Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Genetics.


  • At least one other Level 2 Biology module.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop knowledge and understanding about how genes function, are regulated, replicated and evolve in complex organisms.
  • To explain how the human genome is organised and the molecular basis of its diversity among indviduals.
  • To explain genome diversity.
  • To develop understanding of more complex methods of gene analysis, gene manipulation and information retrieval.


  • Gene regulation and function in eukaryotes.
  • Gene evolution.
  • Features of human genome-RNA genes, DNA polymorphisms and mutations.
  • Recombinant DNA technology.
  • Bioinformatics.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Be able to describe in detail the means by which eukaryotic genes are expressed, regulated and replicated.
  • Describe how the nuclear genome may have evolved and the functioning of elements that have aided this process.
  • Understand the key features of the human genome, with emphasis on RNA genes, DNA polymorphins and repetitive DNA.
  • Understand how genes are studied through manipulation of DNA and RNA.
  • Understand how non-coding mRNAs are processed into microRNAs and how they regulate gene expression.
  • Describe the different DNA polymorphisms present in humans and their analysis.
  • Describe the different types of repetitive DNA and their applications.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Perform data retrieval and interpretation from biological data bases.
  • Performa experiments in molecular biology.
Key Skills:
  • Laboratory skills.
  • Data interpretation and presentation.
  • Information retrieval.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver core and specialized knowledge.
  • Tutorials and Workshops reinforce the knowledge and understanding gained from lectures and the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Practicals and Laboratory Classes allow students to utilise the knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Unseen examinations measure knowledge and the application and interpretation of that knowledge. They also test key skills in ability to present arguments and communicate them effectively in a concise written form.
  • Data Handling Exercises assess data handling, numeracy, critical thinking and presentation skills.
  • Posters are used to both assess subject specific knowledge and ability to communicate ideas to others in a format commonly used in the biological sciences.
  • Essays assess key communication skills but are also used to examine a students learning of subject specific knowledge.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 40 Weekly 1 hour 40
Practical 1 1 hour 1
Practical 2 4 hours 8
Tutorials 1 1 hour 1
Workshop 1 1 hour 1
Bioinformatic workshop 1 1.5 hours 1.5
Poster 1 2 hours 2
Preparation & reading 145.5
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 33%
Practical report 33%
Data Handling 34%

Formative Assessment:

Group poster Data handling

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University