GEN2041 - Foundations of Genetics

General Unit Information

Genetics lab class

Why study genetics? Because it is fascinating and fundamental to the understanding of life - genes are the basic building blocks of all living organisms and now you can learn how to change them. And because it is topical - it is always in the news. GEN2041 will introduce you to the basic principles of genetics and will help you to answer questions such as . . . can two blue-eyed parents have a brown-eyed child? What is the chance that you carry one defective copy of a gene for a rare genetic disease? Why do some chromosomal rearrangements lead to repeated miscarriages? What do genetic maps have to do with the Human Genome Project? In GEN2041 your knowledge of Mendelian genetics will be expanded and the mysteries of chromosomes unravelled. The molecular basis of inheritance will be explored and the "why?" and the "how?" of genetic mapping explained.

It is strongly recommended that you study "MOL2011 Molecular Biology - genes and their expression" at the same time as you are studying GEN2041. These two subjects will give you a thorough understanding of genes, their structure, expression and inheritance.

You will emerge from this subject with a basic understanding of DNA, genes and chromosomes and their role at the cellular and organismal level. You will learn basic laboratory skills in a modern teaching laboratory and acquire a fundamental knowledge of experimental design and analysis of data. This unit is an excellent preparation for "GEN2052 - Genomics and Population Genetics".


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain the central role of genes in the inheritance of traits and describe the complex variations in inheritance patterns due to interaction of genes with each other and with the environment;
  2. Illustrate the common chromosomal and molecular mechanisms that underlie inheritance and the structure of DNA, genes and chromosomes;
  3. Explain what genes are, how they are regulated, how they control phenotypes, and how they can be altered by mutation;
  4. Describe a range of organisms used in studying genetics (viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, including humans) and explain their common and unique features;
  5. Convey to a non-specialist audience the relevance and value of genetics to human society;
  6. Demonstrate skills in basic laboratory techniques, in genetics problem-solving and experimental design, and in data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation;
  7. Demonstrate and recognise the value of working with peers.

Specific Unit Information

NamesDr Richard Burke (Clayton Campus)Dr Patrick Tan Hock Siew   (Monash University Malaysia)
Office location18 Innovation Walk - G34D, Ph: 9905 9531Ph:  +603 5515 9609
Office hoursBy appointment - please e-mailBy appointment - please e-mail
Technical Coordinator
NamesMary Angelopoulos 
Office location18 Innovation Walk - Rm 337 
PrescribedSanders and Bowman, Genetic Analysis: An integrated approach, 2nd edition Pearson, 2015
RecommendedGenetics in Medicine, Nussbaum, R.L., McInnes, R.R. and Willard, H.F. /Thompson and Thompson, 7th Edition Saunders Elsevier, 2007 
Program for 2022
University Handbook EntryGEN2041 - Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites 
ScheduleGEN2041 - Lecture & Laboratory Schedule for 2022
Important links
Science FacultyInformation for Current Students
UniversityInformation for Students - Timetables, Exam, Semester Dates, more.....