BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of this course isto give the student 1)the ability tounderstand biological phenomena atall levels of organization.2) the knowledge and application ofthe evolutionary approach frommolecular to organismic organization.3)the principles of genetic and its importance in the understanding ofevolutionary processess. 4)the awareness that the same principles discovered for all the other creatures are valid inthe human animal and finally 5) that thebiological research is the foundation of our scientific knowledge applied tomedicine.
Basic knowledges of Chemistry and Physics.
Course contents summary
Biology: the nature of science and scientific theories
Thescientific methods and theoriesin the study of life: observations,hypotheses, experimental and comparativemethods. The theory ofevolution as core and unifying principle of thebiological disciplines.The evolutionary approach to the study of biologicalphenomena: the “howquestions” or proximate causes (proximal mechanisms) and “whyquestions”or ultimate causes (adaptive mechanisms or adaptive functions).
Organization and evolution of living matter
Thechemistry of life and theprinciple of emergent properties. Structureand functions of biological macromolecules:carbohydrates, lipids,proteins and nucleic acids.
Level of biological organization, and the relationships betweenstructure and function
Diversityand unity of life: thelevels of organization and the cell as the basicuniy of life. The cellulartheory: prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells,unicellular and multicellularorganisms. The concept of species. Evolutionary thinking: Darwin and the evolutionary theory. Proof ofevolution: importance of taxonomy(classificationof organisms), comparative anatomy and developmentalbiology(comparative embriology) for the understanding of evolution. Theconcepts ofanalogy, omology, ontogenesis and phylogenesis.
Origin of life:earlyearth oxygenless atmosphere and abiotic synthesis of biomolecules.Evolutionof prokaryotic cell: autotroph and heterotroph cells.Evolution of eukaryoticcell: endosymbiontic origin of mitochondria andchloroplasts organelles. Theorigin of autotroph metabolism and itsconsequence on the evolution of life onearth.
Evolution and biology of the cell(with particolar emphasis on the relationships between structure and function)
Membrane structure and function.Membrane receptors. Theendoplasmicreticulum. The Golgi apparatus. Lysosomes. Ribosomes.Mitochondria and chloroplasts.Nucleus: genetic materials, cromosomes.Cell reproduction: the eukaryotic cellcycle: Mitosis andmeiosis.Bioenergetic. Cellular respiration and ATPproduction. Enzymesand regulation of metabolic processess (i.e. control of theenzymeactivity by feed-back mechanisms). Evolution of metabolism andtherelationship between respiration and photosynthesis (i.e.relationship betweenautotrophs and eterotroph organisms).
Thetheoryof evolution: genetic variability and natural selection. Sexualselection. Mechanismsof evolution and proof of evolution. Populationgenetic, the Hrdy -Weinbergequilibrium and the synthetic modern theoryof evolution(neodarwinism). Naturalselection and mutation as the coremechanisms of evolution, genetic drift andmicroevolutionary processess.Molecular evolution. Macroevolution: speciation(or the origin ofspecies). Phylogenesis of Vertebrates. Evolution of man.
Animal Biology( with particularemphasis to vertebrates)
Asexualandsexual reproduction. Evolution and adaptive significance of sexuality.Meiosisand sexual life cycles. Gamete formation: spermatogenesis andoogenesis. Fertilisationand embryonic and fetal development (seeconcept of omology, ontogenesis andphylogenesis ). Evoltion ofneuroendocrine system:endocrine glands, hormonesas messenger, steroid and peptidehormone mechanisms of action.Relationship between hypotalamus, pituitary and bodytarget cells.Regulation of hormone production and release. Hormonal regulationofreproductive activity of vertebrates with particular attention toPrimatesand hence human species.
Instinct, learning and memory. Neuroendocrinecontrol of behavior. Geneticand evolution of behavior. Social behavior:aggression, sexual selection andreproductive strategies. Relationshipbetween cultural and biological evolution.
Genetics: the study of mechanism ofheredity of characters
Mendel’sexperimental approach: thediscovery of the first(segregation) andsecond(independent assortment) law ofheredity and the developm
Solomon E.P., Berg L.R e Martin D.W..:FONDAMENTI di BIOLOGIA,Edises.; (reduced version of the English version : Biology)
Campbell N.A. “PRINCIPI DI BIOLOGIA” Zanichelli (reduced version of the English version Biology) GriffithsA JF , MillerJ. H ,Suzuki T , Lewontin R C , GelbartWM. GENETICA. Principi di analisi formale. Zanichelli
Frontal lectures open to discussion and debate.
Evaluation of the student is through a written multiple choice test questions and oral test.
SSD BIO/13: Prof.Stefano Parmigiani (Coordinator), Prof.Marco Lugli, Prof.Pierfrancesco Ferrari, Prof.Paola Palanza
SSD MED/03: Prof.Mario Savi, Prof.Tauro Maria Neri