Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Biological Sciences
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor John Bowman


The ability to monitor and manipulate gene activity in experimental models is critical to advance our understanding of how genes control phenotypes. This unit will explore in depth the latest techniques for studying gene expression and function. This includes assaying and visualizing gene expression and protein subcellular localization in vivo, methods for artificially activating or inhibiting gene activity including generating transgenic organisms and comparative and bioinformatic methods for inferring gene function and evaluation. The application of these techniques will be demonstrated using examples of the study of the function and evolution of function of genes underlying fundamental cellular, developmental and physiological processes such as: differentiation and growth, programmed cell death, cell-cell communication, cell movement, tissue patterning, neuronal signalling and cellular homeostatis and metabolism.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast techniques used to study gene function, including techniques to monitor gene transcription and protein cellular localisation and to manipulate gene activity in living organisms;

  1. Articulate the advantages provided by the use of model laboratory organisms to investigate molecular, cellular and developmental processes;

  1. Illustrate the application of gene function analysis techniques to advance medical, biological, agricultural, biotechnology and environmental research;

  1. Collect, analyse, interpret and present genetic data effectively in the preparation of scientific reports;

  1. Synthesise and critique new discoveries from the scientific literature in molecular, developmental and cellular genetics.


Examination (3 hours): 60%
Mid-semester test: 10%
Practical reports: 30%

Workload requirements

5-6 hours per week (Two lectures and one lecture/tutorial session per week for 12 weeks. One 3-hour practical session per week for 8-9 weeks.)

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study