Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Genes & Development 4C option BIOL4125

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This option will examine and explore the genetic and molecular basis of developmental biology in a variety of important experimental model systems, such as yeast, worms, flies and mice. Given the direct association between development biology and cancer, the option will investigate the relationship between these two topics. 


This option is assigned to block S2-C. There is normally 3 hours of teaching on Thursday. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Degree Group B (Biomolecular Sciences group) or Degree Group C (Human Life Sciences group) programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the option organiser. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 3-hour examination, which contains a paper analysis question based on a published scientific paper shown to the students approximately five weeks before the exam date, and essay-type questions (100%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this option are twofold: 

■ To allow students to study current knowledge and research of the molecular mechanisms that control eukaryotic development;

■ To develop awareness of how this knowledge in model systems translates to understanding key molecular processes in human disease. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ Appraise how development is regulated in eukaryotic organisms, including specific examples in the research areas covered;

■ Critically assess a scientific paper and present it;

■ Interpret and analyse primary literature data and experimental approaches. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.