Every objective will NOT necessarily be covered during class time; you will be independently responsible for some of them.

  1. Give examples to illustrate how regulation of gene expression is beneficial
  2. Define an operon and list its basic regions
  3. Define the roles of regulatory proteins and effectors in regulating gene expression in operons
  4. Explain the function and utility of the trp and lac operons
  5. Explain activity in the trp and lac operons under conditions of either abundance or lack of tryptophan (in the trp operon), lactose, and glucose (in the lac operon)
  6. Contrast positive vs. negative and inducible vs. repressible operons
  7. Classify the trp and lac operons and justify your classification
  8. Give examples of eukaryotic gene control at different stages of the protein synthesis process, including transcription factors and epigenetics
  9. Define the major mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer in prokaryotes (transduction, transposition, conjugation, transformation)
  10. Explain the utility of plasmids and restriction enzymes in biotechnology
  11. Interpret the results of different treatments in a transformation experiment
  12. Explain the mechanisms of gene cloning, plasmid vector construction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis, and CRISPR/Cas9
  13. Interpret and construct restriction maps
  14. Interpret and predict gels produced by gel electrophoresis

Enduring Understandings

Enduring Understandings are the College Board's AP Biology course concepts that you need to know for the AP exam. Below, you'll find those Enduring Understandings relevant to this unit. Numbering and lettering matches the document linked from the main page of this website.
Every Enduring Understanding will NOT necessarily be covered during class time; you will be independently responsible for some of them.

A. Heritable information provides for continuity of life.
1. DNA, and in some cases RNA, is the primary source of heritable information.
  • c. Noneukaryotic organisms have circular chromosomes, while eukaryotic organisms have multiple linear chromosomes, although in biology there are exceptions to this rule.
  • d. Prokaryotes, viruses and eukaryotes can contain plasmids, which are small extra-chromosomal, double-stranded circular DNA molecules.
  • t. Genetic engineering techniques can manipulate the heritable information of DNA and, in special cases, RNA. (Be able to explain the mechanisms of: gene cloning, vector construction, PCR, restriction enzymes, gel electrophoresis.)
B. Expression of genetic information involves cellular and molecular mechanisms.
1. Gene regulation results in differential gene expression, leading to cell specialization.
  • a. Both DNA regulatory sequences, regulatory genes, and small regulatory RNAs are involved in gene expression.
  • b. Regulatory sequences are stretches of DNA that interact with regulatory proteins to control transcription.
  • c. A regulatory gene is a sequence of DNA encoding a regulatory protein or RNA.
  • d. Both positive and negative control mechanisms regulate gene expression in bacteria and viruses.
  • e. The expression of specific genes can be turned on by the presence of an inducer.
  • f. The expression of specific genes can be inhibited by the presence of a repressor.
  • g. Inducers and repressors are small molecules that interact with regulatory proteins and/or regulatory sequences.
  • h. Regulatory proteins inhibit gene expression by binding to DNA and blocking transcription (negative control).
  • i. Regulatory proteins stimulate gene expression by binding to DNA and stimulating transcription (positive control) or binding to repressors to inactivate repressor function.
  • j. Certain genes are continuously expressed; that is, they are always turned "on," e.g., the ribosomal genes.
  • k. In eukaryotes, gene expression is complex and control involves regulatory genes, regulatory elements and transcription factors that act in concert.
  • l. Transcription factors bind to specific DNA sequences and/or other regulatory proteins.
  • m. Some of these transcription factors are activators (increase expression), while others are repressors (decrease expression).
  • n. The combination of transcription factors binding to the regulatory regions at any one time determines how much, if any, of the gene product will be produced.
  • o. Gene regulation accounts for some of the phenotypic differences between organisms with similar genes.
2. A variety of intercellular and intracellular signal transmissions mediate gene expression.
  • a. Signal transmission within and between cells mediates gene expression.

C. The processing of genetic information is imperfect and is a source of genetic variation.
2. Biological systems have multiple processes that increase genetic variation.
  • b. The horizontal acquisitions of genetic information primarily in prokaryotes via transformation (uptake of naked DNA), transduction (viral transmission of genetic information), conjugation (cell-to-cell transfer) and transposition (movement of DNA segments within and between DNA molecules) increase variation.

C. Naturally occurring diversity among and between components within biological systems affects interactions with the environment.
2. Environmental factors influence the expression of the genotype in an organism.
  • a. Environmental factors influence many traits both directly and indirectly.
  • b. An organism's adaptation to the local environment reflects a flexible response of its genome.

Textbook Reference

This is the part of your textbook that covers the material for this unit.
Ch. 15 and Ch 13 concept 13.4

Relevant Files

Here, you'll find files for this course. Copies of lecture notes will go here, as will others.


These connect to materials on other teachers' websites that you may find helpful. Generally speaking, I put links to helpful review materials - like video lectures summarizing the material - towards the top, and links to interesting extensions towards the bottom.
  • Videos from BozemanScience AP Essentials series. Typically about 10 minutes long each and are produced specifically for AP Biology - very good!
  • Hippocampus - Click on "Biology for AP*" on the left, select topics from "Types of Genomes" and "Biotechnology" about a quarter of the way down.
  • "Prezi" Presentations by David Knuffke:
  • 7th ed reading guides (1, 2) and 8th ed reading guides (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b). These reading guides follow along with earlier editions of our book, but they still match reasonably well.
  • Campbell Biology: Click on the picture of the 6th edition, username: biology_ap_ and password: student. Chapter reviews, self-quizzes, activities, videos, and more.
DNA Interactives
National Center for Biotechnology Information (professional search databases)
Database of Human Genes
Genomics and Biotechnology Articles
Your Genes, Your Choices
Official Human Genome Project homepage
Glossary of Genetics Terms
PCR Method Game
Putting DNA to Work (Genetic Engineering, CSI)
Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes