ANAT SC 3102 - Comparative Reproductive Biology of Mammals III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

The course provides an overview of mammalian reproductive biological processes with an emphasis on the diversity of reproductive mechanisms that have evolved in placental, marsupial, and monotreme mammals. The lecture topics include sex determination and sex differentiation, development of the gonads, gonadal ducts and external genitalia, the differentiation, and dynamics of production, of the male and female gametes together with changes that occur to the spermatozoon during transit of the male and female genital ducts. The cell and molecular biology of sperm-egg interactions at the time of fertilisation are then given, followed by the processes involved in egg activation and differentiation of the early embryo. Macromorphological and cellular changes associated with implantation, placentation and lactation in various groups of mammals are then covered. This is followed by an overview of the causation of, and ways of overcoming, sub- and infertility in the human species. Finally an outline of the biological principles underlying contraceptive technology, and the application of assisted reproductive technology to the conservation of rare and endangered species of placental and marsupial mammals is given. Tutorials cover a variety of reproductive biological topics ranging from an overview of the biology of carcinoma of the prostate gland and breast in the human to the unique reproductive biology of the echidna. For practical work students carry out a research project that involves hypothesis testing and utilises a variety of light and electron microscopical techniques - the latter in Adelaide Microscopy. Students who undertake this course will obtain background knowledge that will ideally suit them for future courses in either reproductive health or in wildlife biology.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ANAT SC 3102
    Course Comparative Reproductive Biology of Mammals III
    Coordinating Unit Medical Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge ANAT SC 2109 or ANAT SC 2500 or ANAT SC 2200 or ANAT SC 2501
    Assessment Mid semester test 10%, written exam 60%, project/essay 25%, tutorial participation 5%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Eleanor Peirce

    Course Coordinator:

    Dr Eleanor Peirce
    Phone: +61 8 8313 5191
    Location: Room N131b, level 1, Medical School North

    In addition to the course coordinator, the following people contribute to teaching.

    Lecture & Seminar Presenters

    Emeritus Prof Bill Breed
    Phone: +61 8  8313 5743
    Location: Room N120, level 1, Medical School North

    Prof Lisa Butler (SAHMRI)
    Phone: +61 8 8128 4360

    Dr Frank Grutzner
    Phone: +61 8 8313

    Assoc Prof Wendy Ingman (QEH)
    Phone: +61 8 8222 6141

    Dr Greg Johnston (Nature Foundation SA)

    Dr Michelle Lane
    Phone: +61 8  8313 8176

    Dr Nicole McPherson
    Phone: +61 8  8313 8201

    Dr Ian Musgrave
    Phone: +61 8  8313 3905

    Assoc Pro Mark Nottle
    Phone: +61 8 8383 4087

    Ms Diana Payne

    Prof Claire Roberts
    Phone: +61 8  8313 3118

    Prof Sarah Robertson
    Phone: +61 8  8313 4094

    Prof Ray Rodgers
    Phone: +61 8  8313 3932

    Dr Gerard Tarulli
    Phone: +61 8  8222 3240

    Tutor/Project Supervisor:

    Hanna McLennan
    Phone: +61 8 8313 8182

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understand the basic science and concepts underpinning comparative mammalian reproductive biology.
    2 Gain knowledge and understanding of the morphology, cell biology and function of mammalian reproductive organs (gonads, reproductive tracts, accessory glands) and gametes, and events of fertilisation, implantation, placentation and early embryonic development.
    3 Explain how knowledge of reproductive processes can be applied to contraceptive practices, population control and management of sub/infertility, and assist in the development of technologies appropriate for conserving rare and endangered mammal species and maximising livestock production.
    4 Understand how knowledge of reproductive biology informs new approaches to the treatment and/or prevention of reproductive disorders and diseases including fetal rejection, breast and prostate cancers.
    5 Demonstrate skills in planning and conducting a research project, including interpretation and critical analysis of existing literature, hypothesis formulation and testing, use of appropriate methods, appropriate time management, and production of a research paper incorporating appropriate reproductive biology terminology and referencing of sources.
    6 Demonstrate awareness of the skills and values required to work in the field of human reproductive health and animal reproduction.
    7 Develop competence in the use of various microscopical techniques.
    8 Work collaboratively in groups, and individually, in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and effectively communicate outcomes to others.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 2, 3, 4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5, 8
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    5, 6, 7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5, 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    M H Johnson (2013) Essential Reproduction 7th Edition. Publisher - Blackwell, Oxford
    Recommended Resources
    C R Austin & R V Short (1982) Reproduction in Mammals, Second edition, Volumes 1 – 3. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
    Online Learning
    All resources for the course (course and assessment timelines, lecture and tutorial notes, links to essential and extension readings etc.) can be accessed via MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Course materials are presented via a series of lectures and tutorial/seminar classes, a number of which are led by researchers who are nationally and internationally renowned in their fields. The practical component of the course involves the preparation of a research proposal and subsequent conduct of a project related to a specific topic in reproductive biology. 

    Attendance and participation at the tutorials/seminars and the submission of a written research report at the end of the project are essential for successful completion of this course. A short test is held after the mid-semester break, at which time students have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge of topics from the first half of the course and receive feedback, in preparation for the final examination.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Students are expected to carry out independent reading of research papers around the research topic of their project and to gain a comprehensive knowledge of that field so that they can put their research findings into context of what has already been published. They will be expected to write up the report of their project in the form of a research paper suitable for submission to a relevant scientific journal for publication. They should expect to spend at least 3-4 hours per week on their project work and an additional 1-2 hours per week undertaking reading of the scientific literature relevant to the project.

