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General Biology I

Master the full spectrum of foundational biological concepts from the chemical and molecular basis of life to genetic engineering.

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General Biology I
Higher Education

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Embark on an in-depth exploration into the building blocks of life. This course aims to equip students with an understanding of key biological concepts, from the chemical foundation of life to advanced topics in biotechnology and genomics. Through a series of interactive virtual simulations, students will analyze cellular structures, decipher metabolic pathways, and explore the mechanisms of gene expression and inheritance.

Investigating the Building Blocks of Life

Examine and differentiate the essential elements that constitute life, starting with the chemical foundations and biological macromolecules. Apply this knowledge and utilize virtual labs to reveal cellular structures and functions, which in turn, facilitate exploring complex, but essential, cellular processes such as respiration, photosynthesis, and division that power life. 

Traverse the Path from DNA to Biotechnology

Walk the path that begins with Mendel’s Laws, the foundation of our knowledge of traits and inheritance. Assess Mendel’s experiments and extend this understanding to modern genetics, examining the structure and function of DNA, and the processes by which genes are expressed and proteins synthesized. Finally, apply theory in our genomics and biotechnology labs to see how genes and genetic processes can be leveraged to impact society and medicine.  

Learning Objectives

  • Illustrate and contextualize the chemical and molecular foundations of life
  • Apply principles of metabolism, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis in energetic contexts
  • Understand mechanisms of cell communication, reproduction, and genetic inheritance
  • Evaluate advancements in biotechnology and genomics, considering their ethical, social, and practical implications

Browse Course Simulations by Unit

Course Units


The Study of Life

Counting Cells: Control the epidemic

Aseptic Technique: Culture your sample without contamination


Light Microscopy

Experimental Design

Measurements and Uncertainty

Demo Simulation

Introductory Lab

Lab Safety

Pipetting: Master the technique

Pipetting: Selecting and Using Micropipettes

The Chemical Foundation of Life

Atomic Structure: Assess the possibility of life on other planets

Properties of Water

Biological Macromolecules

Introduction to Food Macromolecules

Carbohydrates: The sugars that feed us

Benedict’s Test for Simple Carbohydrates

Iodine Test for Complex Carbohydrates

Benedict’s Test: Which food samples contain reducing sugars?

Sudan IV Test for Lipids

Protein Denaturation

Protein Synthesis

Biuret’s Test for Proteins

DNA: Structure and function

Cell Structure

Cell Structure: Cell theory and internal organelles

Cell Culture Basics: Plate, split and freeze human cells

Building Animal Cells

Bacterial Cell Structures: An introduction to the bacterial cell

The Gram Stain: Identify and differentiate bacteria

Building Gram Positive and Gram Negative Cell Walls

Gram Stain: Test yourself in Gram Stain Procedure

Gram Stain: How stains and counterstains work

Structure and Function of Plasma Membranes

Cell Membrane and Transport: Learn how transporters keep cells healthy

Cell Membrane and Transport: Modifying the cell membrane

Cell Membrane and Transport: Types of transporter proteins


Conservation of Energy: maximize the mechanical energy of a rollercoaster

Cellular Respiration: Measuring energy consumption during exercise

Conservation of Energy (Principles): Unleash the roller coaster's potential

Basic Chemistry Thermodynamics: Solve the challenge of storing renewable energy

Cellular Respiration (Principles): Measure energy consumption during exercise

Enzyme Kinetics

Cellular Respiration

Cellular Respiration (Principles): Measure energy consumption during exercise

Cellular Respiration: Measuring energy consumption during exercise

Cellular Respiration: Respirometry

Cellular Respiration: Glycolysis

Cellular Respiration: The Krebs Cycle


Electron Transport Chain: A rollercoaster ride that produces energy

Photosynthesis: Electron transport chain

Photosynthesis: Algae pigment analysis

Cell Communication

Signal Transduction: How cells communicate

Action Potential Lab: Experiment with a squid neuron

Cell Reproduction

Cell Division (Principles): Mitosis and Meiosis

Mitosis: Using a toxic compound from the yew tree in cancer therapy

Cancer: Impact of BRCA mutations

Meiosis and Sexual Reproduction

Meiosis: Understand how traits are inherited

Cell Division (Principles): Mitosis and Meiosis

Mendel's Experiments and Heredity

Mendelian Inheritance: From genes to traits

Inheritance with Pedigrees

Inheritance with Punnett Squares

Meiosis: How is color blindness inherited?

Modern Understandings of Inheritance

Medical Genetics

Gene linkage and pedigree analyses

Monogenic Disorders

DNA Structure and Function

DNA: Structure and function

Gene Expression Unit: Use sequencing to unveil a gene linked to obesity

Molecular Cloning

Genes and Proteins

RNA Extraction: Sample and purify mRNA from pigs

Introduction to Protein Synthesis

Gene Expression

Genetic Transfer in Bacteria: Prevent the rise of superbugs!

Gene Regulation

Cancer: Impact of BRCA mutations

Biotechnology and Genomics

Animal Genetics

CRISPR-Cas applied to TGF-beta induced EMT

Molecular Cloning

Homogenization: Developing better-tasting milk

Fermentation: Optimize bio-ethanol production


Multiplex Automated Genomic Engineering (MAGE): Conjuring massive mutations

Embryology: Discover the genetics of limb development

Polymerase Chain Reaction

Invertebrate Model System: Find the genetic cause of a disease using C. elegans

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Discover Simulations That Match Your Syllabus

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Place Students in the Shoes of Real Scientists

Practice a lab procedure or visualize theory through narrative-driven scenarios

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