BIO1020 : Genetics and Evolution

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop a basic understanding of genetic principles and their application in biology.
To give an introduction to the concepts and principles of inheritance of genetic characters, their recombination and linkages.
To give a basic understanding of the genetic code and the replication of DNA.
To outline how genes are expressed into proteins, via transcription and translation.
To review the methods used to study the genetic material and how these methods are used in different applications.
To review the evidence for evolution from the fossil record, earth history, and comparisons of living organisms in terms of structure, function and genetic constitution.
To outline mechanisms for evolution, especially in terms of artificial and natural selection and genetic drift.
To explore the observational and experimental evidence for the role of these mechanisms in causing evolution.
This module provides the basis for other modules.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Introduction to the module: key elements of genetics and evolution.
•       Mitosis and meiosis: Cell cycle and chromosome replication.
•       Recombination and segregation, the basis of variability.
•       Transmission (Mendelian) Genetics: Key concepts and vocabulary.
•       Molecular genetics: Introduction to molecular genetics, DNA structure, Genomes, packaging of DNA, DNA replication.
•       DNA-RNA-Protein: The process of protein synthesis, transcription, structure of RNA, RNA processing in eukaryotes, Architecture of eukaryotic genes, functional importance of processing events.
•       Translation: Ribosome structure, RNA molecules, mechanism of protein synthesis.
•       Regulation of gene expression, Eukaryotic regulation.
•       Analytical techniques in molecular genetics and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).
•       Recombinant DNA technology: Components of the technology and applications.
•       Genome size and evolution.
•       The origin and evolutionary characteristics of chloroplasts and mitochondria..
•       Molecular clocks and molecular evolution.
•       Molecular evolution and phylogeny.
•       Phylogenetic trees.
•       Mass extinctions, Earth history.
•       Human evolution.
•       Evolution by selection and drift.
•       Natural selection.
•       Causes of evolution, adaptive radiation, rates of evolution.
•       The nature of variation and evolution without selection.
•       Special types of selection and constraints on adaptation
•       Speciation mechanisms.
•       Sympatric speciation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion26:0012:00Completion of Lab report worksheets and computer test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion300:3015:00Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Completion of workshop problem solving exercise (Blackboard)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Completion of computer test (Blackboard) Evolution test
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading301:0030:00Post-lecture directed reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00Study of ReCap, Blackboard etc. to enhance understanding
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00Lecture follow- up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study23:006:00Data analysis /problem solving
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0021:00Consolidation of knowledge and skills
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce the vocabulary of genetics and describe the principles and practices involved in cytogenetics, transmission genetics, molecular genetics and explain the key mechanisms of evolution and how to study them. The workshop sessions encourages students to apply their knowledge of transmission genetics in solving genetics problems and understanding the basic mechanisms of evolution. Students are encouraged to use the Life website to benefit from the support material provided including tests and animated tutorials. Students are steered towards readings centred on and around the Life textbook (Purves et al.). The practical sessions will help students to understand the concepts, techniques and methods of molecular genetics in greater detail and learn how to implement some of them by allowing them to complete practical tasks and watch demonstrations; the evolution lab which uses the museum resources aims at demonstrating the results of key evolutionary processes.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M15Lab Assessment - Report (max. 2000 words)
Computer assessment2M15Computer Test
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MComputer test (Blackboard) Evolution test
Prob solv exercises2MWorkshop Problem solving exercise (Blackboard)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative workshop exercise gives students a chance to test their problem solving skills during the semester. The examination and computer tests (both formative and summative) test the knowledge and understanding of information delivered in the lectures, workshop and practicals. The lab report assesses the skills of data collection, analysis and reporting.

Reading Lists