Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Introduction to Genetics

Module titleIntroduction to Genetics
Module codeCSC1007
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Patrick Hamilton ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Genetics and the control of gene expression is the source of diversity both within the body and between individuals; they fundamentally shapes a wide range of biological processes. 

In this module you will be introduced to the fundamental genetic components of the cell and explore how genetic information is stored in eukaryotic cells. You will consider how this information is replicated, how gene expression is regulated, how hereditary patterns arise and how population genetics and evolution contribute. These genetic processes will be illustrated wherever possible with Neuroscientific examples .

Modern techniques in DNA sequencing and the exploration of gene diversity will be introduced, with examples from humans and other organisms. 

To complement the theory of genetics covered in the lectures, you will also observe laboratory demonstrations and have opportunities to explore experimental results. 

This is a core module for the first year students on the BSc Neuroscience programme.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces you to core concepts in genetics and complements this theory with appropriate laboratory demonstrations. The module will discuss topics including DNA structure and organisation, DNA replications, gene regulation, genetic engineering, the origins of DNA variation and hereditary patterns. 

The theory of various techniques used to study genetics will be discussed to complement the laboratory demonstrations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify techniques used to study genetics.
  • 2. Describe the structure of DNA and how it is replicated.
  • 3. Explain how gene expression is regulated.
  • 4. Illustrate the principles of genetic engineering.
  • 5. Illustrate the origin of genetic variation and how genetics is used to understand evolution.
  • 6. Demonstrate hereditary patterns and describe how these relate to human genetics.
  • 7. Examine how DNA sequence relates to protein function

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Illustrate genetics and how this applies to neuroscience
  • 9. Outline the fundamentals of human molecular genetics and how this relates to inherited disorders with a neurological aetiology
  • 10. Begin to utilise appropriate techniques to analyse molecular genetics and interpret experimental results

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. Communicate ideas effectively by written and oral means
  • 12. Begin to identify appropriate information from various relevant sources including teaching material, books and the internet
  • 13. Develop skills for independent study

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

We will cover topics including

  • DNA and chromosomes
  • DNA to protein
  • Control of gene expression
  • Genetic technologies
  • Mutagenesis and DNA damage repair
  • Genetic variation
  • Genetics patterns and principles of heredity
  • Linkage and mapping
  • Chromosome variations and sex determination
  • Population genetics
  • Evolution


These will be covered through lectures, data analysis and laboratory demonstrations.


As part of Project Enhance, we are increasing contact time in this module by approximately 20% for the 2021 Academic Year.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities20Lectures; video recordings in short sections (Project Enhance Response)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities6Question and answer sessions; synchronous with asynchronous discussion forum
Scheduled learning and teaching activities12Laboratory technique demonstrations and analysis of genetic data (Four sessions, each three hours in duration.) (Project Enhance Response: digital delivery.)
Guided Independent Study64Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided Independent Study48Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ test0.5hr1-9, 11-13Online model answers
Genetic practical problem sets4 x 1 hours1-11Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Genetic practical problem set401 set of problems based on the laboratory demonstrations 1-11Written feedback & online model answers
MCQ examination602 hour period within 24 hours 1-9, 11-13Mark; feedback session


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Genetic practical problem sets (40%)Genetic practical problem sets 1-11August referral/deferral period
MCQ examination (60%)Online MCQ examination (2 hour) 1-9, 11-13August referral/deferral period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Emery’s Elements of Medical Genetics (15th Edition) Elsevier. – Chapter 1 of this book provides a concise introduction into the history and impact of genetics in medicine.  

Russell PJ (2014) iGenetics: Pearson New International Edition: A Molecular Approach – This book explains key concepts from this course at the right level. 

Alberts B et al. (2015) Molecular Biology of the Cell (7th Edition) – This enormous book goes into great depth - more than is required for this course - but the explanations and diagrams are excellent. Chapter 1, “Cells and Genomes” from page 10 brings together key concepts covered in this course in an accessible way.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Gene regulation, genetic variation, genome, mutagenesis, hereditary

Credit value15
Module ECTS


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date