Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of this course is to give the student the ability to:
- acquire the basic principles of biological sciences and methods.
- learn and apply an evolutionary logic and perspective to interpreting the biological phenomena at different levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismic)
- understand the correlation between structure and function at the different organizational levels.
- acquire a knowledge of genetic principles and develop the ability to read, design and evaluate genetic pedegrees in order to assess the genetic basis of human disorders.
- Appraise the implication of human evolution for the bio-medical research.
basic knowledge of chemistry, physiscs and biology
Course contents summary
The purpose of this course is to give a general overview of biological and genetic concepts and mechanisms in an evolutionary perspective and to gain an appreciation of the importance that biology plays in understanding human health
1. The Nature of science and biology: methods and organizing concepts. The unifying principle of biology: The Theory of Evolution. Darwinian Medicine. Origins and evolution of life on Earth
2. Cell Biology. Procaryotic and Eucaryotic cell. The cell cycle and reproduction: mitosis and meiosis. Male and female gametogenesis and their hormonal regulation.
3. Mendel e the gene idea. Extension of mendelian genetics: the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype. The chromosomal basis of sex and X-linked disorders.. Human genetics: alterations of chromosome number or structure; recessively and dominantly inherited disorders and point mutations. Pedigree analysis.
4. The modern evolutionary synthesis. Microevolution and its causes. The origins of species. Evolution of Vertebrates and the rise of Hominids. The evolution and genetics of language in Hominids.
5. Biological basis of human behavior. Genes, environment and their interaction. Nature and Nurture. Imprinting and the attachment theory. Evolutionary Psychology.
Solomon et al., Biology
During classroom lectures I will illustrate and discuss the state of the art, concepts and experiments in the specific issue of biology. The lectures will be in an interactive format and students are strongly encouraged to ask questions and insert comments. In class exercises on pedigree analysis and use of database resource OMIM ((Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man).
Assessment methods and criteria
oral and written exam
Additional course material on evolution of Hominids and of language and on human genetics is available on the course website