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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[40/39]  MEDICINE AND SURGERY [39/00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 7 70


KNOWLEDGE: the student will have to 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 and how inheritable characters are transmitted and which factors affect genetic variability.
APPLICATION SKILLS: the student must 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. The student will also have to demonstrate a critical approach, a constructive criticism and a research oriented innovative capacity.
AUTONOMY OF JUDGMENT: the student will have to make personal judgments to solve complex problems and and search independently the necessary information based on scientific evidence.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS: the student will have to describe clearly, thoroughly and with an appropriate scientific language the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired throughout the course.
LEARNING SKILLS: the student will learn to gather, organize and critically interpret the new scientific findings and biomedical information from different sources and databases available and 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 before the beginning 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.
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.


Mendel’s experiments. Alleles.
The principle of segregation: dominance e recessiveness. Homozygosity and heterozygosity. Genotype and phenotype.
The principle of independent assortment.
The chromosome theory of inheritance.
Genetic linkage and crossing over.
Incomplete dominance and co-dominance. Penetrance and expressivity.
Genes interaction: epistasis.
Transmission of hereditary characters. ABO blood group.
Sex determination.
Autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.
Autosomal dominant mode of inheritance.
X-linked inheritance.
Mitochondrial inheritance.
Pedigree analysis of mono-factorial segregating characters.

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.

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.

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:
a) Pass (from 18 to 20/30)
Basic knowledge of the topics; sufficient knowledge of the appropriate terminology.
b) Satisfactory (from 21 to 23)
More than basic knowledge of the topics; ability of applying knowledge; more than sufficient knowledge of the appropriate terminology
c) Good (from 24 to 26)
Sound knowledge of the topics; good capacity to integrate knowledge; ability in problem solving; good communication skills, with use of appropriate terminology.
d) Very Good (from 27 to 29)
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.
e) Excellent (30-30 cum laude)
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.


Biology and Genetics
De Leo et al “Biologia e Genetica”, Edises , 4rd ed. 2020
Karp “Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare”, Edises, 6th ed.2021
Alberts et al “L'essenziale di biologia molecolare della cellula”, Zanichelli, 6th ed. 2016
Russell “Genetica”, Pearson, 5th ed. 2019
Genetica, G. Binelli et al., 2017

More Information

paola.caria@unica.it; rrobledo@unica.it

The teacher is available to meet students by appointment, previous email contact.

Questionnaire and social

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