top of page


Course Breakdown


Mid-semester test: 35%
Laboratory Component: 25%
Exam: 40%

Course Information


There is no prescribed textbook but there are recommended textbooks as well as readings that the lecturers will provide on their respective slides. These are not essential however they are useful if you require further explanation or just for interest. This course requires a pass in both the practical and theory components to achieve an overall pass like many other science papers.

Basic Information

This course builds on BIOSCI201 and especially BIOSCI202. You will learn how traits are inherited and how this information can be applied to manipulate biological systems for agricultural and commercial use. Genetic mapping and mutation discovery as well as some basic gene therapy techniques are among some of the things that are covered in this course. In 2023 the mid-semester test was restricted lite and the exam was open book in person.


Laboratory Component

The labs are extremely easy and are made so that you can easily obtain full marks. Make sure to do a bit of pre-reading on the lab material and stay up to date with lectures to get the most out of the lab as it is a practical application of the theory learned in the lectures. The TA’s most of the time will literally just give you the answer if you ask for it indirectly or they will guide your thinking towards the right direction.


Lecture Content

Determining the Genetic Basis of Phenotypes

This module is taken by Associate Professor Anna Santure. She talks quite fast so it’s a good idea to have a pre-read of the notes before the lecture, annotate on top of the slides or have the slides pre-typed in notion or docs if that’s what you prefer. This part of the course is focused on how genetic variants cause differences in phenotypes and how these variants are located and identified. There are 3 main examples that will be covered – coat colour in mice, horns in soay sheep and dog breeds.


plant molecular Genetics

This module is taken by Professor Jo Putteril. As the name states, it has a focus on plant genomes and the methods that we use to manipulate and genetically engineer them for agricultural and commercial use. Just like with any genetics, there is also a portion on ethics and regulation.

APplication of molecular genetics

Professor Russel Snell is in charge of this module. He sometimes goes on tangents talking about his own work with Alzheimer’s sheep models which is somewhat relevant. He also has these quirky sayings which help you when you are studying for this section. His module is about gene discovery and diagnostics – taking you through the techniques and tools that are used by scientists to discover genes and test for their effects. This transitions into how it is applied in a medical and curative context in identifying genetic diseases and gene therapies.

human genetics research

The course coordinator Dr. Jessie Jacobsen takes this module. It is a continuation on the previous module and starts off looking at chromosomal rearrangements and disease and then moves into specific genetic conditions and how they are clinically managed.

assessing gene function

Dr. Hilary Sheppard talks you through how gene function is assessed in vitro, in vivo and in organoids. The latter half of her module goes over CRISPR and gene ethics.

(Updated in 2024)

bottom of page