BIOSCI 355 : Genomics and Genome Biology


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Biological information is coded in and expressed from genomes. This course explores methods for detecting structural and functional elements of genomes, plus the wider genome biology of eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems. Students will learn how genomic data is generated and analysed, how genomes evolve, and how genomic information is expressed and regulated.

Course Overview

Nau mai, haere mai! Welcome to BIOSCI355!
Genome research is a very fast moving field that has been driven by rapid technological and methodological change. With methods appearing (and disappearing) at a rapid rate, the challenge for us as lecturers is to capture the most important developments and teach you the most general skills. Having seen the rise of genomics in our lifetimes as scientists, and watched new methods come and go, we decided to try and create a course that includes a mix of experimental, computational* and conceptual material that we hope will arm you with knowledge of the key underpinning concepts, the key skills, and the broadest insights from the new field of genome biology.
[*Don’t panic, no prior knowledge of computing is required!]

We will cover four broad topics:
Module 1: Advanced Molecular Genetics
Module 2: Eukaryote genome biology
Module 3: Prokaryote genome biology 
Module 4: Gene expression & regulation 

The course is a mix of lectures (2/week), tutorials (1/week), and a weekly lab (either experimental or computational). The labs for the first two modules are focused around a major piece of research work, while labs for modules 3 & 4 will develop your ability to analyse genomic data. The tutorials will give you practical 'under the hood' knowledge of how we analyse genomic data, and assume no prior knowledge.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 202 Restriction: BIOINF 301, BIOSCI 354

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how genomics is being used to inform the study of biological systems (Capability 1)
  2. Describe and contrast the biology of prokaryotic, eukaryotic and viral genomes (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Describe the methodologies for how genomes and transcriptomes are sequenced and analysed, as well as their limitations (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of key algorithms underlying bioinformatics-based analysis of genomic data (Capability 1)
  5. Choose appropriate tools for analysis of genomic data (Capability 1 and 3)
  6. Apply principles of experimental design to studies involving high-throughput data (Capability 3)
  7. Design and perform basic analysis of genomic data using appropriate computational tools (Capability 1 and 3)
  8. Design, independently or within a group, genome research projects aimed at illuminating genome function and evolution (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  9. Communicate findings through scientific report writing (Capability 2 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 25% Individual Examination
Laboratories 30% Group & Individual Coursework
Tutorials 20% Individual Coursework
Test 25% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Final Exam

Students must pass both the theory (in-term test and exam) and practical (laboratory and tutorial) components of the course to gain a pass in this course.


Tuākana Biology programme runs Stage 3 support meetings for Stage 3 students. Whilst not specifically structured for individual courses per se, students at this advanced level form effective study groups and can seek assistance from academic staff and tutors on an as-needed basis.

Information on the SBS Tuākana programme can be found here:

Key Topics

Module 1: Advanced Molecular Genetics
Module 2: Eukaryote genome biology
Module 3: Prokaryote genome biology 
Module 4: Gene expression & regulation 

Learning Resources

Recommended course texts:
There is no essential text for the course. We will cross-reference the below recommended texts where relevant. Lecturers will provide links within the modules to key readings.  
Genomes 4 - T.A. Brown
Introduction to Genetic Analysis (9th or 10th ed.) - Griffiths, Wessler, Carroll, Doebley
Genetics: A Conceptual Approach (6th edition). B.A. Pierce

Special Requirements

Attendance at laboratory sessions is compulsory.

Some of the practical work will be undertaken in a PC1 containment facility. Information on how to work safely and in compliance with regulatory requirements will be provided in the laboratory sessions.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

Each week you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, a 3 hour lab, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 2 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 12/02/2020 08:12 p.m.