Genetics in the Media

Subject GENE10001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 1 hour lecture/workshop per week. This subject will be delivered principally on-line and require time spent viewing on-line content, often in the form of a video (approximately 2 hours per week) with follow-up activities ( 2 hours per week)
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have passed the following subjects may not enrol into GENE10001 Genetics in the Media

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Dawn Gleeson


Subject Overview:

Genetics is a topic commonly discussed in the media. It may be an article in a newspaper or magazine, a TV news report or current affairs program, a TV series or a film. Topics include the discovery of genes associated with health such as cancer, genetic testing, recombinant DNA technology in agriculture, forensic analysis in crime, paternity cases, identification after a disaster, are commonly depicted in print, TV and film.
This subject will provide the background to understand and critically evaluate the claims made in the media. These references to genetics in the media will be used as the context to introduce principles of genetics such as correct genetic terminology; genes, alleles, chromosomes; patterns of inheritance such as constructing a pedigree; DNA, RNA and how genes are expressed, the influence of environmental factors on gene expression; and mutation leading to variation in the population. An introduction to basic genetic principles and techniques such as those described in the media will be discussed so that a student can evaluate the claims made in films and TV with respect to genetic analysis in crime and identification, in particular.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this subject a student should have:

  • a basic understanding of the terminology of genetics;
  • a basic understanding of patterns of inheritance;
  • a basic understanding of commonly used genetic techniques;
  • the ability to review a media report about genetics critically;
  • sufficient knowledge to access reliable information on-line and in print.
  • 1 online test due approximately week 3 (10%)
  • 2 equally weighted written activities no more than 500 words each in approximately weeks 6 and 8 (20%)
  • a major assignment which is composed of a written report of no more than 1000 words due approximately week 10 and a 5 minute illustrated talk or preparation of a 3- 5 minute video (20%)
  • a 2-hour written examination during the examination period (50%)
Prescribed Texts:


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:

  • critically evaluating a media report
  • accessing information sources and discerning use of the internet
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.

Download PDF version.