GENETICS 3111 - Genes, Genomes and Molecular Evolution III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

The DNA molecules that comprise the informational basis of inheritance in living organisms are collectively referred to as the genome. In this course the organisation, origin and mechanisms of change of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes are explored using cytogenetic and molecular genetic analyses. Topics include - structure and function of genomes and chromosomes; chromosomes in disease; the roles of natural selection and chance as drivers of molecular evolution.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GENETICS 3111
    Course Genes, Genomes and Molecular Evolution III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 19 hours per fortnight
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites GENETICS 2510 & GENETICS 2520 or equivalent
    Incompatible GENETICS 3110
    Assessment Exam, practical component, written reports
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Frank Grutzner

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Knowledge at an advanced level of: the origin, structure, function and evolution of genomes and chromosomes; molecular phylogenetics; and the roles of chance, mutation and natural selection in evolution at the molecular genetic level
    2 The ability to interpret the primary scientific literature in cytogenetics and evolutionary genetics.
    3 Application and integration of knowledge specified in 1 through microscopy techniques and computational methods
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    1, 3

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1, 2, 3

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1, 3
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    This course will require the following texts and other resources:
    1. Copies of scientific papers (supplied by the lecturers)
    2. Practical manuals (supplied by lecturers)
    3. Practical Laboratories and computer suites
    4. Scientific equipment
    5. Lecture theatres and tutorial rooms
    6. Access to University Library
    7. Access to computers and internet
    8. Students must supply laboratory coat and safety glasses for their own use
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Every week, there will be 3 lectures supported by 1 tutorial that developes material covered in lectures and one or two practicals that also develop material covered in lectures.

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

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary

    Chromosome Structure and Evolution

    1. Overview – Chromosome Analysis
    2. Centromeres and Telomeres
    3. Metaphase and Interphase
    4. Meiosis
    5. Histone Code
    6. Chromosome Evolution
    7. Sex Chromosomes in Monotremes I
    8. Sex Chromosomes in Monotremes II

    Evolutionary Genetics

    1. Genetic Distance
    2. Inferring Trees - UPGMa
    3. Inferring Trees – Neighbour-Joining

    Genetic Drift

    1. A First Look
    2. The Decay of Heterozygosity
    3. Mutation & Drift

    Molecular Evolution

    1. The Rate of Substitution & the Neutral Theory
    2. Natural Selection & Genetic Drift
    3. Natural Selection & Molecular Evolution

    Two-Locus Dynamics

    1. Linkage Disequilibrium
    2. Two-Locus Selection - Genetic Hitchhiking
    3. Two-Locus Selection - Clonal Interference

    The Evolution of Sex and Sexes

    1. The Evolution of Sex I - Hill Robertson Interference
    2. The Evolution of Sex II - The Red Queen Hypothesis
    3. The Evolution of Sexes

    Senescence, Kin Selection & Genomic Imprinting

    1. The Evolution of Senescence
    2. Kin Selection
    3. Genomic Imprinting

     Tutorials and Practicals are coordinated with lectures.

  • 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 Task Type Weighting Hurdle
    Yes or No
    Learning Outcome

    Approximate timing of

    (week of teaching period)
    Quiz 1 Summative 12.5% No 1, 2 Week 3
    Quiz 2 Summative 12.5% No 1, 2 Week 6
    Theory Examination Summative 25% No 1,2 Week 13
    Practical reports Formative & Summative 50% No 1,2, 3 Weeks 1-12
    Assessment Detail
    Quizzes (total of 25%)

    Students will complete a total of 2 online quizzes during semester (worth 12.5% each). Quizzes will consist of multiple choice,
    true/false, numerical and short answer questions.

    Theory Exam (25%)

    The final 2-hour theory exam will examine the components in the second half of the semester. It will consist of multiple choice, numerical, short answer and long answer questions.

    Practical Reports (50%)

    Practical reports will be assigned throughout the semester (Weeks 1-12) with the frequency depending on the specific pracs

    Late submission of assessments  

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    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.

  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.