Biochemical Genetics

OCW Scholar

« Previous | Next »

Session Overview


This session will explain how a collection of mutants with the same phenotype can be used to study a biochemical pathway. In effect, this session outlines how genetics can be used to study biochemistry. It includes a discussion of yeast as a model system. It outlines how to identify mutants with mutations in the same pathway, how to characterize the mutants into complementation groups, and how to use epistasis tests to infer details about a biochemical pathway.

Learning Objectives

  • To be familiar with the life cycle of yeast.
  • To understand the difference between a genetic screen and a genetic selection.
  • To understand why mutants with mutations in different genes can have the same phenotype.
  • To understand what a test of dominance is and why it is performed.
  • To understand what a test of complementation is and why it is performed.
  • To understand what a test of epistasis is and why it is performed.

Session Activities

Lecture Video

For this session, watch the video lecture called "Genetics 3" by Prof. Eric Lander recorded in 2004. Then watch the first 7 ½ minutes of the lecture called "Human Genetics."

Check Yourself



Session Activities

Help Session Videos

First, watch the short video of Genny Gould explaining the concept of Complementation.

Next, watch Genny work a Complementation Problem (PDF) using fruit flies as an example.

Practice Problems

Further Study

Suggested topics for further study in an introductory-level Biology textbook

  • Test of dominance
  • Test of complementation
  • Test of epistasis

Useful Links


« Previous | Next »