Genetics: Genes, Genomes, and Evolution covers the fundamental principles of genetics and molecular biology in both bacteria and eukaryotes from an evolutionary perspective, using data and tools of genome analysis.

Dobzhansky’s famous dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is our organizing approach. While all biologists ascribe to this point of view, we have not been able to embrace it fully for our teaching until recently when genomic information became widely available. In the past, introductory biology courses based on evolution (of which there are many) tended to give short shrift to molecular biology. Introductory molecular biology and genetics courses tended to ignore evolutionary principles altogether, or included them as some concluding chapters that were often skipped. Bacteria were usually treated separately from eukaryotes. Using the analysis of genomes as the organizing approach for our book provides the opportunity to unite these topics in one narrative approach.

Genomic analysis is inherently both molecular and evolutionary, and in Genetics: Genes, Genomes, and Evolution, we attempt to approach every chapter from this unified perspective. Thus, rather than relying on separate chapters on “genome analysis” or “evolutionary principles” and hoping that the student can synthesize them, we include these ideas as part of every topic. We do have chapters in which molecular genetics or evolutionary principles are more prominent, but all chapters attempt to integrate these concepts.

The mission behind Genetics: Genes, Genomes, and Evolution