Curriculum & Course Descriptions


BS1006 Principles of Genetics

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Peter DROGE (email:

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semester 2

Pre-requisite: BS1001

Course Type: BS-Core, BMS-Core, PE-STS, UE

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours:  Lectures: 24 hours; Tutorials: 12 hours

Learning Objective and Content: The Lecture series introduces students to the basic principles of Genetics, with a strong emphasis on molecular and biochemical rather than classical genetics. The structure of the course is designed to guide students, after a brief introduction to classical genetics, from the primary structure of DNA and its chemical properties to the genetic code. This is followed by an introduction to the realization of genetic information in pro- and eukaryotes, mechanisms of gene regulation, the duplication of the genetic material, the various mechanisms of DNA rearrangement and repair, leading to the overall structure and content of Genomes. From there on, topics include the higher organization of DNA inside living cells, the structure of chromosomes, the important question of how the genetic material is segregated during cell division, and the increasingly relevant question of epigenetic modifications of DNA. Finally, the important roles of genes in developmental processes, and in basic human and medical genetics will be discussed at an introductory level. Whenever possible, topics will be highlighted through the presentation of key experiments and the most recent results not yet included in textbooks. Naturally, DNA will be at center-stage in BS1006. Tutorials provide primarily a forum for students to clarify questions concerning the Lectures and for a discussion of topics of interest. Tutorials are not intended to provide additional Lectures. Their success depends, therefore, on active student participation. Whenever appropriate, questions will be posted during the preceding lecture or tutorial. Practicals introduce students to routine yet important techniques in molecular biology. They do not necessarily compile with topics of the parallel-running Lectures/Tutorials; hence they should be viewed as separate entities. Students are expected to look for and read the respective background information before each session. A provide a brief introduction will be provided at the beginning of each laboratory session.

Learning Outcome: Students will be introduced to the most important genetic processes at the molecular level and familiarized with their importance for human development and health. At the end of the 3 months course, students should be able to describe molecular mechanisms of the most fundamental genetic processes and technologies. Based on this knowledge and conceptual understanding, students should predict molecular consequences and phenotypic changes that might result from malfunctioning genetic processes. One representative example includes a description of possible consequences for cells/organs that result from stalled DNA replication forks due to DNA damage. A second example relates to a calculation of possible genetic variants based on the known mechanisms of chromosome segregation during meiosis


  1. P Snustad/Simons, Principles of Genetics, 5th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2010
  2. Klug/Cummings/Spencer/Palladino, Essentials of Genetics, 7th Edition, Pearson, 2010.

*Prerequisites for Incoming Exchange Students: Equivalent of A-Level Biology