Genetics & The Evolution of Life

Subject 650-142 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Lectures, practicals, tutorials and computer workshops.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 one-hour lectures (three per week), 30 hours of practical activities, pre-laboratory activities and computer workshops (independent learning tasks), averaging 3 hours per week and 10 one-hour tutorial/workshop sessions
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours total time commitment.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Credit cannot be gained for this subject and 600-142 (before 2004), 600-132 (before 2004) or 650-132.
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Dawn Yvonne Gleeson
Subject Overview: Topics studied include the nature of variation, inheritance, genes and chromosomes, human genetics, DNA replication, gene action and expression, population genetics, selection, the genetics of speciation, molecular evolution, evolutionary biology and the origin of life, classification of organisms diversity of life, communities, ecosystems and the relationship of organisms to their environment, human impact, preserving habitats and genetic variation.

At the completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • understand the basic mechanisms of inheritance, recombination and mutation;
  • know the structure of DNA, its replication and the molecular basis of gene action;
  • understand the nature of genetic variation in populations, natural selection, microevolution, reproductive isolation and speciation;
  • understand the evidence for the evolution of life understand and apply the principles of classification;
  • understand the diversity of organisms and their relationship to each other and the environment; and
  • be aware of the concepts of population ecology, community structure and ecosystem.
Assessment: A 40 minute, on-line multiple choice test held mid-semester (10%); work in practical classes during the semester, made up of written work not exceeding 1500 words, assessment of practical skills within the practical class, and no more than 4 short multiple choice tests (25%), completion of 4 independent learning tasks throughout the semester (5%); a 3-hour written examination on theory and practical work in the examination period (60%). A pass in the practical work is necessary to pass the subject
Prescribed Texts: R B Knox, P Y Ladiges, B K Evans and R Saint, Biology, An Australian Focus 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, 2004.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students will develop generic skills in:

  • manipulating laboratory equipment, in particular using microscopes and gel electrophoresis;

  • the recording of observations and the analysis and interpretation of data;

  • the statistical analysis of genetic data; and

  • accessing information sources and discerning use of the world wide web.


Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Experiments involving the use of animals are an essential part of this subject; exemption from these experiments is not possible.

This is a joint botany, genetics and zoology subject.

Students are expected to enrol in both Biology of Cells and Organisms and Genetics & The Evolution of Life.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Agricultural Science/Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Agriculture
Bachelor of Optometry
Bachelor of Veterinary Science(PV)
Diploma in Arts (Environmental Studies)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Biology and Botany
Environmental Studies Major
First year biology

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