BI3BH8-Mammalian Reproduction

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: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Phil Knight


Summary module description:

The aim of this course is to provide the student with a solid understanding of the reproductive process in mammals, including man. Through consideration of the fundamental features and properties of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in selected mammals the student will be in a position to understand how the reproductive process can be manipulated, to either suppress or enhance fertility.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. Describe and explain the functional anatomy of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in male and female mammals.
2. List and explain the major extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence the reproductive system.
3. Describe the mechanisms involved in sexual differentiation in mammals.
4. Compare and contrast gonadal function and its regulation in male and females.
5. Describe ovarian follicle development and discuss factors regulating the process.
6. Explain how cyclic ovarian function is regulated in female mammals and how it may be disrupted.
7. Compare and contrast the mechanism of maternal recognition of pregnancy in primates and domestic ruminants.
8. Recognise the interdependency between fundamental and applied science within the context of reproductive technology.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity:
1. to gain some experience of teamwork and to enhance oral presentation skills
2. to practise the skills associated with library information retrieval, gaining information from the www and specialist journals

Outline content:
Topics covered include: Hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad system; extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting the GnRH pulse generator; Male reproductive function including morphology of the testis and male reproductive tract, spermatogenesis, sperm maturation and capacitation, neuroendocrine control of testis function, role of testicular steroids and inhibin; sexual differentiation; female reproductive function including ovarian morphology, folliculogenesis, interaction of thecal and granulosa cells in steroidogenesis, oogenesis, mechanism of ovulation and corpus luteum formation, oestrous and menstrual cycles and their neuroendocrine control, establishment of pregnancy and rescue of the corpus luteum; Applied aspects of reproduction including contraception and assisted reproduction techniques; manipulation of reproduction using drugs, hormones and antibodies to either enhance or suppress fertility.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
There will be two 50 minute lectures each week. Students will be expected to supplement material covered in the lectures through directed reading (including primary research literature and specialist review articles). Three video-discussion sessions (1h) will also be scheduled during the course. In week 5 students will be asked to form groups (2-3 per group) each of which will be allocated a specific topic in applied reproductive biology to review and prepare a short (10 minute + 5 minute discussion) illustrated talk for presentation to the class in week 10 or 11.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Seminars 8
Guided independent study 76
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Group presentations will be peer-reviewed by fellow students and independently assessed by module convenor who will moderate final mark awarded to each group. Marks awarded to each group will be divided equally amongst group members

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor 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:
    A two-hour examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-sit examination, if necessary, to take place in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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