BLGY1232 Introduction to Genetics

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  • Taught: Semester 2 View timetable
  • Credits: 10
  • Class Size: 400
  • Module Manager: Dr Andrew Cuming
  • Email:
  • Pre-Requisite Qualifications: A level Biology or equivalent
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module
  • This module replaces BLGY1231

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

Genetics is all you wanted to know about sex but never dared to ask!

  • - What makes us human?
  • - What makes us individual?
  • - How different are we from each other?
  • - How similar are we to other species?
  • - Only Genetics provides the answers.

We - and all other living organisms - are the product of the genetic information we contain. We pass that information on from one generation to the next in ever-changing combinations.
This module describes the nature of the genetic material - DNA - and how it is transmitted from parents to offspring. The form and function of living organisms is determined by the genetic information they contain, and how that genetic information is interpreted.
The diversity of living organisms derives from how their genetic content has changed, over hundreds of millions of years.
We examine the way in which the genetic material encodes biological information, how that information is replicated and how it is expressed in a regulated manner within organisms. We also examine the technologies that allow us to isolate individual genes, sequence them, manipulate them, and analyse whole genomes.
If you have a good understanding of Biology, are curious about the secrets of life and are ready for an intellectual challenge, then this module is for you.


The module provides an introduction to genetics with particular emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms, and covers the principle features of the transmission, replication, modification and expression of genetic information in prokaryotes and their viruses, and in eukaryotes.
Subjects covered include:

  • - the replication of DNA
  • - the modification of DNA by recombination, by mutation, by transposition and in the laboratory
  • - patterns of inheritance in bacteria
  • - in viruses
  • - in eukaryotic microbes and in higher organisms (including humans), gene/environment interactions
  • - the regulation of gene expression in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes
  • - genetic switches
  • - the genetic regulation of development.

The module introduces the basic methods used in genetic engineering and molecular genetic analysis.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to:

  • - have a basic knowledge of inheritance in prokaryotes, eukaryotes and their viruses at the molecular, cellular and organismal


  • - understand the experimental basis of key genetic conclusions.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
In-course MCQ 30 question MCQ 10
In-course MCQ 30 question MCQ 10
Problem Sheet Analysis of genetic data 10
Problem Sheet Analysis of genetic data 10
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 40


Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) 1 hr 30 mins 60
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 60

Private Study

68 hours - recommended reading around lecture material, preparation for in-course assessments, workshops and preparation for the exam.

Progress Monitoring

Two in-course assessments, and two problem solving exercises will assess student performance during the course.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Lecture 32 1 32
Private Study Hours 68
Total Contact Hours 32
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 100

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