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Module titleGenetics
Module codeBIO1334
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Bonnie Fraser (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Genetics is fundamental to understanding life sciences. In this module you will gain an understanding of how information is stored and inherited in living organisms. You will consider genetics from the perspectives of DNA structure, gene expression, genome replication, heredity, genes in populations, and evolution. Modern techniques in DNA sequencing and the exploration of gene diversity will be introduced, with examples from humans and other organisms. In laboratory practicals you will prepare and analyse your own DNA, testing the Out-of-Africa hypothesis of human evolution.

In order to take BIO1334 you must normally have an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces core concepts in genetics. Genetics will be approached from the perspective of molecules, cells, individuals and populations. Genetics is fundamental to any understanding of the biosciences and underpins any degree in the subject. In particular, this module aims to provide you with knowledge and understanding that will enable you to take second and final year modules in genetics, molecular biology, genomics, and evolution.

Graduate attributes: This module will develop your team-work skills through group practical work and problem-solving.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain how information is stored and expressed in cells
  • 2. Summarise the molecular basis of variation and mutation, of inheritance of genes and characteristics, of genetic recombination, and the tools of genetic analysis
  • 3. Describe the behaviour of genes in populations and how this contributes to adaptation in an evolutionary context
  • 4. Solve genetics problems

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate knowledge of essential facts and theory in a sub-discipline of the biosciences
  • 6. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of genetics and research articles
  • 7. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate ideas effectively by written means
  • 9. Show skills for independent study
  • 10. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals and the internet
  • 11. Interact effectively in a group

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The discovery of DNA and RNA; structure of bases, nucleotides and polynucleotides; evidence for function of DNA as genetic material; evidence for DNA structure; implications of DNA structure; general structure of RNA; survey of types of RNA; general aspects of RNA synthesis; the genetic code; synthesis and processing of mRNA; rRNA and ribosomes; tRNA. Genome organisation and replication. Control of gene expression. Recombinant DNA and genetic engineering.

The differences between phenotype and genotype, and the way in which phenotype is affected by both genetic and environmental effects. The analysis of major genetic differences in eukaryotes, including linkage, sex linkage and epistasis. The statistical analysis of segregation ratios. Extrachromosomal inheritance. Epigenetics.

Population genetics: the concept of the gene pool, genetic landscape and the Hardy-Weinberg law; changes in gene frequency by selection and drift; neutral and Darwinian evolution; adaptation and evolution.

Practical sessions will reinforce concepts covered in lectures, emphasising the nature of scientific enquiry.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Laboratory practicals (4 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lab-based drop-in feedback/recap/Q&A sessions (5 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study20Practical writing-up
Guided Independent Study4Virtual learning environment tasks
Guided Independent Study57Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided Independent Study30Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Virtual learning environment tasks4 x 1 hour1-7, 9, 10Online
MCQ test1 hour1-2, 4-5, 9-10Online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group problems30One set of problems1-11Written plus online model answers
MCQ examination701 hour1-5, 9-10Model answers


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group practical problemsNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
MCQ examinationMCQ examination1-5, 9-10August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The group problems are not deferrable because of their group-work nature. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Campbell NA, Reece JB (2008) Biology, 8th Ed. Pearson. ISBN 0-321-53616-7/0-321-53616-9

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page:

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Russell PJ (2010) iGenetics: A Molecular Approach (3rd edition), Pearson
  • Alberts B et al. (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th edition), Garland Science. ISBN 9780815344322

Key words search

Adaptation, chromosome, Darwin, DNA, DNA sequencing, epigenetics, evolution, gene, gene cloning, genetic engineering, genetic modification, genetics, genome, genomics, genotype, heredity, Mendel, mutation, phenotype, recombinant DNA, recombination, RNA, transgenic, variation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date