3516.22 - Genetics

Course number
A) Admitted to the bachelor programme in biology at the University of the Faroe Islands, following the normal study progression or B) Students following single courses need to have sufficient background in general and organic chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology, like: 3512 General and inorganic chemistry; 3513 Organic chemistry; 3514 Biochemistry, 3518 Cell biology.
To provide the students with basic knowledge of classic and molecular genetics, including genetic processes, and insight into heritable and acquired genetic diseases.
Mendelian genetics. Chromosomes and chromosomal behavior. Linkage and chromosome mapping. Microbial genetics. Gene regulation. RNA processing. Genomics and genetic engineering. Development and differentiation. Mutations and DNA repair. Heritable and acquired genetic diseases. Molecular evolution. Population genetics. Complex inheritance. Laboratory exercise: Hemoglobin genes and their expression in cod. The exercise is organized as a small research project, with a first part where published sequences are collected from databanks, and these data are analyzed to achieve a plan for how to proceed in the second part. The second part is the practical work up the actual blood samples from cod to cDNA and gDNA, amplify sequences with PCR, and subsequently obtain the DNA sequences. The students must participate both in the theoretical and practical part of the exercise. The report should be formed as a scientific article.
Learning and teaching approaches
Lectures. Problem solving. Discussions. Theoretical work using bioinformatic tools to collect and analyze data from sequence databanks as basis for subsequent laboratory work. Laboratory work, and subsequent analysis of the results by the bioinformatic tools. Report writing.
Learning outcomes
On completion of the course, the successful student should be able to: 1. Describe, with examples, how mutations can cause genetic/inherited diseases, and how these diseases are inherited. 2. Describe, with examples, how somatic mutations can cause a genetic, but noninheritable, disease. 3. Explain Mendelian genetics and describe how genotypic and phenotypic traits behave in Mendelian inheritance, including the phenomenon of epistasis. 4. Describe chromosomal and chromatin structure, and the behavior of chromosomes in mitosis and meiosis, and the consequences of these behaviors. This includes the generation of chromosomal rearrangements and chromosomal abnormalities. 5. Explain (i) the principles of genetic linkage and genetic mapping, and (ii) the molecular processes and properties that are involved. 6. Describe the properties and particularities of bacterial genetics, and why these properties are of interest for humans. 7. Describe molecular mechanisms of regulation of gene expression, both at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. This includes epigenetic mechanisms of regulations. 8. Give an overview of methods used in analyzing genes and genomes (in particular: sequencing), and insights into evolutionary ancestries obtained by these methods. 9. Explain and describe genetic processes involved in development of organisms. 10. Describe types of mutations, the processes/mechanisms that generate them, their consequences, and how the mutations are repaired. 11. Explain genetic reasons why cancer cells do not adhere to the regulation of cell cycle and their functional consequences. 12. Explain the principles of population genetics, evolutionary relationships between species, evolutionary relationships between genes, calculation of selection pressure (Ka/Ks) and calculation of allele frequencies (Hardy-Weinberg principle). The student should be able to perform the calculations of the latter. 13. Explain some basic principles of complex inheritance. 14. Use some basic bioinformatic tools, specifically search sequence databases according to names and accession numbers, use of Blast to search for similar genes, and use of alignment tools for direct sequence comparisons. 15. Apply basic scientific writing in laboratory report structured as a scientific paper. 16. Connect and combine information from different parts of the present curriculum. 17. Connect and combine information from the present curriculum with those of previous courses, in particular biochemistry and cell biology.
Assessment method
Combination of 1) accepted and graded obligatory laboratory report and 2) graded written examination. 1) The obligatory laboratory report, written as a scientific paper, must be delivered within the specified deadline. The grading of the report is done by the instructor and counts 25%. 2) Four-hour written examination graded by external examiner. No auxiliary materials allowed, except for electronic calculator. In case of re-examination, the report must have been accepted, but will otherwise not count in the final grade.
Marking scale
DL Hartl: Essential Genetics and Genomics. 7 ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers 2018. ISBN: 978-1-284-15245-6. Hand-outs describing the laboratory work. Scientific papers.
Svein-Ole Mikalsen