BSc Zoology with Industrial/Professional Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Organismal Genetics

Unit code BIOL21371
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

The aim of this unit is to provide you with a deeper understanding of fundamental genetic concepts. Specifically, emphasis will be placed on understanding the analysis of mutant phenotypes generated through various genetic manipulations in a wide range of organisms to determine gene function. This unit provides a foundation for further study in any discipline.

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Molecular Biology BIOL10221 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Aims

The aim of this unit is to provide students with a deeper understanding of fundamental genetic concepts. Specifically, emphasis will be placed on understanding the analysis of mutant phenotypes generated through various genetic manipulations in a wide range of eukaryotic organisms to determine gene function, providing a foundation for further study in any discipline.

Learning outcomes

After completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • describe model systems used in the study of genetics
  • understand different types of mutant alleles
  • link genotype and phenotype variations
  • understand how genetic manipulations aid in dissecting gene function
  • describe approaches used to investigate human genetic disease
  • understand how genetic approaches are integrated with other biochemical, physiological and developmental analyses to facilitate the uncovering of biological mechanism and its relevance to the whole organism.

Syllabus

  • Genomic Alterations: Introduction to large-scale chromosomal rearrangements, the concepts of ploidy, dosage balance, duplication events and hybrid organisms. These lectures will feature examples from species such as yeast, plants, and worms to compare methodologies for dissecting gene function and genome conservation.
  • Genetic Analysis: These lectures will examine the ways in which gene function can be determined through genetic experimentation. Both loss of function and gain of function approaches will be explored. Examples from a variety of organisms will be covered.
  • Complex Traits: Examples of non-Mendelian phenotypes and effects of multiple genes on phenotypes will be presented, with an example of mouse models of human diseases.
  • Alleles and Genetic Interactions: These lectures will examine how varied mutations affect gene function and discuss specific genetic reagents for the study of allele series and somatic mutations. Specific examples of using genetic approaches to identify signalling pathways and understand brain function will be discussed.
  • Fitness, Epistasis, and Plasticity: The concepts of genetic interactions, copy number variations, and genotype-environment interactions will be presented.
  • Human Genetics: Specific genetic approaches used in the study of human disease and human genetic variation will be discussed. Future challenges to identify genetic contributions to human disease will be explored.

e-Learning Activity

There are 5 ePBL scenarios in which the student assumes the role of a genetics researcher to perform virtual genetics experiments and interpret data. Each scenario has quiz questions with feedback provided for incorrect answers. Completion of each scenario within the specified time period achieves 1% of unit marks.

 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students work through virtual experimental scenarios to solve problems.
Group/team working
Students work in groups to produce poster for presentation.
Innovation/creativity
Poster group work relies on students choosing topic and presenting information in visually appealing manner.
Leadership
Poster group work allows students to take ownership of their project.
Project management
Students work in groups to produce poster for presentation.
Oral communication
Students answer questions relating to their poster at an in-class poster session.
Problem solving
Students work through virtual experimental scenarios to solve problems.
Written communication
Students answer exam questions in short-answer and essay format.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 85%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%
Set exercise 5%

1.5 hour written examination (85%), consisting of 2 sections, each worth 50% of exam marks.  Section 1 will consist of 4 compulsory short answer questions.  Section 2 will be the choice of 1 essay title out of 4 titles provided.

In-class poster session (10%) where students work in groups of 5-7 based on their degree programme. Students compile a poster based on a minimum of two research papers, and then attend the posters session in person, where they individually answer questions from a member of academic staff based on the group poster that they have completed.

Completion of online ePBL exercises (5%) which include virtual genetics experimental scenarios and quiz questions embedded throughout the scenario. Students receive credit for each scenario completed.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided to students on their group work by written comments on marking sheets and direct dialogue with instructors at the in-class poster session. Individual feedback is provided by completion of the ePBL scenarios, which have quiz questions embedded within the ePBL with feedback for incorrect answers. Individual feedback is also offered from self-marking of the in-class mock exam according to the marking criteria provided.

Recommended reading

  • Griffiths AJF, Wessler SR, Carroll SB & Doebley J (2015) Introduction to Genetic Analysis (11th ed.). WH Freeman (Recommended)
     
  • Meneely, P (2009) Advanced Genetic Analysis: Genes, Genomes & Networks in Eukaryotes. Oxford University Press (Recommended)

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathryn Hentges Unit coordinator

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