Genetics & The Evolution of Life

Subject BIOL10005 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - 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

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week, 36 hours of practical activities pre-laboratory activities and computer workshops (independent learning tasks), averaging 3 hours per week and 6 one-hour tutorial/workshop sessions during the semester.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment or 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Credit cannot be gained for this subject and any of

  • 650-132 Biomed: Genetics & Biodiversity (prior to 2008)
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering applications for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005) and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, 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 Gleeson


Biology Laboratory

Level 5 Redmond Barry Building

Tel: (03) 8344 4881
(03) 9347 0604

Director of First Year Studies in Biology

Dr Mary Familari


Subject Overview:

The objective of this subject is to familiarise students with modern concepts of genetics, animal and plant diversity and evolution.

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.

A 45-minute, multiple choice test held mid-semester (10%); work in practical classes during the semester, made up of a combination of written work not exceeding 1000 words, assessment of practical skills within the practical class, or up to 5 short multiple choice tests (20%), completion of 5 Independent Learning Tasks throughout the semester (5%); an assignment not exceeding 1000 words (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 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, 2009
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 should 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.


This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Many second year subjects require the completion of this subject and BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms

This subject involves the use of animals that form an essential part of the learning objectives for this subject. Please note: There are some non-dissection alternatives for those who have strong philosophical objections and these and other alternatives can be discussed with the subject co-ordinator.

This is a joint botany, genetics and zoology subject.

Required equipment: laboratory coat, microscope slides, coverslips & marker pen.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Agriculture
Bachelor of Biomedicine
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Biology and Botany
Environmental Studies Major
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG. Core selective subjects for B-BMED.
Related Breadth Track(s): Human Genetics
Microbiology and immunology
General Genetics
Cell &&& Developmental Biology
Genetics and Society

Download PDF version.