Genetics

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The Genetics Graduate Program is a University wide program. Current faculty are in 14 Departments and four Colleges. The Genetics Program provides a well-balanced program of graduate course work and research training. The faculty conducts basic research in all areas of genetics, including molecular, cellular and developmental genetics; behavioral genetics, biomedical genetics, evolutionary, population and quantitative genetics, statistical genetics, and bioinformatics. Faculty research utilizes both traditional model organisms (fruit flies, mice and Arabidopsis) and non-traditional systems (cats, cockroaches, dairy cattle, dogs, maize, pigs, pine trees and more). Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may come from a number of undergraduate programs that include biological, agricultural, physical and mathematical science training. All applications are screened by an admissions committee, and the best qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. The program uses the requirements set by the Graduate School to evaluate applications (GRE, unofficial transcripts from each previously attended college or university, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, and proof of English proficiency for non-US citizens).  Competitive applicants will include research and other relevant experience as well as their interest and fit for the program in their personal statement.

Master's Degree Requirements

The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, of which 14 hours are core course requirements, three hours are additional elective graduate courses with substantial genetics content, and three hours are other elective graduate courses. M.S. students majoring in Genetics are required to complete dissertation research with three credit hours of Master's Supervised Research, six credits of Master's Thesis Research, one credit of Master’s Thesis Prep, and one credit of Master’s Examination. M.S. students are also required to teach one semester of undergraduate courses and may enroll in three credits of Master’s Supervised Teaching. 12 hours of required courses are required for Genetics minors. The Master's of Genetics requires a minimum of 31 credit hours, of which 17 hours are core course requirements, six hours are additional elective genetics courses and eight hours are elective graduate courses.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

A total of 18 hours of seven core courses and 12 hours of elective graduate courses, nine of which have substantial genetics content, is required of all majors. Ph.D. students majoring in Genetics are required to complete dissertation research with three credit hours of Doctoral Supervised Research and a combination of Doctoral Dissertation Research, Doctoral Preliminary Examination, and Doctoral Dissertation Prep to total 39 hours. Students are also required to and teach two semesters of undergraduate courses and may enroll in six credits of Doctoral Supervised Teaching to be used toward the remaining 39 credit hours. 12 hours of required courses are required for Genetics minors.

Student Financial Support

Genetics graduate students are supported on Research and Teaching Assistantships (RAs and TAs). Specific pay varies depending on the assistantship, and students are paid bi-weekly. More information will be provided at the time of acceptance into the program.

Other Relevant Information

All M. S. and Ph. D. students rotate through three laboratories during their first semester. At the end of the semester, they choose a laboratory for their research activities consistent with their interests and available research projects. Provisions are available for a co-major and collaborative research in more than one laboratory.

Faculty

Full Professors

  • Jose Miguel Alonso
  • Peter J. Balint-Kurti
  • Rodolphe Barrangou
  • David M. Bird
  • Adam Joseph Birkenheuer
  • Matthew Breen
  • Ignazio Carbone
  • Ralph A. Dean
  • Ralph E. Dewey
  • Robert Graham Franks
  • Troy Ghashghaei
  • John R. Godwin
  • Major M. Goodman
  • Fred L. Gould
  • Candace Hope Haigler
  • Linda Kay Hanley-Bowdoin
  • Christine Veronica Hawkes
  • James B. Holland
  • Fikret Isik
  • Ramsey S. Lewis
  • Hsiao-Ching Liu
  • Steven Lommel
  • James W. Mahaffey
  • Christian Maltecca
  • Carolyn Jane Mattingly
  • Kathryn Montgome Meurs
  • Spencer V. Muse
  • Natasha J. Olby
  • Charles H. Opperman
  • Balaji M. Rao
  • Emilie Francesca Rissman
  • Jean B. Ristaino
  • Coby J. Schal
  • Maxwell J. Scott
  • Heike Inge Ada Sederoff
  • Seth M. Sullivant
  • William F. Thompson
  • Jeffrey L. Thorne
  • Jung-Ying Tzeng
  • Keith R. Weninger
  • Ross W. Whetten
  • Brian M. Wiegmann
  • Qiuyun Xiang
  • Deyu Xie
  • Jeffrey A. Yoder
  • Zhaobang Zeng

Associate Professors

  • John J Classen
  • David Lawrence Aylor
  • Chase Beisel
  • Nicolas Emile Buchler
  • Gavin Clay Conant
  • Shobhan Gaddameedhi
  • Steffen Heber
  • Vasu Kuraparthy
  • Randall Brian Langerhans
  • Terri A. Long
  • Marce D. Lorenzen
  • John Edward Meitzen
  • Susana Rita Milla-Lewis
  • Nanette M. Nascone-Yoder
  • Dahlia M. Nielsen
  • Xinxia Peng
  • Marcela Pierce
  • Antonio Planchart
  • David Michael Reif
  • Michael Hay Reiskind
  • Reade Bruce Roberts
  • Michael L. Sikes
  • Rosangela Sozzani
  • Anna N. Stepanova
  • Yihui Zhou

Assistant Professors

  • Hamid Ashrafi
  • Benjamin John Callahan
  • Michael Anthony Cowley
  • Colleen Jennifer Doherty
  • Rafael Felipe Guerro Farias
  • Amanda Marie Hulse
  • Albert Jun Qi Keung
  • Manuel Kleiner
  • Caroline Laplante
  • Wusheng Liu
  • Anna Michelle Locke
  • Elizabeth Lucas
  • Kurt Marsden
  • Santosh Kumar Mishra
  • Casey C. Nestor
  • Benjamin J. Reading
  • Ruben Rellan Alvarez
  • Adriana San Miguel Delgadillo
  • Caitlin Suzanne Smukowski Heil
  • Casey Michelle Theriot
  • Laurianne Chantal Van Landeghem
  • Justin Graham Alexander Whitehill
  • Christina Zakas

Emeritus Professors

  • Roderick M Rejesus
  • William Reid Atchley
  • Stephanie E. Curtis
  • Eugene Eisen
  • Charles S. Levings III
  • Todd Robert Klaenhammer
  • Wesley Edwin Kloos
  • Dale F. Matzinger
  • Wendell Herbert McKenzie
  • John G. Scandalios
  • Henry E. Schaffer
  • Ron Ross Sederoff
  • Charles William Stuber
  • Earl A. Wernsman

Adjunct professors

  • Robert R .Anholt
  • Trudy F. MacKay
  • Alison Anne Motsinger-Reif
  • Nadia Singh

Courses

GN 521/GN 421  Molecular Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

Biological macromolecules and their interactions, DNA topology, eukaryotic genome structure, chromatin and chromosome structure, transcription and transcription regulation, epigenetics, RNAi and RNA processing, recombinant DNA technology, genetic transformation and cloning of plants and animals. Bacteria, viruses, plants, animals and fungi as genetic systems. Students cannot receive credit for both GN 421 and GN 521.

Prerequisite: C- or better in GN 311

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 541/GN 441  Human and Biomedical Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

This course is an in depth study of human and biomedical genetics and the role of genetics in human health and disease. The course will aquaint students with contemporary knowledge of genetics in disease causation and susceptibility, the use of model organisms to inform human biology and contemporary topics in human genetics research like epigenetics, therapeutic cloning, gene therapy, role of genetics in response to drugs and predictive medicine. Credit cannot be given for both 441 and 541.

Prerequisite: C- or better in GN 421

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 550/GN 450  Conservation Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

The main objective of this course is to expose upper division undergraduate students and graduate students to conservation genetic tools and applications. Students will learn the genetic and genomic theory and methods commonly used in conservation and management of species. In addition, the course will provide hands-on experience working on current conservation projects here at North Carolina State University. Working in groups, the students will collect, run, and analyze those data for a scientific paper. The final project for all students will be a conservation genetic grant proposal.

Prerequisite: GN 311

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 685  Master's Supervised Teaching  (1-3 credit hours)  

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 690  Master's Examination  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students in non-thesis master's programs who have completed all other requirements of the degree except preparing for and taking the final master's exam.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 693  Master's Supervised Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Prerequisite: Master's Student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 695  Master's Thesis Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Thesis Research

Prerequisite: Master's Student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 696  Summer Thesis Research  (1 credit hours)  

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Summer only

GN 699  Master's Thesis Preparation  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students who have completed all credit hour requirements and full-time enrollment for the master's degree and are writing and defending their thesis.

Prerequisite: Master's Student

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 701  Molecular Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

A discussion of the structure and function of genetic material at a molecular level. Consideration of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. The aim to describe genetics in terms of chemical principles.

Prerequisite: GN 311

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 702  Cellular and Developmental Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

Regulation of genes involved in cellular function, differentiation and development in eukaryotes. Presentation of biological systems and model organisms used to study genetic control of cellular and developmental processes.

Prerequisite: GN 701

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 703  Population and Quantitative Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

Mutation and origin of genetic variation. Measuring genetic variation in natural populations. Gene and genotype frequencies. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Values, means, genetic and environmental variance, heritability of quantitative traits. Random genetic drift and inbreeding. Natural and artifical selection. Theory and tests of models of maintenance of genetic variation. Molecular evolution of genes and proteins. Genome evolution.

Prerequisite: GN 311 and ST 512

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 713/ANS 713  Quantitative Genetics and Breeding  (3 credit hours)  

Quantitative and population genetic theory of breeding problems; partitioning of genetic variance, maternal effects, genotype by environment interaction and genetic correlation; selection indexes; design and analysis of selection experiments; marker-assisted selection.

Prerequisite: GN 509, ST 512

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 720/HS 720/CS 720  Molecular Biology In Plant Breeding  (3 credit hours)  

Theory and principles of molecular biology applied to plant breeding. Understanding of the relationship between genes and crop traits. Principles and molecular mechanisms of crop traits, and their applications to solve breeding problems and improve crop traits, which include heterosis, male/female sterility, self-incompatibility, polyploidy, double haploid, protoplast fusion, random mutagenesis, plant regeneration, transgenic breeding, advanced genome editing for breeding, gene silencing, gene activation, gene drive, plant synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, epigenetics for trait improvement, gene stacking, decoy and R genes, and bioconfinement.

P: CS 211 or GN 311 or equivalent, and PB 421 or equivalent.

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 721/ST 721  Genetic Data Analysis  (3 credit hours)  

Analysis of discrete data, illustrated with genetic data on morphological characters allozymes, restriction fragment length polymorphisms and DNA sequences. Maximum likelihood estimation, including iterative procedures. Numerical resampling. Development of statistical techniques for characterizing genetic disequilibrium and diversity. Measures of population structure and genetic distance. Construction of phylogenetic trees. Finding alignments and similarities between DNA sequences. Locating genes with markers.

Prerequisite: ST 430 and GN 311

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 725/FOR 725  Forest Genetics  (3 credit hours)  

Application of genetic principles to silviculture, management and wood utilization. Emphasis on variation in wild populations, the bases for selection of desirable qualities and fundamentals of controlled breeding.

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 735  Functional Genomics  (3 credit hours)  

Methodology of experimental genomics; genome sequencing, gene expression arrays, genomic screens, proteomics. Aims and achievements of microbial, plant, animal, human genome projects. Applications of genomics including parasitology, breeding, functional genomics, evolutionary genetics. Interface with bioinformatics, data technology.

Prerequisite: GN 701

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 745/HS 745/CS 745  Quantitative Genetics In Plant Breeding  (1 credit hours)  

Theory and principles of plant quantitative genetics. Experimental approaches of relationships between type and source of genetic variability, concepts of inbreeding, estimations of genetic variance and selection theory.

Prerequisite: CS(GN, HS) 541, ST 712, course in quantitative genetics recommended

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 746/HS 746/CS 746  Cytogenetics in Plant Breeding  (2 credit hours)  

Theory and principles of plant breeding methodology including population improvement, selection procedures, genotypic evaluation, cultivar development and breeding strategies.

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 756/ST 756  Computational Molecular Evolution  (3 credit hours)  

Phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide and protein sequence data. Sequence alignment, phylogeny reconstruction and relevant computer software. Prediction of protein secondary structure, database searching, bioinformatics and related topics. Project required.

Prerequisite: GN 311 and ST 511

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 757/ST 757/HS 757  Quantitative Genetics Theory and Methods  (3 credit hours)  

The essence of quantitative genetics is to study multiple genes and their relationship to phenotypes. How to study and interpret the relationship between phenotypes and whole genome genotypes in a cohesive framework is the focus of this course. We discuss how to use genomic tools to map quantitative trait loci, how to study epistasis, how to study genetic correlations and genotype-by-environment interactions. We put special emphasis in using genomic data to study and interpret general biological problems, such as adaptation and heterosis. The course is targeted for advanced graduate students interested in using genomic information to study a variety of problems in quantitative genetics.

Prerequisite: ST 511

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 758/MB 758  Microbial Genetics & Genomics  (3 credit hours)  

Structure and function in microbial genetics, with emphasis on microbial genome organization, stable maintenance and evolution. DNA mutation and repair pathways, transcriptional and translational regulation, DNA replication and recombination and characterization of recombinant DNA molecules. Applications of genetic and genomic analysis methods to microbial processes, including strain construction, genome manipulation, and enhancement of gene expression.

Prerequisite: BCH 451 or GN 311

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 761/PB 761/BCH 761  Advanced Molecular Biology Of the Cell  (3 credit hours)  

An advanced graduate class involving integrated approaches to complex biological questions at the molecular level, encompassing biochemistry, cell biology and molecular genetics. The course will focus on an important, current area of research in eukaryotic biology using the primary scientific literature, and will involve class discussions, oral presentations, and a written research proposal.

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 768/BCH 768  Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function  (3 credit hours)  

An advanced treatment involving integrated approaches to biological problems at the molecular level, encompassing biochemistry, cell biology and molecular genetics. Broad, multidisciplinary approaches to solving research problems in biology and thecritical study of primary scientific literature, the development of a research proposal, oral presentations and class discussions.

Prerequisite: BCH 701 and 703

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 810  Special Topics in Genetics  (1-6 credit hours)  

Critical study of selected areas and special topics of current interest in genetics and related fields.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 820  Special Problems  (1-6 credit hours)  

Special topics designed for additional experience and research training.

Prerequisite: Advanced Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 850  Professionalism and Ethics  (1 credit hours)  

The course is designed to give students background in professionalism, scientific ethics and responsible conduct of science. Topics include the role of the scientist in society, ethical theory, data acquisition and ownership, scientific midconduct,authorship, peer review, conflicts of interest and commitment, intellectual property, ethics of teaching and mentoring, ethical treatment of animal and human subjects, ethics of genetics research, job hunting and interviewing.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 860/HS 860/CS 860  Plant Breeding Laboratory  (1 credit hours)  

Visitation of plant breeding projects in the Depts. of CS and HS at NC State, along with commercial seed companies. Discussion and viewing of breeding objectives, methods and equipment and teaching and practice of hybridization methods.

P: CS 741 or GN 741 or HS 741

Typically offered in Spring only

GN 861/HS 861/CS 861  Plant Breeding Laboratory  (1 credit hours)  

Visitation of plant breeding projects in the Depts. of CS and HS at NC State, along with commercial seed companies. Discussion and viewing of breeding objectives, methods and equipment and teaching and practice of hybridization methods.

P: CS 741 or GN 741 or HS 741

Typically offered in Fall only

GN 885  Doctoral Supervised Teaching  (1-3 credit hours)  

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 890  Doctoral Preliminary Examination  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students who are preparing for and taking written and/or oral preliminary exams.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 893  Doctoral Supervised Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

GN 895  Doctoral Dissertation Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Dissertation Research

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

GN 896  Summer Dissertation Research  (1 credit hours)  

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Summer only

GN 899  Doctoral Dissertation Preparation  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students who have completed all credit hour requirements, full-time enrollment, preliminary examination, and residency requirements for the doctoral degree, and are writing and defending their dissertations.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer