HUMAN GENETICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY - 2025/6

Module code: BMS3093

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to give students a clear view of how and where genetics is used in the ‘real world’. This module will build on the basics of molecular biology and genetics taught in Levels 4 and 5, and will expect students to utilise this prior knowledge and content given in lectures and in the problem-based learning assessments.  This module requires application of understanding and problem solving skills.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

BAILEY Sarah (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 8

Independent Learning Hours: 74

Seminar Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 31

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BMS2036: Molecular biology and genetics: from genes to biological function.  

Module content

Indicative content includes:



  • Inheritance patterns and interpretation of pedigree trees.


  • Methods used to identify & distinguish between mutations and their application in human diseases.


  • Use of bioinformatics to compare & contrast gene sequences across multiple species or from multiple sources.


  • Inheritance of epigenetic control of gene expression.


  • Human genetic disease diagnostics (to include ethics and genetic counselling)


  • Diagnostic tools for identification of somatic cancer cell genetics.

  • Human complex disease research and the effects of the environment and genes on these


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 1 50
Coursework Coursework 2 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate a clear and deep understanding of the different aspects of genetics in the 21st century, and to show your independent learning skills acquired during the course. The assessments aim to ascertain your digital capabilities and problem solving skills, which are key skills for employability beyond your degree programme.

 

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Two assignments, some elements of these will require team/group but will be assessed on individual performance, with a reflective aspect on the efficiency of working in this arrangement. All assessments are coursework and are spread evenly across the semester covering all learning outcomes between them, with a different focus to each. This will test your ability to communicate clearly and concisely, which is a very important skill for a scientist.

 

Coursework 1: Problem based learning, genetics report,  (Addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 5 and 7)

Coursework 2: Coursework based upon multigene disorders, (Addresses learning outcomes 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7)

 

  Formative assessment

 

Weekly tutorials enable you to undertake similar activities to the assessments, in small groups to enhance, sharing your knowledge and developing both professional communication skills and resourcefulness as you utilise the content from the seminars to dive deeper and then relating the information back to a scenario. This structure enables regular oral formative feedback, enhancing the development of your communication skills, assessment literacy and self-efficacy, which are all key employability characteristics. Student resilliance will be fostered in the weekly tutorials as these will enable feedback to be given to engender a growth mindset and identify areas where feedback can be easily applied.

 

 

  Feedback

There will be opportunity to gain immediate formative feedback during the debate preparation sessions and the debate itself, enabling this feedback to be implemented in the final assessment.

Formative feedback is offered at weekly student feedback and consultation hour where you can share your progress and gain oral feedback to aid development of your argument or get help with using software necessary for sequence analysis.

 

During workshops you will receive group feedback on your decision making and feedback will try to facilitate your working methods. Sessions provide similar questions to those in the assessment enabling a similar method of approach and to become more familiar with assessment criteria (assessment literacy). This provides an opportunity to receive oral formative feedback on the approach and quality of the information set out by you as students.

Module aims

  • Create an environment where students build on their knowledge from level 5 molecular biology (use of blast to identify sequence similarities) to utilise specific software to align genomic sequences, identify variants and mutations and their impact on protein structure and function. Development of these digital capabilities is taught through sequential workflow tutorials and enables students to experience failure and develop resilience with the support of staff.
  • Identify differences in phenotypic data between single gene and multi gene disorders and what factors may cause these to be confused. Data analysis and appropriate statistical tests for genetic data will be discussed, and critical analysis of why these are appropriate for the data are essential employability tools.
  • Problem solve inheritance patterns, predict heritability and explain the link to effects such as epistasis, epigenetics and gene dosing when explaining the cause of a genetic disease.
  • Research, apply and generate a compelling argument using the proposed ethical principles in a specific context during the debate, which can be supported or countered only with ethical arguments (not scientific ones). Original context will be given but students will demonstrate and refine their resourcefulness to develop their argument and plan potential areas for expansion/steering of the discussion.
  • Integrate disease outcome knowledge with experimental approaches to identify rationales for experimental design, building on disease research to help problem solve given scenarios.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Interpret a genetic history and predict future inheritance of a disease based upon this. KCT
002 Interrogate and manipulate human databases using digital tools that are taught and explored in the seminar sessions. KCPT
003 Compare and contrast genetic and epigenetic mechanisms stating their influence upon human disease. KCT
004 Evaluate the ethical, practical, and molecular genetic merits surrounding human genetic disease and be able to communicate an opinion and use sources to support your argument. KCPT
005 Summarise the results obtained from a genetic study and identify the diagnostics that may be used to gain further genetic insight into a disease. KCPT
006 Illustrate the role of genetics in current human complex disease research and propose alternative or additional research questions and/or methods. KCT
007 Communicate subject specific knowledge in a scientific manner using correct terminology and figures in line with professional norms both orally and in written formats. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to enable students to be independent learners and thereby gain a deep understanding of genetics as it is used today.

