BI1BC2-Genes and Chromosomes

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Bicknell


Summary module description:
This module aims to equip students from all disciplines using biology with enough understanding of genetics and genetic tools to begin to understand its application in each specialism.

This module aims to equip students from all disciplines using biology with enough understanding of genetics and genetic tools to begin to understand its application in each specialism.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Describe the structure of nucleic acids and explain the significance of their structure in replication and transfer of genetic information.
Transcribe and subsequently translate a DNA sequence to a polypeptide sequence with the aid of a table of genetic codings.
Explain the basic principles of genetic engineering and demonstrate how this knowledge has revolutionised biology.
Describe how DNA may be sequenced and how sequences may be used in a restricted range of inferential contexts.
Infer a restriction map of a plasmid from fragment length measurements after digestion.
Provide an explanation of the basic principles of gene regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
Solve simple problems in mendelian genetic inference
Understand inheritance patterns of autosomal, sex-linked and cytoplasmic genes
Infer simple genetic maps in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
Recognise, name, and describe the function of cell structures involved in inheritance in eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Describe meiosis and its differences from mitosis
Explain the process of evolution by natural selection, with examples
Predict the consequences of simple experiments on genetic control
Describe the composition of the human genome and its similarities and dissimilarities to other sequenced genomes.
Interpret electrophoresis gels, determine genotypes of individuals at polymorphic loci and make inferences about relationships between individuals.
Calculate allele frequencies from genotype frequencies.
Explain what a phylogeny is.

Additional outcomes:
Much of the content of the module is taught via self-directed learning and thus encourages students to learn independently and ask for help when they judge it necessary, rather than just rely on material presented in lectures. The module, therefore, builds independence, study skills and the ability to apply knowledge to novel problems and questions.

Outline content:
Structure of nucleic acids and the role of DNA as an informational molecule. Replication
Organisation of DNA into genes in eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Organisation of genes into chromosomes in eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Genetic tools and how they work: PCR, transformation, sequencing DNA.
Transcription of information from DNA into RNA, physical organisation of genes, export and processing of mRNA; translation of RNA into protein, Genetic code.
Lac and Trp operons in bacteria and basic differences in gene regulation between pro and eukaryotes. Control elements/regions in the DNA, chemical modification of DNA as a control mechanism.
The molecular mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of sex and recombination.
Inference about inheritance in diploid eukaryotes using controlled crosses and pedigrees.
Inheritance patterns of multiple traits, linkage of genetic loci on chromosomes in eukaryotes, the concept of a genetic map; sex-linked traits.
The human genome and how it was sequenced, genome structure and genome evolution.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Directed reading will be set each week from the recommended course text followed by a lecture to address issues (students provide the questions) and supplement the reading material e.g. experimental detail. Understanding of the material tested by means of a weekly online test. Practical classes introduce important techniques for working with nucleic acids and support taught material. Drop-in tutorials to support learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Practicals classes and workshops 8.5
Guided independent study 66.5 15
Total hours by term 85.00 15.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Class test administered by School 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Coursework: Directed reading: 9 x 30/40 min multi-choice/short answer Blackboard tests (18% coursework mark)
Practicals: 2 x 30 min multi-choice/short answer Blackboard tests (12% coursework mark).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    Multi-choice paper, requiring 50 answers in one-and-a-half hours.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall and 40% in the written examination is required.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August/September

    Last updated: 8 January 2015

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