- Class Number 3930
- Term Code 3230
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Rod Peakall
- Prof Celeste Linde
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 21/02/2022
- Class End Date 27/05/2022
- Census Date 31/03/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
Have you ever watched a crime show on TV and wondered just how DNA forensic analysis really works? Does everyone really have a unique DNA fingerprint? Have you been tempted to spend $100 to get your own DNA tested? If so, did you know that your test results could help you to trace your ethnic background, find missing relatives and even help the police find a murderer? Have you ever wondered why you are a similar height to your siblings - is it because of your genes, or because of the environment you grew up in? Why do traits vary even when their underlying DNA sequence is exactly the same? What role does genetics play in your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes?
This course will introduce you to the principles of population, evolutionary and quantitative genetics. We do this by asking: what can we learn from DNA? In answering this question, we focus on the practical applications of the theory illustrated by human forensic DNA analysis, conservation genetics and evolutionary genetics. In the practical component of the course, students will gain hands-on experience in human forensic DNA profiling in the laboratory, as well as statistical analysis skills across a range of genetic topics. Other topics covered include Next Generation Sequencing and its emerging and far reaching applications in human forensics and conservation genetics; and genetic adaptation including epigenetics and plasticity.
Honours Pathway Option (HPO):
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Explain the key concepts in population, evolutionary and quantitative genetics including: the basis and estimation of genetic variation; Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium; population substructure, genetic drift; effective population size, inbreeding and inbreeding depression; genetic adaptation including epigenetics and genetic plasticity; and heritability.
- Understand the range of molecular laboratory techniques used routinely in human forensic analysis and population genetic analysis including sex typing, DNA profiling, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) detection, Sanger DNA sequencing and Next Generation Sequencing.
- Perform the statistical analysis of genetic data relevant to forensic, conservation, quantitative and evolutionary genetics, and summarise and interpret the outcomes. This will be done by hand, calculator, and other statistical software including the widely-used package R.
- Search the literature to identify papers relevant to the genetic data sets provided for statistical analysis and integrate and evaluate the findings in written form.
Examination Material or equipment
The course includes a 3 hour online exam, and my require the use of Proctorio. In order to pass the course, you must achieve a minimum of 45% on this exam.
You are required to bring a hard copy of the relevant pages of the practical manual to the practical sessions. A pdf of the manual is provided online on the course Wattle site.
Although we do not strictly follow a textbook, where possible we refer students to the text adopted in BIOL2161: Pierce, B (2020) Genetics a conceptual approach. 7th Ed Freeman, or Pierce, B (2017) Genetics a conceptual approach. 6th Ed (Both these, and even earlier editions, are appropriate). Copies of these and other relevant reading material are placed on short-term loan in the library. The library also provides access to an online copy of Pierce (2020), and other relevant reading material electronically.
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.
- 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 FeedbackStudents will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written comments
- Verbal comments
- Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
Student FeedbackANU 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). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Weeks 1-6 Up to 3x pre-recorded online lectures per week, 1x 1hr tutorial per week, 1x 3 hr practical for weeks 2, 4, 5 & 6. Optional drop-in sessions for assistance with assessment tasks may also be offered.||Assignments 1 & 2, and mini-assessments|
|2||Weeks 7-12 Up to 3x pre-recorded online lectures per week, 1x 1hr tutorial per week. Optional drop-in sessions for assistance with assessment tasks may also be offered.||Assignment 3, and mini-assessments|
Please access the course in Wattle to self register for the practical and tutorial sessions.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Introduction to Forensic DNA analysis||20 %||29/03/2022||29/04/2022||1,2,3|
|The statistics of Forensic DNA analysis||25 %||26/04/2022||26/04/2022||1,2,3,4|
|Final Online Exam||45 %||02/06/2022||02/07/2022||1,2,3|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
PoliciesANU 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 Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
Assessment RequirementsThe 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 ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.
Moderation of AssessmentMarks 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.
All students are very strongly encouraged to participate in one of the scheduled 1 hr face-to-face tutorial sessions each week, or the online equivalent for remote students. These sessions will focus on the theory and calculations relevant to the regular mini-assessment (worth a total of 5% of the total course marks) and assignments. Attendance at the 4x wet lab practical sessions is compulsory, unless taking the course as a remote student, who will be required to attend alternative live online learning sessions.
One final online exam, worth 45% of the total course marks. A minimum of 45% in this final exam is required to pass the course.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3
Introduction to Forensic DNA analysis
For this assignment you are required to answer a series of questions on the content and outcomes of the wet lab practical sessions. You must provide these answers, using relevant literature with supporting references, in the digital template provided on Wattle. For full instructions, including details on the format and page limits for this assignment, please refer to the course Wattle site. Remote participants will be required to complete a similar assignment on the theory relevant to the practical sessions. Please note, that the return date of assessment is indicative only.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
The statistics of Forensic DNA analysis
For this assignment you are required to prepare a scientific report that addresses the topic. The report will include statistical analysis, interpretation and use relevant literature with supporting references, as outlined in the assignment instructions. Please refer to the course Wattle site for the full instructions, including details on the format and page limits for this assignment. Please note, that the return date of assessment is indicative only.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4
For this assignment you are required to prepare a short essay on epigenetics which is to be based on a selection of relevant peer reviewed scientific literature. Please refer to the course Wattle site for the full instructions, including details on the format and page limits for this assignment. Please note, that the return date of assessment is indicative only.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4
Small regular assessment tasks tied to the online lecture content, with max 1% per task for a total of 5%. The tasks are spread across the course at approximately 14 day intervals.
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3
Final Online Exam
This will be a 3 hr online exam, and my require the use of Proctorio. The exam will be scheduled by examinations in the final exam period. A minimum mark of 45% on this exam is required to pass 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. Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.
Academic IntegrityAcademic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.
Online SubmissionThe 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.
Hardcopy SubmissionFor 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 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.
Referencing RequirementsAccepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
In 2022 we require electronic submission for all assignments, including those assignments requiring hand calculations. Accordingly, all feedback and marks will be returned electronically.
Extensions and PenaltiesExtensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions 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
It is not possible to resubmit assignments in this course.
Distribution of grades policyAcademic 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 studentsThe 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).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students