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Unit outline_

BIOL3018: Gene Technology and Genomics

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

A unit of study with lectures, practicals and tutorials on the application of recombinant DNA technology and the genetic manipulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Lectures cover the applications of molecular genetics in biotechnology and consider the regulation, impact and implications of genetic engineering and genomics. Topics include biological sequence data and databases, comparative genomics, the cloning and expression of foreign genes in bacteria, yeast, animal and plant cells, novel human and animal therapeutics and vaccines, new diagnostic techniques for human and veterinary disease, and the genetic engineering of animals and plants. Practical work may include nucleic acid isolation and manipulation, gene cloning and PCR amplification, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics, immunological detection of proteins, and the genetic transformation and assay of plants.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
(MBLG2X72 or GEGE2X01 or GENE2002) and 6cp from (MBLG2X71 or BCMB2XXX or QBIO2001 or IMMU2XXX or BIOL2XXX or MEDS2003)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Mary Byrne,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Theory exam
Theory exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Presentation Gene technology applications
Written assignment
20% Week 09
Due date: 01 May 2020 at 18:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3
Assignment Laboratory note book
Written assessment
20% Week 12 See Canvas
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Assessment summary

  • Theory exam: All students will sit a final theory exam held during the official examination period at the end of semester. The exam may comprise multiple-choice, short-answer and/or mini-essay questions from any area of the lecture and practical program.
  • Gene technology applications: Employ library and Internet resources to investigate a topic on an application of gene technology. 
  • Laboratory notebook assessment: Students will maintain a laboratory note book with weekly write up and final conclusions of experiments conducted throughout the semester. The laboratory note books will be submitted at the end of semester. Several items in the note book will be selected for assessment.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Lectures 1-9: Working with genomic information Lecture (9 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Lectures 10-14: Controlling gene expression Lecture (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Lectures 15-24: Gene technology and health Lecture (10 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Weeks 1-5: Analysis of genes Practical (15 hr) LO2
Weeks 6-10 Plant transformation Practical (15 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Weeks 11-12 Gene expression in bacteria Practical (6 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance requirements for this unit of study have been amended. Where online tutorials/workshops/virtual laboratories have been scheduled, students should make every effort to attend and participate at the scheduled time. Penalties will not be applied if technical issues, etc. prevent attendance at a specific online class. In that case, students should discuss the problem with the coordinator, and attend another session, if available.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There are a number of textbooks relevant to the lecture material as listed below. There are also references to original research papers and reviews noted in lectures or available via Canvas or the Library.

Nicholl, D.S.T. An Introduction to Genetic Engineering. (3rd Ed.) Cambridge University Press. 2008.

Watson, J.D., Caudy, A.A., Myers, R.M. and Witkowski, J.A. Recombinant DNA, Genes and Genomes – A Short Course. (3rd Ed.) W.H. Freeman & Company, 2007.

Primrose, S.B., and Twyman, R.M. Principles of Gene Manipulation and Genomics. (7th Ed.). Blackwell Science, 2006.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand regulations governing the generation and use of gene technologies
  • LO2. know, understand and analyse genomic information
  • LO3. define and describe different gene technologies
  • LO4. compare and contrast gene technologies and their application
  • LO5. develop skills in the use and application of molecular biology tools
  • LO6. formulate ideas on the applications of genomic information to gene technology
  • LO7. relate the use of gene technologies to improving our world.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Delivery of the unit of study has taken into consideration student feedback since the unit was last offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances

  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory

  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories

  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door

  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory

  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


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