A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
AGR/07 BIO/18
Learning objectives
This course explains the students the basic concepts of genetics. It provides students with an historical overview of the main discoveries that led to the understanding of how traits are inherited from single individuals or within a population is provided. The lessons will explore different aspects of bacterial, phage and human genetics and explain how geneticists analyze genes. The theoretical lessons will provide information on laws models, while the exercises will be aimed at their application. The genetics course is required for a better understanding and the study of complex biological processes and is in line with the educational objectives of the CdS.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will be able to understand fundamental models of hereditary transmission and the molecular mechanisms underlying the variations in the genetic material of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. They will understand the interactions between genotype and phenotype. Basic knowledge will be obtained on molecular genetics, genetics of microorganisms and humans. Furthermore, they will be trained in gene regulation and population genetics. All this knowledge will enable them to follow advanced genetics courses, and the fundamentals of genetic engineering.
At the end of the course the students will be able to autonomously analyze the segregation of Mendelian characters in the progeny of crosses, and to make probabilistic assessments concerning the transmission of characters. They will also be familiar with mapping genes on chromosomes and study their interactions. They will be able to predict the effects of mutations in genomes and genes and the cause of chromosome number changes in organisms.
Course syllabus and organization


Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Physical basis of heredity
Chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis, life cycles of pro- and eukaryotes
Mendelian inheritance
Multiple alleles
Human genetics: Pedigrees and blood groups
Sex linkage and sex determination
Chromosomal basis of heredity, linkage and recombination
Meiotic and mitotic crossing-over
Genetic map, map distances and interference
Bacterial genetics
Mutants and their selection
The genetic code
Gene structures in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
Gene expression
Genetic interactions
Mutations (Gene and chromosomal)
Mutagenesis and repair mechanisms
Gene regulation in prokaryotes
Genetic engineering: the basics
Population genetics (evolution, selection, Hardy-Weinberg, migration, genetic drift)
Teaching methods
Frontal Teaching and exercise training
Teaching Resources
All teaching material used during the course is available on Ariel. The use of a basic Genetics text book is recommended (no specific tittle is indicated; during the course Prof. Kater will provide several books of different publishers for consultation in the lecture room). During the exercise lessons a specific booklet with exercises will be provided.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written examination (Multiple choice and open questions). The questions are in English but may be answered in Italian).
AGR/07 - AGRICULTURAL GENETICS - University credits: 0
BIO/18 - GENETICS - University credits: 0
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 52 hours


Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Chromosomal basis of genetics. DNA organization in chromosomes and genes. Cell divisions: Mitosis, meiosis. Meiosis and sexual reproduction in eucariots. DNA replication and synthesis.
Mendelian genetics. The monohybrid and dihybrid cross. Independent assortment and genetic variation. Statistical evaluation of genetic data. Human pedigrees. Multiple alleles. The ABO blood Group. X-linked genes in Drosophila. X-linked inheritance in humans. Sex determination.
Gene linkage and genetic mapping. Incomplete linkage, Crossing over and mapping. Three-point mapping. Interference and coefficient of coincidence. Mapping studies. Mitotic crossing over and mosaics.
Genetic of bacteria. Bacterial mutations and selection. Plasmids and episomes. Genetic recombination in bacteria, conjugation. Bacterial transformation.
The genetic study of bacteriophages. Transduction: virus mediated DNA transfer.
Molecular genetics. Gene structure, expression and function in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Promoter and coding regions. Transcription and translation. Regulation of transcription. The genetic code and its characteristics. The one-gene: one-enzyme hypotesis. Gene interaction. Complementation.
DNA-mutation. Classification of mutations and frequency. The molecular basis of mutation. Reversion and suppression. Variation in chromosome structure and arrangements: deletion, duplications, inversions, translocations. Variation in chromosome number: aneuploidy and polyploidy.
Molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in prokaryotes. The lactose operon in E.coli, an inducible system, its structure and negative and positive control. Tryptophan metabolism in E.coli: a repressible gene system.
Population genetics. Population, gene pools and allele frequencies. The Hardy-Weinberg law. Factors that alter allele frequencies: genetic drift, selection, mutation and variation.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
The course includes a series of lessons and is completed by theoretical exercises, in which the notions treated in classes are applied and studied in deep, through the resolution of genetic problems.
Teaching Resources
Peter J Russell. Genetica, Un approccio molecolare V edizione (2019) Editore: Pearson
G Binelli e D Ghisotti, Genetica (2018) Editore: Edises
The main slides of the lessons are available on the Ariel platform "Genetics in Italian". A text with the exercises that will be carried out in laboratories will also be provided.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written test comprising exercises, which require the resolution of genetic problems, and a series of open questions. The questions cover the whole subject of the course.
The exam can be divided into two parts or conducted in a single test.
AGR/07 - AGRICULTURAL GENETICS - University credits: 0
BIO/18 - GENETICS - University credits: 0
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 52 hours
Professor: Consonni Gabriella