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Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[40/39]  MEDICINE AND SURGERY [39/00 - Ord. 2015]  PERCORSO COMUNE 7 70


At the end of the course, the student will
a) know:
- the structure and function of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, viruses, and their mutual interaction;
- the cellular events shared by all living organisms and the molecular mechanisms involved;
expression and regulation of the genetic information at cellular and molecular level;
- the process of cell reproduction;
- how inheritable characters are transmitted and which factors affect genetic variability;
b) be able to:
- integrate and apply knowledge of cell biology, molecular biology and genetics in order to understand the physio-pathological mechanisms involved in diseases;
- show a critical approach, a constructive criticism and a research oriented innovative capacity;
- handle the importance, as well as the limits, of scientific knowledge, acquired from different sources, for establishing cause, treatment and prevention of diseases;
- use personal judgment to solve complex problems, and search independently the necessary information based on scientific evidence;
- describe clearly, thoroughly and with an appropriate scientific language the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired throughout the course;
- gather, organize and critically interpret the new scientific findings and biomedical information from different sources and databases available;
- identify what is necessary for continuing education.


Prerequisite for attending the course of Biology and Genetics is the basic general and scientific knowledge required for passing the admission test. Moreover, the student must have a good knowledge of the courses attended at the University before the start of Biology and Genetics, like Physics, General and Organic Chemistry.


Introduction to Biology

Overview of living organisms. The cell. Single-celled and multi-celled organisms.
Macromolecules: monosaccharides and polysaccharides, fatty acids and lipids, aminoacids and proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids.
Structure and function of proteins. Peptide bond. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of proteins. Enzymes.
Cell theory.
Structure of prokaryotic cell. Autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms.
Structure of eukaryotic cell: an overview on membranes, cell organelles and cytoskeleton. The nucleus. Mitochondria and chloroplasts. Ribosomes. Structure and function of plasma membrane. Endocytosis ed exocytosis. Viruses.

The genetic information

Experiments by Griffith. Experiments by Avery, MacLeod and McCarty. Experiment by Hershey and Chase.
The chemical composition of DNA. Chargaff rules.
DNA: structure and characteristics. The model of the double helix by Watson e Crick.
DNA in prokaryotes: the bacterial chromosome.
DNA in eukaryotes: chromatine. From nucleosome to eukaryotic chromosome. Chromosomes and chromatids. Haploid and diploid organisms. Homologous chromosomes. The genome. Genome organization in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotic cells.

Molecular biology

The central dogma of molecular biology.
DNA replication. Experiment by Meselson and Stahl.
The enzymes of replication: DNA-polymerases. The role of DNA-primase.
Telomere replication: telomerase.
Gene expression: from DNA to proteins.
Transcription: the different RNAs in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
The enzymes of transcription: RNA-polymerases. Promoters. Splicing.
Translation: protein syntesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The genetic code.
Protein sorting.
DNA mutations. Repair mechanisms.
Regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes: the operon. Induction and repression of batterial operons.
DNA recombination in bacteria: transformation, conjugation, transduction.

Cell division

Reproduction of the prokaryotic cell.
Reproduction of viruses. Lythic and lysogenic cycles.
Reproduction of the eukaryotic cell. The cell cycle.
Somatic cells and germ cells.
Somatic cells division: mitosis. Stages of mitosis.
Germ cells division: meiosis. Stages of meiosis. Crossing over.
Sources of genetic variation.
Male and female gametogenesis.
Karyotype. Normal and abnormal karyotypes.
Chromosomal abnormalities. Aneuploidy: trisomy e monosomy.
Structural aberrations: deletions, duplications, inversions, translocations. Robertsonian translocations.
Meiotic and mitotic non-disjunctions. Mosaicism.

Teaching Methods

Oral lessons, lab practice

Verification of learning

Oral examination. Knowledge and understanding of the topics covered throughout the course will be evaluated, as well as the capacity to integrate the different topics, the ability to apply such knowledge to problem solving, the communication skills with an appropriate terminology.
The evaluation is expressed as follows:
basic knowledge of the topics; sufficient knowledge of the appropriate terminology. 18-20
more than basic knowledge of the topics; ability of applying knowledge; more than sufficient knowledge of the appropriate terminology.21-23
sound knowledge of the topics; good capacity to integrate knowledge; ability in problem solving; good communication skills, with use of appropriate terminology. 24-26
deep knowledge of the topics; very good capacity to integrate knowledge; very good ability in problem solving; very good communication skills with an appropriate terminology. 27-29
very deep knowledge of the topics; excellent capacity to integrate knowledge; excellent ability in problem solving; excellent communication skills with a fluent and appropriate terminology. 30-30 cum laude.


Biology and Genetics
De Leo et al “Biologia e Genetica”, Edises , 3rd ed. 2013
Karp “Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare”, Edises, 5th ed. 2015
Alberts et al “L'essenziale di biologia molecolare della cellula”, Zanichelli, 6th ed. 2016
Russell “Genetica”, Pearson, 4th ed. 2014

More Information

Teachers email addresses
vanni@unica.it and rrobledo@unica.it

Meeting the teachers
Prof. Vanni and Prof. Robledo are available for students: an appointment is necessary.

Questionnaire and social

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