• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Evolution and Ecology, Biology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Maja Adamska
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

How do complex multicellular organisms develop from a single cell? How did mechanisms of development evolve through millions of years of evolution? How does temperature, light and environmental chemicals affect development? This course integrates evolutionary, ecological and molecular perspectives to investigate how animals and plants develop and interact with their environment. The course will cover the following topics: developmental regulatory genes and hormones (including signalling pathways and transcription factors), morphogenesis, maintenance of homeostasis, regeneration, interaction with biotic and abiotic environmental factors, plasticity, stem cells and transdifferentiation, genetic and genomic basis of evolution of multicellularity and body forms. The practical section will expose students to modern techniques used in developmental biology research using plant and animal model systems. During practicals, student teams will be carrying out two consecutive mini-projects during which they will attempt to solve biological riddles. Written manuscript-style reports and oral conference-style presentations will be peer-reviewed before assessment. The course should appeal to students interested in molecular biology or biomedicine as well as those interested in organismal biology.

Honours pathway option (HPO)       

Entry to this option will be subject to the approval of the course conveners. Students who take this option will be required to present a seminar on a research paper or write a literature review, to be agreed with the course conveners. The seminar or review will be assessed and will replace part of the assessment for practical reports.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the molecular and genetic background of animal and plant development;
  2. Describe evolutionary history of complex multicellular life forms;
  3. Compare environmental influence on development and homeostasis of animals and plants;
  4. Analyse, interpret, and present experimental results and conclusions in a scientific manner.
  5. For HPO students only: Critically assess and present current scientific literature on topics related to ecological and evolutionary developmental biology.

Other Information

If you experience problems enrolling in this course, please contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au . Please note prerequisites apply.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Written report from practical 1 (30) [LO 1,4]
  2. Seminar and abstract from practical 2 (30) [LO 3,4]
  3. Tutorial quizzes (40) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. For HPO students only: a journal club type seminar or a minireview on selected topic, to be agreed on with course convenor. Worth 20% of marks, students taking HPO have value of assessments 1 and 2 reduced to 20% each, so that assessments 1, 2 and 4 together are worth 60% of marks. (null) [LO 5]

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 2 x 1 hour lectures per week (total 24 hours), 10 x 3 hours (total 30 hours) of practical or workshop sessions, and 1 hour (total 12 hours) of tutorial per week throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 65 hours of self directed study in total, which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course, you must have successfully completed BIOL1003, BIOL1004 and 24 units of 2000 or 3000 level BIOL courses. Incompatible with BIOL6109.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

Prior completion of BIOL1009 is recommended.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
2779 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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