15950 - Biology and Genetics (AK-B)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

Modern Biology introduction
The cellular and molecular biology.
Properties of living organisms; relationship between organisms and their environment.
The Biology Science evolution from cellular theory and microscopy to System Biology.
Genome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome: new topics in medical science.
Genomics and post-genomics methods of the translational Medicine.

Cells and Organisms

The prokaryotic and the eukaryotic cells and their properties. The viruses.

The cell theory. Shape, size and structure of eukaryotic cells. Theories on the origin of life. Genes and genomes evolution. The origin of cellular organelles and multicellularity.

Criteria of classification of the organisms.

The genome information structure and the gene expression control

The nucleus: DNA, chromatin, chromosomes. The hypothesis of chromosomal territories. New informative codes: histone code and nucleosome code. Epigenetic: a new frontier in the cellular information knowledge.

Mechanisms of gene expression regulation. Levels of control: transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational events.

The non coding genes: ncRNAs. Function in silencing of human genes.

The transmission of genetic information (DNA) from cell to cell. Cell division and cell death

The cell cycle: phases and mechanisms of control.
Cyclin dependent kinases and their function.
The brakes of cell cycle: p53.
The induction of cell division: growth factors. EGF and Wnt signalling.

Different pathways and functions between autophagy, necrosis and apoptosis.

Apoptosis: role in the organisms's homeostasis.

Reproduction and Cell differentiation
Human reproduction and fertilization. The two main strategies: sexual and asexual reproduction.

Differentiation and gene expression during the early organisms development.
Cells interactions and communication. Cell-cell interactions (induction and lateral inhibition) and cytosolic determinants.

Cancer biology
Aberrations on cellular functions and pathology. Cancer stem cell. Tumor heterogeneity and cancer cell plasticity.
Cancer genetics. Oncogenes, tumor suppressors and caretaker genes.
New molecular targets in therapy: the translational medicine.


The book should be of University level and it should take only after the lessons are going to begin. Some suggestions:

- De Leo G, Ginelli E, Fasano S. Biologia e genetica. Edises IV edizione/2020.

- Ginelli E, Malcovati M et al. Molecole, Cellule e Organismi. EdiSES, 2016.

or in alternative:

Becker WM, Kleinsmith LJ, Hardin J, Bertoni GP. Il mondo della cellula. Pearson Bnjamin Cummings IX edizione/2018.

Karp G. Biologia cellulare e molecolare. Edises V edizione/2015.

Alberts B, Bray D, Hopkin K, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P. L'essenziale di biologia molecolare della cellula. Zanichelli IV edizione/2015.

For more details:

Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Morgan D, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P. Biologia molecolare della cellula. Zanichelli VI edizione/2016.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, video and discussion of some topics and scientific papers.

Assessment methods

The student must face an oral examination about Biology and Genetics in the same day.

The topics of the exam will be the master argument treated during the lessons and specified in class at the end of the course.

The degree will be the average of the two evaluations.

Teaching tools

Books, reviews, full papers, video and digital platform for teacher's original schemes and notes (platform Virtuale).

Office hours

See the website of Flavia Frabetti