A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course main goal is providing the student with the basic knowledge on how genetic information is used to produce the phenotype and inherited through the generations, in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. It also provides information on the structure and changes of the hereditary material from a molecular standpoint, emphasizing the evolutionary implications of those changes. The student will understand the basic principles of population genetics and the role they play in the evolution and differentiation of species.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are going to acquire a basic knowledge of the analysis of Mendelian genetic traits and will develop skills in the construction of genetic maps and about the necessary tools to correlate mutations in genes and genomes with effects at the level of the gene product and the phenotype.
Moreover, the student will acquire knowledge concerning the molecular mechanisms leading to mutations and she/he will be able to evaluate the effect of those mutations on the phenotype of an individual and on how they might affect its fitness.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
In case the emergency phase continues, the lessons of the course will be held using the Microsoft Teams and ZOOM platforms in synchronous mode. The practical exercises (esercitazioni) will also be carried out remotely, providing students with audio lessons in powerpoint where it will be shown how to proceed to solve the various problems and questions, usually presented in class. The files will be available through the University's Ariel platform.
In general, there will be no significant changes to the topics covered during the lessons. During both lessons and exercises, some time will be dedicated to answer students' questions.
Moreover, on the Ariel website there will be a blog or forum where students can, at any time, send questions or curiosities to which teachers will give answers.
The exams will continue to be written and will take place in presence, if the conditions and regulations allow it. Should the health situation worsen, we will make use of the technological platforms made available by the University to carry out remote written exams, such as or other proctoring systems.
Course syllabus
- Physical basis of inheritance. Chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis and biological cycles of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Cell cycle. Identification of DNA as genetic material. Structure and replication of DNA.
- Trait transmission. Mendelian inheritance: segregation and independent trait assortment. Multiple alleles. Statistical processing of Mendelian segregation. Analysis of Mendelian inheritance in humans: family trees. Blood grouping and of paternity tests. Sex-related inheritance. Genetic determination of sex.
- Chromosomal theory of inheritance, linkage and recombination. Meiotic crossing-over. Genes mapping in diploid organisms. Map distance and genetic map construction.
- Function of the gene: metabolic pathways and hypothesis a gene-an enzyme. Gene interaction. Genetic complementation. Intragenic recombination.
- Genetics of microorganisms: haploid bacteria. Mutants in bacteria and their selection.
- Plasmids. Factor F and its characteristics. Factor F' and construction of partial diploids.
- Cloning vectors and techniques.
- Transcription into prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Structure of the prokaryotes and eukaryotes gene. RNA maturation in eukaryotes.
- Protein synthesis, genetic code and its characteristics.
- Changes in genome structure. Gene mutations: molecular basis of mutations and their frequency. Reversion and suppression of mutations.
- Chromosome mutations: deletions, duplications, inversions and translocations.
- Genomic mutations: euploidy and aneuploidy. Autopolyploidy and allopolyploidy.
- Mutagens, induced mutation and DNA repair mechanisms.
- Positive and negative gene regulation in prokaryotes.
- Population genetics. Genetic structure of populations. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Variation of gene frequencies: mutation, selection, migration and genetic drift.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of biology and of the principles of statistics
Teaching methods
The course consists of lectures and theoretical exercises. The frontal lessons will be accompanied by the projection of slides and short videos. Theoretical exercises will aim at giving further support to the students to understand the topics treated in the lessons, through the resolution of genetic problems.
Course and exercise material will be made available through the Ariel platform.
Teaching Resources
· Binelli & Ghisotti + AA.VV. Genetica, Edises (2017)
· Snustad e Simmons, Principi di Genetica, EdiSes, 5 ed. 2014
· Russell, Genetica, Un approccio molecolare, Pearson, 4 ed. 2014
· Griffith et al. Genetica, 7° ed. Zanichelli 2013
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is intended to assess the student's ability to apply the knowledge learned during the course. The exam consists of a written test which will include multiple-choice questions, solving genetic problems with elements of theory. The questions cover the entire subject of the course, time available 2 hours. Students attending the course can divide the exam into two parts: the first, which is held in the middle of the course, evaluates the knowledge acquired in formal genetics; the second, which must be taken during one of the appeals of the February session, concerns the topics covered in the second half of the course. The final grade is the average of the two partials, provided both have obtained sufficient grades.
Any additional information on the examination and evaluation methods will be explained at the beginning of the course.
Depending on the health situation and the indications provided by the university, starting form September 2020 the written exam will be be held in presence. It is possible that students will be divided into shifts to respect the rules of social distancing in force at the time of the exam.
BIO/18 - GENETICS - University credits: 8
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 52 hours
Upon email request
5th floor, A building, Biosciences Dept.
Upon appointment
V floor Tower A, Via Celoria 26