Genetics and Evolution

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
19 December 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC C700 Biochemistry,
BSC C701 Biochemistry (Including Placement Year),
BSC C703 Biochemistry (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C100 Biological Sciences,
BSC C101 Biological Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C102 Biological Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BSC CD00 Biological Sciences (Including Foundation Year),
BSC B990 Biomedical Science,
BSC B991 Applied Biomedical Science (NHS placement),
BSC B995 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC B999 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C400 Genetics,
BSC C402 Genetics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C403 Genetics (Including Placement Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C161 Marine Biology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C164 Marine Biology,
BSC CC60 Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CC64 Marine Biology (Including Placement Year),
MMB C160 Marine Biology,
BSC C200 Human Biology,
BSC C201 Human Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C202 Human Biology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to the study of genetics and evolution. The structure and function of DNA and the expression of the information contained in the genome are explained. The transmission of this genetic information from one generation to the next by the process of cell division and the principles of Mendelian inheritance are then considered. This is followed by modern methods in gene cloning and the applications of this technology.

The module then moves on to the Darwinian theory of descent with modification - evolution. We look at genetic variation and genes in populations and consider the role of natural selection in adaptive evolution. Mechanisms of speciation and adaptive radiation will be explored. This brings us up to date with recent studies of phylogenetics and the evolution of genes and genomes, together with the history of all organisms.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the study of genetics and evolution.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. describe how genes are organised, replicated and repaired, and how the information they contain is expressed;

2. explain the transmission and action of genes at the level of the organism

3. describe the methods used in DNA technology

4. explain the evidence for the proposed mechanisms of evolution and their relationship to modern genetics

5. explain the evidence for natural selection and the theories of speciation

6. explain the methods to reconstruct evolutionary relationships, and the main transitions in the history of life

7. demonstrate competence in data collection, interpretation and presentation

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

24 x 1 hour lectures including 1 on directed learning material plus 1 revision class before MCQ and 1 revision class before summer exam; 4 x 3 hour practicals or equivalent


  • Campbell, Neil A. (c2018) Biology: a global approach, New York: Pearson.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Practical 2 (Moodle)    47% 
Coursework   Practical 3 (Moodle)    22% 
Coursework   Mastering Biology 1    9% 
Coursework   Mastering Biology 2      
Coursework   Mastering Biology 3     
Practical   Practical 1 (EVS)    22% 
Exam  50 minutes during January (Multiple Choice) 
Exam  60 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
33% 67%


Coursework Exam
33% 67%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Antonio Marco, email:
Dr Antonio Marco, Dr Emmanuele Conte, Dr Joaquin De Navascues Melero, Dr Ben Skinner
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Prof Jacqueline McCormack
Institute Technology Sligo
Vice President
Available via Moodle
Of 365 hours, 28 (7.7%) hours available to students:
337 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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