• Class Number 2794
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Brendan McMorran
    • Dr Julia Ellyard
    • Azure Hermes
    • Dr Hardip Patel
    • Jennifer Hogan
    • Prof Ruth Arkell
    • Dr Simon Jiang
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to new discoveries in areas of importance to our understanding of human genetics and disease. Fuelled by sequencing of the human genome and new methods of investigating biological function, research into the genetic and molecular causes of human disease is advancing at a rapid pace. We will examine not only the genetic abnormalities underlying human disease and disorders but also the breakdown in physiological processes and molecular biology caused by the genetic lesion. We will look at how this knowledge can lead to new disease treatments and to personalised precision medicine. We will also explore some of the societal issues raised by new technologies and treatments. We will cover topics including:

• Fundamental concepts in human genetics

• Fundamental concepts in heredity and genomic medicine

• Genetic variation in individuals

• Genetic variation in populations

• Molecular basis of genetic disease


Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain fundamental concepts in heredity, human genetics and genomic medicine using specific disease examples and appreciate the duties, responsibilities and challenges facing the professionals who perform these analyses
  2. Explain how variation in the coding and non-coding components of the human genome that can result in genetic disease
  3. Discuss how the latest advances in genomic technologies and how they can be applied to disease gene identification and precision medicine
  4. Predict how environmental factors can contribute to genetic disease
  5. Explain and evaluate the importance of model organisms and systems to our investigation of basic principles in human genetics
  6. Explain and evaluate the societal issues raised by new genetic technologies and treatments
  7. Identify and navigate relevant literature, specialised web sites and databases used for research into human genetics and use these sources to develop and test hypotheses in the field of human genetics
  8. Evaluate, synthesise and critically review literature describing recent research into human genetics

Research-Led Teaching

Practical classes use techniques and data from research projects and require the same active learning techniques used in a research setting.

Lectures provided by ANU researchers and Canberra Hospital staff with examples based around their research and/or health role.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

Permitted materials: Non-programmable Calculator

Recommended Textbooks:

Genetics: a conceptual approach.

6th Edition 2017, Benjamin A Pierce.     

Genetics: A Conceptual Approach

Thompson & Thompson Genetics in Medicine 8th Edition 2015

Authors: Robert Nussbaum Roderick McInnes Huntington Willard

Thompson & Thompson Genetics in Medicine - 8th Edition - ISBN: 9781437706963, 9780323392020

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Via the feedback function of Turnitin
  • Face-to-face discssion with assessment marker at student drop-in sessions

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course structure weeks 1-12:
  • 2-3 lectures per week;
  • 6 computer practicals (up to 3 hours each);

Optional student drop-in session (up to 1 hour per week). Student driven content in which demonstrators and conveners are available to clarify assignment tasks, assignment feedback and lecture content.
Take home assignments corresponding to practicals.Online multiple choice questions linked to lecture topics.Written reflection linked to one lecture topic.End of semester exam in exam period.

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assignment 1 (corresponding to practical class 1, 2 and 3) 20 % 19/03/2024 31/03/2024 1,2,3,6,7,8
Assignment 2 (corresponding to practical class 4, 5 and 6) 20 % 14/05/2024 24/05/2024 1,2,3,4,5,6
Lecture topic multiple choice questions 10 % * * 1,2,4,5,8
Written reflection 10 % 23/04/2024 17/05/2024 3,6
Final Exam 40 % * * 1,2,4,5,8

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Attendance will be taken at the practical classes, and whilst not compulsory, it is strongly encouraged. These classes are a important part of the course learning outcomes. If you do not attend a practical class you must complete the practical worksheet in your own time and submit to BIOL3204@anu.edu.au with the heading "PRACTICAL WORKSHEET SUBMISSION".


It is not necessary to pass the exam to pass the course.

Permitted materials in all exams: Non-programmable Calculator

Further information on the exam format will be provided during the course.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 19/03/2024
Return of Assessment: 31/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6,7,8

Assignment 1 (corresponding to practical class 1, 2 and 3)

The assignment set will consist of written question/short answer based problems. Assignments will be made available on Wattle as far in advance of the corresponding practical class as is reasonably possible.

The assignment will be available approximately 2 weeks before the due date.

Due: 11.59 pm, 19 March 2024

Returned: before end of Term 1 (29 March)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 14/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 24/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Assignment 2 (corresponding to practical class 4, 5 and 6)

The assignment set will consist of written question/short answer based problems. Assignments will be made available on Wattle as far in advance of the corresponding practical class as is reasonably possible.

The assignment will be available approximately 2 weeks before the due date.

Due: 11.59 pm, 14 May 2024

Returned: before end of Term 2 (24 May)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,8

Lecture topic multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions addressing material covered in lectures will be set for each lecture topic (5 topics in the course). They will be made available online in Wattle as Quizzes on the Friday immediately after the conclusion of each lecture topic. The quiz will be open for 1 week. Specific due dates will be listed in the Course Schedule available on the course wattle page.

Due: 5pm Friday the week following conclusion of each lecture topic.

Returned: after the closure of each quiz.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 23/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 17/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 3,6

Written reflection

A 500 word written reflection on student's own opinions and thoughts raised after studying the research, ethical and societal issues concerning Indigenous people and the use and study of their genetic data. Guidelines and expectations for this item will be provided by convenors and topic lecturer on Wattle.

The written reflection question will be available approximately 3 weeks before the due date.

Due: 11.59 pm, 23 April, 2024

Returned: approximately 2 weeks after submission

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,8

Final Exam

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle or as agreed with the convenor for hard copy submissions.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not allowed.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Brendan McMorran

Research Interests

AsPr Brendan McMorran

By Appointment
Dr Julia Ellyard
6125 3519

Research Interests

Dr Julia Ellyard

Monday By Appointment
Azure Hermes

Research Interests

Azure Hermes

Sunday By Appointment
Dr Hardip Patel

Research Interests

Dr Hardip Patel

Sunday By Appointment
Jennifer Hogan

Research Interests

Jennifer Hogan

Sunday By Appointment
Prof Ruth Arkell

Research Interests

Prof Ruth Arkell

Sunday By Appointment
Dr Simon Jiang

Research Interests

Dr Simon Jiang

Sunday By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions