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 biological perspective to environmental, medical and social problems
- Appraise the implication of human evolution for the bio-medical research
basic knoledge of Chemistry and Physics
Course contents summary
1. The Nature of science and biology: methods and organizing concepts. Diversity and unity of Life on Earth, Emergent properties, correlation between Structure and Function, Proximate and Ultimate causes. The Scientific method. The unifying principle of biology: The Theory of Evolution.
2. The chemical context of life: water and the structure and function of macromolecules.
3. Origins and evolution of life on Earth.
4. Cell Biology. Procaryotic ed Eucaryotic cells. of cells. Membrane structure and function. Cell metbolism and energy trasformations. The reproduction of cells and cell cycle (binary scission and mitosis).
5. Sexual Riproduction. Meiosis and sexual life cycles. Oogenesis, Spermatogenesis and Hormonal Regolation of reproduction in mammals. Evolution, consequences and adaptive significance of sexual reproduction.
6. Genetics. - Mendel e the gene idea. Extension of mendelaian genetics: the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype (incomplete dominance, multiple alleles, pleiotropy, epistasis, poligenic inheritance, nature vs nurture). The chromosomal basis of inheritance: Morgan’s experiments and chromosome maps. The chromosomal basis of ses and X-linked disorders. Genomic Imprinting. Human genetics: alterations of chromosome number or structure; recessively and dominantly inherited disorders. – The molecular basis of inheritance: DNA structure and replication. From gene to protein: Transcription, Translation and the genetic code. Point mutations. Regulation of gene expression in Procaryotic and eucaryotic cells. The Genome project.
7. Evolution. The Darwinian theory. Evidence from many fields validates the evolution theory. Sexual selection. The modern evolutionary synthesis. The Hardy-Weinberg Theorem. Microevolution and its caueses. The origin of species. Macroevolution and Phylogeny. Darwinian Medicine.
8. Evolution of Vertebrates. Chordate characteristics and the vertebrate genealogy. Vertebrate diversity and phylogeny: an overview. A short story of jaws joint in vertebrate evolution. Mammalian characteristics and teeth as taxonomic clues. Diets and adaptations of the masticatory apparatus. Evolutionary trends in Primates.
9. Human evolution. Early Antyhropoids, Australopitecines and the genus Homo. The masticatory apparatus in Ominid evolution.
CD-Rom: Human Evolution (disponibile in aula informatica)
- Campbell N. Principi di Biologia. Zanichelli; or Purves et al., volumi vari, Zanichelli; or Solomon et al. Fondamenti di Biologia. Edises.
- Nesse RM, Williams G. Perchè ci ammaliamo. Einaudi