    In  addition to attending the tutorial/seminar classes and lectures (or viewing lectures via MyMedia), students should spend 3 hours per teaching week preparing for and revising course materials presented in these classes.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Lecture topics include:

    - What is reproduction?
    - Sex determination & differentiation in mammals abd evolution of sex determining mechanisms
    - Testis endocrine function -  steroid biosynthetic pathway and androgen control of spermatogenesis
    - Testis exocrine function - spermatogenesis and the development of sperm form during spermiogenesis
    - Male germ cell dynamics - cycles and waves of the seminiferous epithelium, efficiency of production and extratesticular sperm maturation
    - Clinical aspects of andrology
    - Accessory sex gland functions and sperm transport in the female tract
    - Oogenesis and ovarian follicular development
    - Ovary-pituitary-hypothalamic inter-relationships
    - Ovarian development, morphology and endocrine activity
    - Mammalian ovarian and uterine cycles; variations in length and control by various luteotrophic and luteolytic mechanisms
    - Sperm-egg interactions - egg coat penetration, sperm-oolemma binding and fusion, fertilisation and zygote formation
    - Early conceptus development and embryonic programming
    - Comparative aspects of early embryo development in eutherian and marsupial mammals
    - Reproductive technology & its application to (i) overcoming subfertility & infertility in humans, (ii) livestock breeding and maximising production and (iii) conservation of rare and endangered species of mammals
    - Immunology of reproduction and why the mother does not reject the fetus
    - Development of milk synthesis and secretion; lactation
    - Cell biology of breast and prostatic cancer
    - Comparative aspects of implantation and placentation in humans and other mammals
    - Control of fertility and biological basis of contraceptive technology

    Tutorial topics vary, but may include:

    - Support Workshops for the Research Project - writing a proposal, effective communication and presentation
    - The Red Queen Hypothesis
    - Sexual selection
    - Post-meiotic sperm development and evolution of sperm form
    - Evolution of oviparity and viviparity in mammals
    - Comparative aspects of gonad and gamete form and function
    - Lifestyle influences on male fertility
    - Monotreme reproduction and its seasonality
    - Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) of human eggs - its advantages and disadvantages
    - Australia’s future population trends and predictions on environmental sustainability (based on Australian Academy of Sciences video)

    Specific Course Requirements
    All students must actively participate in the Research Project component of the course.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    For the practical component of the course, small groups of students (maximum of 4 per group) will undertake a research project on some aspect of reproductive biology. A list of topics, that takes into account the resources and material available, is provided to students at the beginning of the course. The project will introduce students to the various stages of the research process, from the development of a research proposal, formulation of an hypothesis, and execution of a series of experiments to investigate the topic in hand, to critical evaluation of results, discussion of their significance in terms of the current literature, and the preparation of a research report in the form of a scientific paper. Typically the conduct of the research will involve the use of a variety of microscopical techniques that will be supervised by either the course coordinator or the tutors/teaching assistants.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Project proposal Formative N/A 1, 2, 5
    Midsemester test (on materials presented in weeks 1 to 6) Summative 10% 1, 2
    Tutorial/Seminar participation/key point summaries Summative  5% 1, 2, 6, 8
    Project  seminars (progress & final) Formative N/A 1, 2, 5, 6, 8
    Research report Summative 25% 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Final exam Summative 60% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Research Project Timeline:
    • Background reading and preparation of a draft research proposal - Weeks 1-3
    • Submission of draft research proposal - beginning of Week 4
    • Submission of revised research proposal - end of Week 4
    • Execution of research project  - Weeks 5-11 (including mid-semester break) - expected workload = 3-4 hours/student/week
    • Project progress seminar - week 8
    • Project final seminar (provides feedback opportunity prior to submission of final report) - week 12
    • Submission of final research report  - end of Week 13
    Assessment Detail
    Students will be assessed on their theoretical knowledge base in both the midsemester test and in the end of semester examination. Each student's ability to synthesise relevant literature, plan a research project and analyse data using relevant statistical methods will be assessed in the written research project submission at the completion of the semester.
    Tutorial activities/seminar analyses must be submitted online via MyUni by no later than 5.00pm Friday of the week in which the class is held unless otherwise stated.

    The final research report must be submitted online via MyUni by the advertised submission deadline. Reports submitted later than the advertised deadline (Week 13) will be marked "without prejudice", but marking penalties of 10% of the total available points per day (24 hour period or fraction thereof) will apply. An automatic zero mark will be applied after 7 days.
    The submission deadline time will be strictly enforced according to the digital time displayed in MyUni.  Weekends and public holidays ARE included as penalty days. Reports submitted to any location other than that specified will not be accepted. This includes submissions to personal staff email addresses.

    Note that submission dates may be extended under exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the Modified arrangements for coursework assessment policy. All circumstances that might prevent compliance with assessment deadlines (formative or summative), should be discussed at the earliest opportunity with the course coordinator, and a formal application for an extension should be submitted. Upon receipt of an application for extension, staff may:

    -    Refuse permission for extension, specifyingthe appropriate reason(s); or
    -    Grant permission for extension without penalty; or
    -    Grant permission for extension with a penalty as guided by the Modified arrangements for coursework assessment policy.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    All lectures will have a summary on MyUni and where possible the lectures will be recorded.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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