Peter RussellPeter Russell

Professor of Biology Emeritus

Reed College
Biology Department
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202

Office: B140
Tel: 503-777-7220

Professional Information

B.Sc., University of Sussex in Biology, 1968.

Ph.D., Cornell University in Genetics, 1972.

Biology faculty of Reed College, 1972–2011. Specialties: genetics and molecular genetics.

Professor of Biology Emeritus, 2011-present.


I taught an upper-division genetics lecture/laboratory course, a molecular biology of the gene seminar course, a molecular virology seminar course, and advised senior thesis research students and independent research students.

Related to my teaching, I am the author of a genetics textbook that has gone through eight editions. The present edition is iGENETICS: A MOLECULAR APPROACH (3e) ((c) 2010, Pearson–Benjamin/Cummings). A related version is iGENETICS: A MENDELIAN APPROACH (1e) ( (c) 2006, Pearson–Benjamin/Cummings). I am also one of the authors of an introductory biology textbook, BIOLOGY: A DYNAMIC SCIENCE (3e), by Peter Russell, Paul Hertz, and Beverly McMillan ((c) 2014, Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning). Covers of the books are below.

iGenetics (3e) cover
iGenetics (3e)
iGenetics (1e) cover
iGenetics (1e)
Biology (3e) cover
Biology (3e)


Research Project

We were a molecular genetics lab using budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model host to identify and characterize host genes involved in pathogenic RNA plant virus gene expression and replication.

Our general research goal was to obtain an understanding of virus-host interactions at the molecular level. We studied Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), which is a plant pathogenic, single-stranded RNA virus. Our primary research focuses were: 1) to identify and characterize host genes for the virus sequence-programmed stop-codon readthrough event involved in expression of the capsid proteins of this virus; and 2) to establish a replication system in yeast with which to identify host gene for viral genome replication.

Selected Senior Theses

AHLQUIST, KAILEIGH. Replication of the Barley yellow dwarf virus in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

LYON, ANDREW. Expression and replication of Barley yellow dwarf virus RNA replicons in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

BOND, RACHEL. Promoter-regulated effects of TIS11 overexpression on the rate of Barley yellow dwarf virus stop codon readthrough in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

CAMPBELL, AMY. The effect of mutated host ribosomal protein genes on Barley yellow dwarf virus stop codon readthrough in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.