Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of this course is to give the student the ability to acquire the basic principles of biochemistry, biology and genetics; 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.
Basic knoledge of physics, chemistry and biology
Course contents summary
General and applied Biology
-Chemistry and Biochemistry
-Developmental morphology and genetics.
- Water: chemical and physical properties of water. Water as a solvent:
Weak interactions in aqueous systems. Dipoles and interactions between
different molecules. The hydrogen bonding. Osmosis. Ionization of water.
Acids, and bases. The pH. The buffer solutions and their function /
- Chemistry of carbon. Hydrocarbons and functional groups relevant to
biochemistry. Structural formulas of organic molecules and
nomenclature. The isomerism of organic molecules. Notes on homocyclic
and heterocyclic compounds and aromatic compounds.
- Reactions of functional groups relevant to biochemistry.
- Biological macromolecules:
1) Amino acids, peptide bond, and proteins. Notes on the threedimensional
structure of proteins. Structure-function relationships:
myoglobin and hemoglobin. Enzymes, elements of coenzymes and
2) simple and complex carbohydrates.
3) Lipids: triglycerides and phospholipids.
- Cellular Metabolism
1)ATP as energy exchanger.
2)Cellular respiration and metabolism of carbohydrates.
3)Notes on the metabolism of triglycerides and amino acids.
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. Evolution, consequences and adaptive significance of sexual reproduction.
3. The modern evolutionary synthesis. The Hardy-Weinberg Theorem. Microevolution and its causes. The origin of species. Macroevolution and Phylogeny.
4. Evolution of Vertebrates: an overview. Evolutionary trends in Primates: adaptations for acute vision. Early Anthropoids, Australopitecines and the genus Homo. The evolution of bipedal locomotion and brain in Hominids.
5. Biological Basis of human behavior: Basic concepts of genetic and evolution of behavior. The debate Nature vs Nurture. Imprinting and the attachment Theory. Evolutionary Bio-psychology.
MORFOLOGY AND GENETIC
Genes, genotype and phenotype. The chromosomes: structure and
Basic concepts of development: determination and differentiation,
development patterns in Metazoa: the Drosophila.
Development of the body patterns: segmentation genes.
Determination of sex.
Genetic control of eye development and evolution of the eye and
SOLOMON. Fondamenti di Biologia. Edises
Dispensa: Parmigiani, palanza. Lezioni di Biologia. Santa Croce Edizioni
Morfologia e genetica dello sviluppo
Appunti dalle lezioni
Suzuki DT, Griffiths AJF, Miller JH, Lewontin RC. Genetica. Principi di Analisi Formale. Zanichelli
Introduzione alla Biochimica di Lehninger
David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
Modulo di Chimica e Biochimica: Chimica, Biochimica e Biologia Applicata
Massimo Stefani e Niccolò Taddei
During classroom lectures the teacher illustrates and discusses the state of the art, concepts and experiments in a specific issue. The lectures will be in an interactive format and students are strongly encouraged to ask questions and insert comments
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course
consists of a written examination on the whole program of the course
(Biochemistry, Biology and Morphology and Developmental Genetics)
followed, if you get enough in both modules of the course, by an oral
The oral examination consists of questions: a) regarding any errors in the
written test, b) contents of the course are not mentioned in the written
test. Overall, particular attention will be paid to ascertain whether the
student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the
As required by law and by the academic regulations, it is not possible to
carry out the examination in two parts and acquire loans of a part of the exam.
Board of examiners: Paola Palanza, Alberto Spisni, Gobbi Giuliana.
Substitutes: Lugli Marco, Casali Emanuela
Additional course material and/or lectures' slide in pdf is available on the course website