Course Title

Principles of Genetics

Course Code


Offered Study Year 1, Semester 2
Course Coordinator Bozdech, Zbynek (Asst Prof) 6316 2813
Pre-requisites i. None (for All SBS students)
ii. BS1001 (for other schools’ students)
AU 3
Contact hours Lectures: 24, Tutorials: 12
Approved for delivery from
Last revised 19 May 2021, 15:47

Course Aims

This course introduces you to the basic principles of genetics at the molecular level. After discussing the structure-function relationship of DNA and the genetic code, we will examine how DNA is organized within living cells and how it is segregated during cell division, and the increasingly relevant question of epigenetic modifications of DNA. The important roles of genes in developmental processes, and in basic human and medical genetics are discussed at an introductory level. Whenever possible, topics will be highlighted through the presentation of key experiments and the most recent results not yet included in textbooks. You will make use of the principles covered in this course throughout the rest of your Biology degree, and it forms an important basis for most life sciences-related professions.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Design experiments (e.g. to prove DNA is the carrier of genetic information)
  2. Predict causes and consequences of faulty components of fundamental genetic processes
  3. Explain the implications of the genetic complexity of pro- and eukaryotic cells
  4. Apply knowledge for problem solving involving genetic defects
  5. Interpret the complex interplay between genetics and molecular medicine

Course Content

Structure and function relationships of nucleic acids

Mechanistic details of the most fundamental genetic process

Regulation of fundamental genetic processes

Consequences of intereference with fundamental genetic processes at the cellular and organismal level

Latest technologies in genetic/genomic analysis, including gene therapy


Component Course ILOs tested SBS Graduate Attributes tested Weighting Team / Individual Assessment Rubrics
Continuous Assessment
Essay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1. b, c, d
2. a, b, d, f
3. b, c, e, f, g
5. c, e
40 individual See Appendix for rubric
Examination (2 hours)
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 5 1. b
2. b
3. c
5. c
60 individual
Total 100%

These are the relevant SBS Graduate Attributes.

1. Recognize the relationship and complexity between structure and function of all forms of life, resulting from an academically rigorous in-depth understanding of biological concepts

b. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the molecular level

c. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the cellular level

d. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the organism level

2. Critically evaluate and analyze biological information by applying the knowledge, scientific methods and technical skills associated with the discipline

a. Identify the assumptions behind scientific problems and issues

b. Create and evaluate hypotheses

d. Design experiments relevant to authentic problems and their models

f. Evaluate results in primary biological literature

3. Develop and communicate biological ideas and concepts relevant in everyday life for the benefit of society

b. Display and explain scientific results clearly and persuasively to peers both verbally and in writing (includes the ability to graph data appropriately and accurately).

c. Demonstrate an understanding of the recursive nature of science, where new results continually modify previous knowledge

e. Discuss current critical questions in the field of biology

f. Demonstrate an understanding of the social and natural context of knowledge (role of science in society, influence of society on science)

g. Demonstrate an understanding of the history of ideas and development of the major fields of biology

5. Develop communication, creative and critical thinking skills for life-long learning

c. Demonstrate critical thinking skills such as analysis, discrimination, logical reasoning, prediction and transforming knowledge

e. Demonstrate good observation skills and a curiosity about the world

Formative Feedback

You will be provided learning feedback on a weekly basis during tutorials and ad hoc discussions after lectures. You will be asked to prepare answers to several questions, posted during the lecture, which will be discussed individually or in a team during tutorials. The continual assessment will be conducted in the form of short essay questions, which may also involve reading primary research literature. Your performance in the CA exercise will be discussed during subsequent tutorials, in which the correct answers will be provided. This will allow you to conclusively judge your performance in the CA exercise. Emphasis in the learning feedback throughout the semester will be placed on learning outcomes 1 - 3.

Learning and Teaching Approach

(24 hours)

Examples are provided during the lectures which help you to understand how experiments are designed in order to address a certain biological question (This will help you to achieve Intended Learning Outcome 1). This includes the predicted outcome of hypothetical experiments, which tests your understanding of basic genetic processes (ILO 2). By providing examples of complex organismal phenotypes, you will learn how changes at the molecular level contribute to organismal traits (ILOs 3 and 4). Emphasis will be placed on examples of basic human genetics, which connects the fundamental teachings of this course to molecular genetics (ILO 5). Lectures will include discussion of recent results not yet included in textbooks.

