Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


BIOL123 Cells and Tissues - the Fabric of Life OR BIOL125 Human Biology 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Human genetics is at the forefront of biological and medical breakthroughs, affecting our daily lives and choices. This unit offers a study of the terminology and principles of genetics, including the nature and cause of genetic variation in humans and the examination of patterns of inheritance of genetic traits. Students gain 'hands-on' experience in the modern techniques of DNA analysis that are relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of selected genetic disorders. Genetic counselling is introduced, and the principles of and ethical issues associated with gene therapy and prenatal diagnosis are discussed. This unit also offers opportunities to demonstrate effective communication of biomedical science knowledge as students are required to formulate evidence-based and scientifically sound arguments in spoken, written, and internet-based forms. This is a science unit contributing to the realisation of the University's mission to develop graduates capable of defending an ethical standpoint while applying the principles of genetics and human dignity.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the modes of inheritance and relate them to human variation and genetic disease (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Identify and explain the main types of mutation and their consequences (GA5)

LO3 - Explain and interpret current techniques employed in genetic analyses and appraise their relevance in the diagnosis of human genetic disorders (GA3, GA5)

LO4 - Analyse the principles and appraise the importance of gene technology and genetic counselling (GA1, GA3, GA5)

LO5 - Develop and argue for an ethical standpoint on a genetics-related topic (GA3, GA5, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively


Topics will include:

• Nature and cause of genetic variation in humans

• Patterns of inheritance of genetic traits

• Population genetics

• Techniques in DNA analysis, including cytogenetics, biochemical analysis and recombinant DNA technology

• Application of DNA techniques to diagnose, prevent, and manage genetic disorders

• Genetic counselling

• Principles of and ethical issues associated with gene therapy and prenatal diagnosis

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

To promote student engagement, a flipped learning strategy, supported by online resources, will be used where pre-recorded lectures provide content before the relevant classes. A wide array of activities, including discussions and debates, will be employed to assess understanding of content and to improve students’ inquiry skills.

Small-group classes will provide opportunities for interactive learning with staff and peers. These activities will include computer simulations as well as problem solving, critical analysis and applications of concepts learnt, and human genetics-related ethical issues. Attendance at all classes is strongly encouraged so that students attain all learning objectives of the unit, including skills in genetic analysis techniques and critical thinking.

Principles of human dignity and spirit of community engagement are instilled through invited guest speakers with real life experience of genetic disorders as patients or support personnel.

The assessment tasks are an integral element of the unit’s learning strategy as students are required to research and engage with various topics in human genetics, both individually and collaboratively.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to ascertain students have attained the learning outcomes of the unit and developed the specified graduate attributes.

The quizzes will assess acquisition and understanding of genetic concepts to be applied in subsequent classes, assessment tasks, and while working in a genetics-related field.

The written assignment stimulates critical thinking, encourages reflection on the learning material, and permits students to demonstrate understanding and correct application of selected techniques used in genetic analyses. This assessment also helps students demonstrate professional and persuasive communication while applying ethical perspectives in informed decision making.

A web-based group assessment task provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of selected genetic disorders through independent research and peer support while displaying values consistent with the University’s mission for ethical and social quests. This assessment improves students’ written communication skills and permits them to demonstrate respect to human dignity.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Quizzes to demonstrate students’ understanding of essential genetic principles to be applied in their later assignments and professional lives.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5

Written assignment to encourage individual reflection on the learning material, stimulate critical thinking, and demonstrate understanding and correct application of selected techniques used in genetic analyses.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7

A web-based group assessment task on selected genetic disorders that allows students to demonstrate their understanding through independent research and peer support.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7

F = formative; S= summative; H = hurdle

Representative texts and references

Cummings, M. R. (2016). Human Heredity. Principles and Issues. 11th edition, Brookes/Cole. CENGAGE Learning.

Jackson, M., Marks, L., May, G. H. W., Wilson, J. B. (2018). Essays in biochemistry(2018) 62 (5). 643-723

Korf.B. R. (2002). Genetics in medical practice. Genetics in Medicine (2002) 4, 10S–14S; doi:10.1097/00125817-200211001-00003.

Nussbaum, R.L. McInnes, R.R. Willard, H.F. (2016) Thompson and Thompson Genetics in Medicine. (8th Ed) Elsevier.

Tobias, E.S. Connor, J.M. and Ferguson-Smith, M.A. (2011) Essential Medical Genetics.(6th Ed.) John Wiley and Sons.

Watson, J., Baker, T., Bell, S., Gann, A., Levine, M. and Losick, R. (2014). Molecular Biology of the Gene. Pearson: New York..

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs