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Is it wise to take Molecular Biology without taking Genetics?

  1. Mar 27, 2012 #1
    I'm not too sure if this is the correct subforum to post this question in.

    Anyways I have taken Biochemistry only. I signed up to take molecular biology and I'm wondering if that is a bad idea with no previous coursework taken in genetics (the only biology college course I have taken is biochemistry). These courses are lower division courses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2012 #2
    At my university, genetics and cell bio are prerequisites for molecular bio. With that being said, biochem will help depending on the depth of the course you took but keep in mind that biochem is not truly a biology course. While biochem focuses more on the structure and function of biological macromolecules in general, molecular biology is more focused on the mechanisms behind replication, transcription, and translation of RNA and the eventual production of proteins. A background knowledge of genetics will certainly help but you may be able to pick it up as you go. Also you may get into some trouble if you are not familiar with some of the cellular mechanisms. Does the course list any prerequisites?
  4. Mar 27, 2012 #3
    It's possible to learn molecular biology without knowing genetics. However, what's possible (even likely) is that your teachers are going to assume you've taken a genetics course, which makes it harder for you to keep track of what they're saying: if they're going to use examples of molecular biology in genetics, you're going to be all "ehwat?"

    Seriously though, why don't you just ask a teacher or professor at your college? It's as simple as asking "will I be able to keep up if I haven't taken a genetics course, and are there any genetics-y things I absolutely need to know?" Most teachers will be glad to help you out.
  5. Mar 27, 2012 #4
    Thank you for the response jbrussell93,

    At my school Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are offered in a series (in that order). The prereq for Biochemistry is genetics and the preq for Molecular Biology is Biochemistry. However I was able to get clearance to take Biochemistry without taking genetics as a prereq. With that being said I am able to take Molecular Biology since I have taken the prereq course (Biochemistry). Sorry if that sounds confusing. I hope you understand.

    Hobin: I sent out an email a few days ago and now I'm waiting for a reply. Thank you for your insight.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  6. Mar 27, 2012 #5
    Actually, that is similar to the way my school works. The difference is that our sequence goes genetics, cell bio, molecular bio. Genetics is the prerequisite for cell bio and cell bio is the prerequisite for molecular bio.

    Since biochemistry is actually part of the "sequence" then you should probably be fine. I'm guessing that since it is the prerequisite, they covered more relevant material to molecular bio than the average biochem course. If genetics was the prereq for biochem and you did well in biochem then you should be fine going on to molecular bio. I would also say that it would be a good idea to ask the professor what they think but I imagine that there won't be a problem. If you're still worried, you might look for a cheap used genetics book and read through it. This will give you an idea of what you need to refresh on and will at least familiarize you with the terms you may hear in lecture. Also, it will be a good reference once you're actually in the molecular bio class.

    Good Luck!
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