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IA Biology of Cells : Genetics teaching components

The following two segments of the course are taught by members of the Department of Genetics

Dr David Summers : Hunting the Gene

Seven lectures dealing with the principles of genetic analysis in haploid and diploid organisms, the nature of genes and the role of chromosomes in heredity together with the genetics of prokaryotes, and the advent of genetic engineering

  • Early theories of inheritance: from myth and magic through Ancient Greek philosophy to the mediaeval synthesis of science and theology
  • Gregor Mendel’s experiments established the foundations of modern genetics. One factor and two factor crosses: Mendel’s conclusions. The chromosome theory of inheritance
  • Challenging Mendel: genetic linkage, sex linkage and variable dominance require modification and extension of the hypothesis. The development of genetic mapping. Linkage groups. Cytoplasmic inheritance: a new pattern of inheritance for genes in the mitochondria and chloroplasts
  • Genetics of Prokaryotes. Fine structure gene mapping: Benzer’s analysis of the rII region in ‘phage T4. Complementation testing and counting genes. Mechanisms of gene exchange in prokaryotes: transduction, conjugation and transformation. Restriction modification systems: bacterial self defence. The advent of gene cloning. Cloning vectors: uses of plasmid and phage vectors

Professor Steve Russell : The Genetic Revolution

Six lectures covering : Recombinant DNA technology and its contribution, over the past two decades, to our understanding of cell biology and to the genetic basis of disease

  • Genomes, Gene Cloning & DNA Sequencing: genome size & complexity, cloning & characterisation of DNA, restriction mapping, nucleic acid hybridisation, pcr amplification, DNA sequencing
  • Genome sequencing & the Human Genome Project: Sequencing genomes, microorganism genomes, model eukaryotes, human genome, annotating genome sequence, comparative genomics
  • Chromosomes & Chromosome Biology: Functional elements of chromosomes, repetitive DNA, DNA fingerprinting, gene families, unique sequence DNA, gene content
  • The Genetics of Human Disease : Meiotic defects and disease, the X chromosome, autosomal genetics - Huntington’s disease & sickle cell anaemia, mapping genes, RFLPs, SNPs
  • Molecular Basis of Human Disease : Tracing the defective gene - cystic fibrosis, subtractive cloning - muscular dystrophy, haplotypes, complex traits, linkage & association studies
  • Genomics, Proteomics & Systems Biology: Measuring gene expression, northern blotting, DNA microarrays, genomics and cancer, microarrays for DNA analysis, proteomics, identifying proteins, mass spectrometry, protein complexes, systems biology


David Summers, Ian Furner, and Marco Geymonat all make significant contributions to the Practicals in the Lent Term

Further information about the course


Programme specification/Aims & outcomes :

Course organiser : Professor Alex Webb, Department of Plant Sciences [2015/6-]

Course administrator : Hayley Bell, Department of Plant Sciences


Contributing Depts : Biochemistry, Plant Sciences, Genetics, and Zoology