• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Genetics, Biology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Susan Howitt
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

Genetics underpins many contemporary social issues in health and agriculture. Modern biology has been transformed by DNA sequencing of full genomes and the application of recombinant DNA technology to a range of problems, including inherited disease, cancer biology and drug development, evolution of pandemics, development of better crops, antibiotic action for example. Applying and evaluating genetic technologies relies on an understanding of the principles of molecular genetics, which will be covered in this course.


This course introduces the molecular mechanisms involved in the storage and expression of genetic information in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Topics to be covered include: genome structure and evolution, DNA structure and packaging; DNA replication and repair; transcription; regulation of gene expression; RNA processing; protein synthesis and the genetic code. These processes will be illustrated with case studies, ranging from the human genome and genetic disease to genetically modified crops.


The course includes a lab project that reinforces lecture material and introduces students to key strategies and techniques of molecular genetics.


Honours pathway option (HPO)

The honours pathway option is open to all students and involves participation in PeerWise, a web-based activity where students create, answer, rate and discuss multiple choice questions based on the course content. To qualify for the HPO, a minimum number of questions and comments must be posted.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain the basic processes involved in the expression of genetic information (DNA replication; mutagenesis and DNA repair; mRNA transcription and processing; gene regulation; protein synthesis; genome structure and evolution)
  2. Apply knowledge of the roles and functions of these processes to a range of problems and examples
  3. Predict outcomes when these processes are perturbed by mutation (genetic disease) or the use of inhibitors and drugs
  4. Elucidate differences in gene organization between prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  5. Interpret and analyse experimental and theoretical problems involving these processes
  6. Communicate experimental results and conclusions in a scientific manner.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Laboratory reports to apply knowledge to experimental/theoretical problem (35) [LO 2,3,5,6]
  2. Tutorial tests to demonstrate mastery and understanding of content (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Final exam to demonstrate understanding, interpretation and problem solving (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures per week (total 36 hours). 6 x 3 hours of practical sessions throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 70 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions, both online and face-to-face.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you will need to successfully complete (BIOL1003 and BIOL1004 and CHEM1101) . OR obtain at least a Credit in (CHEM1101 and either BIOL1003 or BIOL1004). You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL6161.

Prescribed Texts

Genetics: a conceptual approach. (2017) Pierce, B. 6th edition


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3329 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person N/A

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