(12 hours)

Tutorials aim to involve you directly in problem solving. Several questions posted during the preceding lecture will be discussed and individual groups will be asked to provide their answers either verbally or in combination with white-board presentations. This naturally leads to a possibility of discussions that goes beyond the initial topic and often includes topics not directly linked to the previous lecture and should widen your biological background knowledge. Hence, it is imperative that you actively engage in these discussions to achieve the best possible learning outcome.

Reading and References

Principles of Genetics 5th Edition, by Snustad and Simmons, John Wiley & Sons 2010, QH430.S674 2010
(This book has a strong emphasis on molecular genetics, which is also reflected in this course.)

Lewin`s Essential Genes 3rd Edition, By Krebs, Goldstein and Kilpatrick, Jones and Bartlett Learning 2013; Call No: QH430.K92 2013
(My favorite: emphasis on molecular mechanisms and principle genetic reactions)

Essentials of Genetics 8th Edition, by Klug, Cummings, Spencer and Palladino, Pearson Benjamin Cummings 2012; ISBN-9780321803115
(Good but basic introduction to classical Genetics and molecular genetics.)

Course Policies and Student Responsibilities

This Course intends to foster independent learning and creative thinking. As such, it is your responsibility to look beyond the teaching materials provided for lectures and tutorials and to identify relevant information wherever it is available and whenever it is necessary.

Academic Integrity

Good academic work depends on honesty and ethical behaviour. The quality of your work as a student relies on adhering to the principles of academic integrity and to the NTU Honour Code, a set of values shared by the whole university community. Truth, Trust and Justice are at the core of NTU’s shared values.

As a student, it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in understanding and applying the principles of academic integrity in all the work you do at NTU. Not knowing what is involved in maintaining academic integrity does not excuse academic dishonesty. You need to actively equip yourself with strategies to avoid all forms of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, academic fraud, collusion and cheating. If you are uncertain of the definitions of any of these terms, you should go to the Academic Integrity website for more information. Consult your instructor(s) if you need any clarification about the requirements of academic integrity in the course.

Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Phone Email
Bozdech, Zbynek (Asst Prof) 01n-19/04n-20 6316 2813

Planned Weekly Schedule

Week Topic Course ILO Readings/ Activities

Introduction to molecular genetics

1, 2, 3, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Introduction to Genetics; Primary, secondary, and tertiary structure of DNA and RNA; The genetic code

1, 2, 3, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Principles of DNA replication

1, 2, 3, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Gene structures and Principles of Gene Expression in Pro- and Eukaryotes

1, 2, 3, 4

lecture notes and tutorials


Gene structures and Principles of Gene Expression in Pro- and Eukaryotes

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Gene structures and Principles of Gene Expression in Pro- and Eukaryotes

1, 2, 3, 4

lecture notes and tutorials


Basics of DNA recombination, damage, mutagenesis and repair

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Basics of DNA recombination, damage, mutagenesis and repair

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Structure and Content of Chromosomes and Genomes

1, 2, 3, 4

lecture notes and tutorials


Molecular Genetics and Molecular Medicine I

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

lecture notes and tutorials


Molecular Genetics and Molecular Medicine II

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

lecture notes and tutorials



1, 2, 3, 4

past years exam papers

Appendix 1: Assessment Rubrics

Rubric for Tutorials: Essay (40%)

You need to provide a concise answer in the form of an essay to several questions relevant to the lectures and tutorials, often requiring the inclusion of a diagram to make your answers clear.

Each question will be marked out of 10 as indicated in the table below, and the total marks will be scaled to 40%.

Criteria Requirements for full marks Marks
Background information

Competently explains background and shows evidence of wider reading


Diagrams are professionally presented and labeled fully


Shows clear understanding of the problem statement and the development of the hypothesis. Proposes feasible alternate hypothesis.


Insightful and creative critique of the conclusions drawn by the researcher

Total 10

Appendix 2: Intended Affective Outcomes

As a result of this course, it is expected you will develop the following "big picture" attributes:

A realisation that scientific knowledge is always in a state of flux

A realisation of how scientific knowledge was obtained.

An awareness of the positive and negative impacts of genetic studies on society