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BGM3062 : Genetics of Development and its Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Katarzyna Pirog
  • Lecturer: Dr Helen Phillips, Dr Steven Lisgo, Dr Colin Miles, Dr Bill Chaudhry, Professor John Sayer, Dr Gavin Clowry, Dr Michael Jackson, Professor Lyle Armstrong, Dr Matthew Leach
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims are:

•       to provide an overview of vertebrate development
•       to describe in more detail the development of several organ systems.
•       to identify key developmental processes and the genes and genetic pathways that are involved.
•       to consider how the same gene families are important in the development of multiple organs and that there are processes that are common to the development of many organs.
•       to consider the role of developmental genes in genetic disorders.

Outline Of Syllabus

Many human disorders have a developmental origin and knowledge of the processes underpinning development is an important step towards understanding gene function and disease mechanisms. As the normal and abnormal development of a range of model organisms is analysed as part of studies of gene function, this module will include information from several species, although it is focused on vertebrate development.

The module will provide an overview of key concepts in vertebrate development and a framework for understanding developmental research and its role in underpinning research on human genetic disorders.

The module syllabus will include:

•       establishment of the basic body plan
•       establishment and breaking of symmetry
•       development of organs derived from endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm covering their patterning and organization from stem cells to genetic disorders. Examples might be gut, kidney, limb, the hematopoietic system and the brain.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00In person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00Generation of research paper.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops14:004:00Working through online expression/development database - in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:301:30Workshop/seminar on ethics - In person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study167:3067:30Writing up lecture notes, revision and general reading.
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BGM3056Evolution and Genomics
BGM3058Integrated Genetics
BGM3061Genetic variation in common disease
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials will provide the majority of the knowledge base and should stimulate the students to reflect and do further reading (independent study).

Workshops 1) will expose the students to ethical concerns surrounding use of animals and human tissues in research 2) provide the key foundation for generation of the in course assessed research paper which they will complete as guided independent study.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602A70Invigilated timed exam; 100% essay (1 essay from choice of 2, 60 mins)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M30Written exercise, arising from use of developmental databases, 1,500 words maximum.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay question assesses the depth of understanding of one aspect of the module.

The research paper tests the ability to synthesize data from online resources, allows students to show further in-depth understanding of the topic, and critical evaluation skills.

Reading Lists