the photoreceptor phytochrome on plant growth and development
    • gibberellic acid experiment: role in development of pea plants
    • process of animal fertilization
    • stages of development following fertilization
    • significance of primary germ layers
    • sea urchin fertilization
  5. Origin and Evolution of Life
    • scientific theories with respect to how life arose on earth
    • origin of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
    • types of evolution
    • Lamarck’s theory of evolution
    • Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection
    • sources of heritable variation within a species
    • meaning and role of fitness in evolution
    • types of natural selection
    • role of isolating mechanisms in speciation


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  1. Understand and be able to explain the relationship between genetics and evolution.
  2. Be able to explain cell division in plants and animals, and to describe the significance of mitosis and meiosis to growth, development and reproduction.
  3. Be capable of solving monohybrid and dihybrid problems, and problems involving multiple alleles and sex-linked genes.
  4. Be able to explain the molecular basis and significance of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates, and their relationship to cellular respiration and photosynthesis and general metabolism. 
  5. Be able to explain how DNA and RNA replicate and code for proteins, and analyse problems using the genetic code.
  6. Understand and be able to explain how genes interact with the environment,  and the role of mutations, meiosis and fertilization in changing the genetic composition of populations over time.
  7. Be able to discuss the mechanisms of evolution, and to apply evolutionary concepts to the analysis of current environmental problems.
  8. Be capable of conducting simple directed experiments and explaining the procedures and results.
  9. Understand and be able to use biological principles in the discussion of current issues.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Evaluation Marks
Class tests and assignments     15-25
Laboratory tests and assignments   5-15
Laboratory examination - final 10-15
Comprehensive examination - midterm   25-35
Comprehensive examination - final 25-35


1. Laboratory Experiments and Activities

Laboratory work will be assigned each week. The laboratory work must be completed in the week it is assigned. Laboratory experiments and assignments are a compulsory component of this course. A minimum of 50% of the laboratory experiments and assignments must be completed to receive a P or better in the course.

2. Examinations

There will be one midterm and one final examination. The final examination will cover the entire course. If the student achieves a better grade on the final exam than on the midterm examination, the midterm grade will be raised to equal that of the final examination.


Textbook Materials

Students should consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. For example, textbooks and materials may include:

Reece, J.B. et al., Campbell Biology. (Current Edition).  Benjamin Cummings 

Douglas College produced manual.  Biology 1210: the Organism.



Which Prerequisite

(with BIOL 1110)

BIOL 2300, 2301, 2302, 2320, 2321, 2322