This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.
|Managing faculty||Faculty of Science|
|Offered by||School of Biological Sciences|
|Coordinator||Dr Gerry Rayner (Level one); Dr Richard Burke (Levels two and three); Dr Heather Verkade (Honours); Dr Kumaran Nayaranan (Sunway)|
Genetics is the study of genes, their structure, function, transmission and evolution, and encompasses a rich and diverse range of research topics. Genetics lies at the centre of biology because the same basic genetic principles apply to microbes, plants, animals and humans. The genetic code provides the blueprint for life and every aspect of biology, from development, physiology and biochemistry through to behavior and ecology, is ultimately controlled by the products of genes and their interaction with the physical environment. Genetics underpins many exciting areas of science such as biomedical science, biotechnology, conservation biology, and forensics, and graduates with a major in genetics find employment in medical and agricultural research institutes, hospitals, government departments, schools and universities, patent firms, genetic counselling services, forensics laboratories, and biotechnology companies.
Graduates will be able to:
* This unit has compulsory level-two prerequisites that will need to be taken in addition to the level two units that are part of this sequence.
Students studying genetics in their first year will take BIO1011 (Biology 1) plus BIO1022 (Biology 2) and/or BIO1042 (Environmental biology). The focus in first year is to acquire basic knowledge of the inheritance of genes, the structure and expression of genes and the principles of population genetics as a stepping stone to the comprehensive treatment of these subjects provided at level two.
Students wishing to complete a major in genetics must complete the two level two genetics units GEN2041 and GEN2052. Together these units provide a comprehensive grounding in all the concepts needed for the advanced, specialised genetics units offered at level three. Students wishing to complete a major in genetics and molecular biology must complete the level two molecular biology units, MOL2011 and MOL2022, and it is highly recommended they also complete GEN2041. In the level two genetics units students examine in detail how genes interact both with other genes and with environmental factors to control traits. The nature of the 'gene' is explored in detail, including gene regulation, function and mutation. Students explore how the availability of whole genome sequences for numerous organisms allows us to ask how genetic variation in individuals or in populations arises, is maintained, and allows species to change, adapt and evolve. Finally, students are introduced to the basic molecular genetic 'toolkit' that allows researchers to manipulate and study genes in a wide range of genetic model organisms from prokaryotes through to complex multicellular eukaryotes.
In the level three genetics units students investigate specialised areas at the cutting edge of modern genetic research, building on the concepts gained in earlier levels. Studies in GEN3040 examine recent knowledge relating to the details of gene regulation in eukaryotes; explore recent advances arising from whole genome approaches to study gene function and address evolutionary questions; consider applications of recent discoveries in areas of importance to national and international health and also sustainable food production and security. In GEN3030 students investigate how genes and genomes provide the blueprint that so reliably drives the growth and development of organisms from the starting point of a single-celled zygote to the end point of a mature adult with its complex array of different organs and tissues, using the same basic genetic machinery to produce organisms as startlingly diverse as fungi, insects, plants, fish and mammals. GEN3051 examines the role our genes play in human health, development and evolution and how disease can arise due to a mix of genetic defects and environmental influences, and how forensic science exploits our genetic similarities and differences to identify individuals from biological samples and to determine relationships between individuals. In GEN3062 students explore how evolutionary processes shape patterns of biodiversity by focusing on genetic diversity in an ecological context, what it is, how to measure it and how it underpins adaptation and contributes to successful biodiversity. All level three units involve extensive practical work exercises, and for high-achieving students keen to get into a real laboratory, GEN3990 is available, a project-based unit where the student carries out a research project in the laboratory of one of the genetics academic staff.
In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the Science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. See the entries for:
Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.