First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Medicine
Course unit
MEP5072540, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course 6 years single cycle degree in
ME1728, Degree course structure A.Y. 2015/16, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 7.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination GENERAL BIOLOGY
Department of reference Department of Medicine
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit is available ONLY for students enrolled in MEDICINE AND SURGERY (Ord. 2015)

Teacher in charge PAOLA BRAGHETTA BIO/13
Other lecturers ENRICO MORO BIO/13

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Basic courses BIO/13 Applied Biology 7.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Group didactic activities 0.0 28 0.0 No turn
Lecture 7.0 56 119.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2015 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
BONALDO PAOLO (Membro Effettivo)
MORO ENRICO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Basic notions in Chemistry and Biochemistry
Target skills and knowledge: The Biology Course aims at providing a broad knowledge of the fundamental characteristics of living organisms, of the eukaryotic cell structure (particularly, the cell nucleus), of the flux of genetic information (transcription, translation and their regulation) and related human disorders.
Examination methods: The exam will be a written test divided into two parts: 40 multiple choice questions in the first part, and four open questions in the second part. The second part will be evaluated only if the candidate obtains at least a mark of 18/30 or more in the first part. No oral examination will be considered.
Assessment criteria: The overall evaluation will consider the acquired knowledge, the appropriate terminology, and the ability to describe and integrate the contents of the course.
Course unit contents: The main characteristics of living organisms.
Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. The three Domains: Archea, Bacteria and Eukarya.
Evolution of living organisms.

The Cell Theory.
General structure and organization of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Unicellular and pluricellular organisms.
The evolution of biological processes. The basic genetic processes.

Chemistry of life. Macromolecules. Chemical bonds in living cells. Main structure of nucleotides, DNA and RNA: general features and biological function.

Structure of the nucleus and transport across the nucleus. The nuclear envelope. Importins and exportins. Nuclear lamina. Nuclear sub-compartments.

Characteristics and biological meaning of DNA packaging in Eukaryotes. Chromatin composition: euchromatin and heterochromatin. Histones, nucleosomes and chromosomes.

Genome organization. Size and complexity of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. Repetitive DNA: features, localization and function. The sequencing of genomes.

Transcription: the main steps. Promoters, initiation factors and stop signals. Post-transcriptional modifications. rRNA and ribosomes. The tRNA and the genetic code.

Translation: general mechanisms, phases and involved factors. Quality control mechanisms. Translational recoding. The energy costs of protein synthesis. Proper folding of newly-synthesized proteins. Post-translational modifications. Protein degradation: ubiquitin and proteasome.

DNA replication: semi-conservative model. Proteins involved in DNA replication. DNA polymerases: classification and characteristics of Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic DNA polymerases. High fidelity and proof-reading mechanisms. Origins and replication. Telomere replication and telomerase.

DNA repair: link between DNA lesions and type of mutations. Classification of DNA lesions. DNA repair systems. Relation between DNA structure and repair mechanisms.

DNA Recombination. General and site-specific recombination. Implication of DNA recombination in the evolution of proteins. Somatic recombination and antibodies generation.

Transposable genetic elements. Transposones, retrotransposones, mobile genetic elements in humans. Sources and meaning of the different mobile elements.

Viruses: general structure and type of viral genomes. Bacteriophages and animal viruses. Retroviruses.

Viroids and prions.

Cell cycle and cell division. Cell cycle phases. Main cell cycle checkpoints. Cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases. Differences between yeast and vertebrates cell cycle-related proteins. Apoptosis: intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Nuclear and cytoplasmic division. Tumors: oncogenes and proto-oncogenes.

Meiosis and reproduction. Haploid and diploid cells. Life cycles. Characteristics of meiosis: homologue chromosomes pairing and recombination. Meiotic division, chiasma formation and their meaning. Genetic reassortment and random distribution of homologues.
Differences between mitosis and meiosis.

Biomedical insights: disorders of the nuclear lamina (Progeria), RNA editing and protein translation defects (ALS, CMT2D and DBA), disorders of chromatin remodelling (Rett syndrome), of DNA imprinting (Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes), of DNA replication and repair (Alpers syndrome and Xeroderma pigmentosum)
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The Course will be delivered as lectures. No laboratory activities will be performed, but at the end of the Course practical and theoretical lessons related to the discussed topics will be held. The contents of the topics will be both descriptive and interpretative. Particular emphasis will be given to fundamental aspects of biology and the obtained experimental data. The biological data will be related to the employed method of investigation. Virtual animations on the main biological aspects will be shown.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Appropriate books and scientific papers will be suggested. The University Library System has a wide collection of biology books also as a online resources.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Karp, Gerald, Biologia cellulare e molecolare. Concetti ed esperimenti. Napoli: EdiSES, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Alberts, Bruce et al., Biologia molecolare della cellula. Bologna: Zanichelli, 2016. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Ginelli, Enrico; Malcovati, Massimo; Asselta, Rosanna, Molecole, cellule e organismicoordinamento a cura di Enrico Ginelli, Massimo Malcovatiautori Rosanna Asselta ... [et al.]. Napoli: Edises, 2016. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Action learning
  • Auto correcting quizzes or tests for periodic feedback or exams
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)