 

Summative, formative and peer feedback is used to enhance knowledge and communication skills which are essential for employability beyond the University.

 

The learning and teaching methods include:

 



  • Seminars; Most of the content will be delivered in this way. These will include active learning activities, small group discussions and link to some additional questions posted for preparation from independent study or recorded content prior to your attendance.


  • Tutorials; Generally these will use a ‘flipped classroom’ approach; facilitated, small-group, problem solving sessions, which will include group working, discussions, and relevant software for sequence analysis. You will be taught how to use software or online algorithms to enhance your digital capabilities that will be relevant to anyone moving into a molecular biology, biochemistry or genetics career. You are encouraged and expected to use prepared information from independent learning to discuss with others, developing your communication and team working skills which are key to success beyond university in all career types. Development of communication skills is directly linked to employability and is a key indicator of student success. We will work through weekly problem-solving exercises, which will foster resourcefulness and resilience as you are supported in critically appraising your own answers and ideas through oral formative feedback and identifying where your ideas could be refined and developed.


  • Workshops: These are designed to create clear links between weekly tutorials and the assessment strategy. These group working sessions provide similar questions to those in the assessment enabling a similar method of approach and to become more familiar with assessment criteria (assessment literacy). You are expected to share how you may approach questions, building resourcefulness and resilience as you identify where you can improve, while being supported to devise a plan for improvement.


  • Recorded content: Short videos watched ahead of the tutorial mean we can explore exactly how these can be used in a much more interactive and applied way in the weekly tutorials.


  • Independent study: Between seminars & tutorials you will need to refine your knowledge through reading of recommended papers relevant to module topics and extending your knowledge beyond the course content through independently selected sources. Completion of recorded content, pre-reading and/or formative assessment tasks will help you to identify areas or topics that you can ask for help with in the tutorial sessions (or on discussion boards) so that you can build upon this knowledge in the in person sessions. Development of self-regulation and emergence as an independent learner, such as that described here, is a key employability attribute.


  • Practical/Performance hours: This is in the form of a class debate on the topic of ethics. In the weeks approaching this session you will have a seminar on ethics, watch a TV broadcast and a workshop to enable you brainstorm a strategy with other students on an aspect of the ethics of genetics. Each group has a private discussion board to suggest ideas and collect their resources and discuss their evidence. Attendance of the debate is compulsory and has a pass/fail element in the assessment criteria. Developing a strong argument and articulating this clearly is a great contributor to enhancing employability.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3093

Other information

The School of Biosciences and Medicine is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

 

Employability: This module provides you with working knowledge of key tools used by geneticists and molecular biologist in research. During face to face sessions you will be introduced to a range of online tools and software necessary for sequence searching and analysis of genetic sequences. The activities have been designed to reflect real-life practice and you will be working in groups to demonstrate how the signs/symptoms vary with the same genetic cause and how distinct genetic changes can cause similar phenotypic changes. You are expected to treat team working (during seminars & workshops and part of the assessment) with professionalism as you prepare to begin your life in the working world in this final semester, demonstrating good transferable [communication, teamwork] skills and implement problem-solving skills, preparing you for work beyond your University course. Assessments 1 and 2 assess your ability to demonstrate the scientific notation and layout consistent with a conference poster, showing attention to detail with transferable skills such as figure legends, referencing and citations which are essential to those following a scientific career upon graduation. This is further extrapolated in Assessment 1 where the genetics report provides and authentic assessment for those wishing to go into a genetics based career.

 

Digital Capabilities: As with all modules, you are expected to engage with online material and resources available on SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms. Following a flipped classroom approach, you are advised to engage with recorded content and independent learning in advance of tutorials, bringing with you any questions. Your engagement in small group discussions is highly encouraged to enhance communication and team working skills including use of collaborative digital tools including poll everywhere, and the discussion boards. You will need to create a professionally designed poster using Microsoft or other poster making software and use collaborative technology (e.g. Microsoft teams, WhatsApp and zoom) in the generation of the poster.

 

 

This module builds on the sustainability of human life, identifying how complex genetics can be and how this information needs to be used in combination with the areas of biochemistry, pharmacology, nutrition and microbiology to sustain life.

 

The module does address a small amount of global & cultural capabilities as students will work in small groups during weekly tutorials and workshops, encouraging students to work with other students from diverse cultures and abilities to achieve an end goal. The content also enables discourse about the differences in worldwide populations, specifically in the personalized medicine section, whereby inbreeding within a geographical area has lead to variants in genes which affect a wide range of phenotypes, which only become apparent when the individuals are exposed to different stimuli or provide a survival advantage.

 

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The learning, teaching and assessment strategy for this module has been designed to encourage active participation, peer support and reflective engagement. It is expected that there will be continual discourse between you and staff members to enable you to develop your knowledge an make mistakes then learn how to adapt and refine ideas and knowledge to answer problems that are posed in the scenarios within each session.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences (Cellular and Molecular Sciences) BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.