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 First semester 2015 (Day)
Malaysia Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian (Clayton); Dr Song Beng Kah (Malaysia)


Recent technological advances in DNA analysis now allow the rapid and relatively cheap sequencing of entire genomes of individual organisms. These developments have the potential to revolutionize how we identify genes that control both simple and complex traits. Bioinformatic analysis of genomic data will also be highly influential in shaping our view of how organisms adapt to changes in their environment and how over a longer time-scale, traits such as body size and pattern and physiological and behavioral responses can evolve, leading to the rich diversity of life forms seen today. This unit will explore the use of whole-genome techniques to examine gene regulation, identify the genes controlling both simple and complex traits, determine how individuals and populations adapt to selective pressure and piece together the evolutionary changes that have given rise to complex multicellular life. Such information will increasingly be important in the 21st century for sustainable development of human civilization in concert with a healthy planetary environment. Students will acquire relevant laboratory and computer-based skills including genetic database analysis and bioinformatics, forward genetic approaches and mapping and identification of genes controlling complex quantitative traits.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe recent advances in genetic knowledge gained from genomic analysis of species ranging from unicellular to multicellular organisms;

  1. Determine potential applications for genomic techniques in the areas of medical research, agriculture, biotechnology and environmental management;

  1. Utilise bioinformatic tools to compare DNA and protein sequences, search for genetic variants controlling complex traits, analyse transcriptome data and search for genomic signatures for adaptation;

  1. Illustrate the processes required to map and identify genes controlling complex biological traits and articulate how forward genetics approaches can be used to determine gene function;

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

  1. Synthesize and critique new discoveries from the scientific literature in genomics.


End of semester written examination: 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 9 weeks)

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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