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 First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Robert Bryson-Richardson (Clayton); Professor Sadequr Rahman (Malaysia)


The study of genetics and its applications to medicine and forensic biology including genetic disorders, genetic screening and DNA profiling. Topics include cytogenetics, immunogenetics, genetic counselling and gene therapy. The impact and ethics of recent genetic advances on both the individual and society will be discussed. The unit will focus on current techniques in DNA testing both in medical diagnosis and forensic biology. Practical sessions will involve an analysis of human chromosomes and aspects of genetic counselling.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain the application of modern genetic techniques such as gene mapping, genome-wide association studies and individual genome-sequencing to: i) the characterization , diagnosis and treatment of simple and complex human diseases; and ii) the identification of individuals and relationships between individuals by forensic genetics;

  1. Describe how variations in the DNA sequence of a gene can result in changes in gene function that ultimately lead to disease symptoms and explain how improved understanding of this molecular pathology can aid in the treatment of disease, and illustrate the value of model organisms in investigating the molecular pathology of human diseases;

  1. Appraise ethical issues affecting both the individual and society raised by advances in human genetics;

  1. Demonstrate high-level skills in data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation, and apply these in written scientific reports and oral presentations;

  1. Apply advanced problem-solving skills to issues of medical and forensic genetics;

  1. Critically evaluate and summarise new discoveries from the scientific literature in medical and forensic genetics.


End of semester written examination (3 hours): 60%
Mid-semester test: 10%
Oral presentation, practical reports and genetics problem-solving exercises: 30%

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour lecture/tutorial session per week over 12 weeks. One 3-hour practical session per week over 8-9 weeks.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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