Genes, Cells & Evolution
University of Queensland
Area of Study
Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Genetics
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Host University Units2
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
OverviewCourse DescriptionStudents undertaking this course will examine the fundamental building blocks of life: cells and genes. We will explore the connections between physical processes at the molecular level and whole organism phenotype and identify how cellular, genetic and evolutionary processes affect everyday life.Course IntroductionCells and genetic material form the building blocks of life. This course will start by focussing on cells: examining the major domains of life (recognisable by their distinct cell types), introducing biologically important molecules and their roles in defining cell structure and function, considering metabolic energy flows, and finally inspecting the mechanics of cellular division and reproduction. Then we will examine how genetic information is encoded, copied and used to create proteins by various organisms (prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and viruses). Building upon this understanding of the mechanics of DNA copying and transcription, we will explore how these molecular and cellular processes yield whole organism phenotypes. And, conversely, using phenotypes as a starting point for observations, we will examine how the underlying molecular structures and cellular processes can be inferred. Then, we will consider how the relationships between molecular & cellular structures and organismal phenotypes influences evolutionary change, and we will discuss how evolution impacts our everyday lives. The course will close by introducing students to new insights being revealed by genomics and by illustrating the many ways that modern molecular biology and biotechnology use ?tools? taken from biological organisms.Examples in lectures, tutorials, practicals, online activities and assigned readings will draw on a wide range of experimental systems and will be related to contemporary issues in human health, agriculture, and biodiversity whenever possible. Practical exercises will support hands-on learning and allow students to gain authentic laboratory experience. Small group and peer-to-peer learning are an important part of the university experience and will be especially promoted during practicals and tutorials. Becoming a life-long learner requires developing skills in self-directed learning; the development of these skills will be supported by guided online activities and assigned readings.Attendance in practicals and tutorials is mandatory.Learning ObjectivesAfter successfully completing this course you should be able to:1. GENERIC SKILLS
2. MOLECULAR & CELLULAR BIOLOGY
- Identify and describe how cellular, genetic, and evolutionary processes impact everyday human life, including (but not limited to) effects on human health, agriculture, and biodiversity.
- Demonstrate proficiency in scientific communication by summarising and explaining (both orally and in writing) results or concepts taken from source materials (written, visual, or aural) prepared for scientists.
- Be able to formulate testable hypotheses and evaluate those hypotheses against empirical results.
3. GENES TO TRAITS
- Compare and contrast the diversity in molecular components and cellular structures across the three domains of life and describe examples of fundamental similarities arising from the common origin of life.
- Explain how cells are able to coordinate the basic molecular building blocks of life in order to divide, replicate, and survive.
4. INHERITANCE AND EVOLUTION
- Demonstrate understanding of the physical nature of the gene and molecular processes underlying the ?Central Dogma? of molecular biology.
- Compare and contrast the gene regulatory mechanisms between bacteria and eukaryotes.
Class Contact2 hours Lecture,3 hours Practical,1 hour Tutorial
- Describe how the physical packing of DNA (into linear or circular chromosomes or plasmids) and the associated mechanisms of DNA copying create observable patterns of phenotypic trait inheritance.
- Explain and compare processes contributing to genetic variability, including but not limited to: mutation, recombination, transformation, gene flow, horizontal gene transfer, gene and genome duplication, genetic drift, and natural selection.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Some courses may require additional fees.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.