The course is aimed at providing bases in the three major areas of genetics ¿ transmission genetics, molecular genetics and population genetics ¿ as a starting point to understand classical and biotechnological breeding approaches, which will be briefly introduced.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will acquire: 1) tools for genetic data analysis and interpretation; 2) basic statistical approaches for formulation and validation of genetic models; 3) ability to understand the relationship between genotype and phenotype as a basis for breeding programmes.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
Introduction to the course, review of mitosis, meiosis and life cicles of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. MENDEL: experimental design and traits. First law. Genotype/phenotype. Dominant/recessive. Test-cross. X2 test. II law. Pedigree analysis. Chromosome theory of inheritance. SEX LINKAGE. Sex determination. Aneuploidy of sex chromosomes. X-chromosome inactivation. Sex linked traits in humans. GENETIC LINKAGE. Parentals/recombinants, cis/trans. Recombination frequency. Crossing-over. Construction of genetic maps: two-point testcrosses. Double corssovers. Three-point testcrosses. Interference and coincidence. FLOW OF GENETIC INFORMATION WITHIN THE CELL. DNA and RNA structure. DNA REPLICATION. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic chromosomes. Gene expression. TRANSCRIPTION. Structure of the gene in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. mRNA structure. Coupled transcription and translation in prokaryotes. RNA maturation in eukaryotes. Translation. Genetic code. Reading frame. Ribosomes and tRNAs. tRNA charging. TRANSLATION. GENE FUNCTION: Garrod's hypothesis of inborn errors of metabolism. Beadle and Tatum experiments. Complementation. Gene interactions. Pleiotropy. Incomplete dominance, codominance. Penetrance and expressivity. Effects of the environment on phenotype. Fundamental concepts of QUANTITATIVE GENETICS: normal distribution, mean, variance, heritability. GENETICS OF VIRUSES AND PHAGES. Lytic/lysogenic cycle. Transduction. RNA viruses. Retroviruses. Plant ssRNA viruses. MUTATION: somatic/germ-line mutation. Cytogenetics: methods. Chromosomal mutations. Deletions, duplications, inversions, translocations. Genomic mutations. Aneuploidy. Euploidy: autopoliploidy; allopoliploidy. Gene mutations. Base-pair substitution. Insertion/deletion (indel). Intragenic/intergenic suppressors. Spontaneous mutations. Mutation rate, mutation frequency. Effects of radiations and chemical mutagens. DNA repair mechanisms. REGULATION OF GENE EXPRESSION in prokaryotes: lac operon. Catabolite repression. Repression of the trp operon. RECOMBINANT DNA TECHNOLOGY. Basic concepts of gene cloning. Biotechnological applications. Production of transgenic plants. POPULATION GENETICS. Mendelian population. Genetic structure: allelic and genotypic frequencies. Hardy-Weinberg law. Changes in genetic structure of populations: mutation, genetic drift, migration, natural selection. Fitness. Non-random mating.
Prerequisites for admission
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Life cycles in eukaryotes. Mitosis. Structures of proteins and nucleic acids.
The course is held in Italian and consists of a series of lectures and is completed by theoretical exercise sessions, in which topics taught during lectures will be further analyses and applied through solution of genetics exercises.
Recommended textbook (in Italian): Russell et al. GENETICA AGRARIA, Edizione Integrata a cura di Busconi, Comino, Consonni, Marocco, Porceddu, Portis, Rao. EDISES 2016. Other textbooks for consultation: ITALIAN ONLY: BARCACCIA - FALCINELLI - Genetica e genomica (VOL 1 E 2), LIGUORI EDITORE Other useful textbooks (also available in English Version): SNUSTAD D.P & SIMMONS M.J. ¿ PRINCIPI DI GENETICA, EdiSESHARTL & JONES - GENETICA: ANALISI DI GENI E GENOMI, EdisesBROOKER R. J. GENETICA analisi e principi, Zanichelli PIERCE B.A. GENETICA, Zanichelli. For textbooks in English students can contact the lecturer. Additional teaching materials: lectures in PDF format (in Italian), genetics problem sets (in Italian), glossary, papers and articles, web-links, didactic movies will be available through the Ariel website (see below) or handed out during the course. https://lrossiniga.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/home/Default.aspx
Assessement methods and criteria
Students will be examined in two steps. The first step consists of a written exam including open questions and genetics exercises similar to those proposed during theoretical exercise sessions. Available time: 2 hours. The second step consists of an oral exam with questions on topics that were not convincingly addressed in the written exam.