Biology: Genetics, Evolution and Biotechnology
Semester Elective Unit
There are no prerequisites for this course.
All life on Earth is engaged in a constant struggle to survive the challenges of constantly changing environments. The ability of individual species to adapt and evolve in the face of these challenges is a function of the special properties of the DNA molecule and the processes of natural selection that provide the driving force for change. This unit explores the nature of the DNA molecule, the way in which the information in DNA is translated into the complex physical and chemical structure of a living organism, and the ways in which it is shared and transferred from one generation to the next. It also examines the way in which our environment controls the direction of changes in species over time and the ways in which emerging technologies with the capacity for manipulation of DNA are impacting on our future.
- How can species become other species?
- Why are there so many different kinds of living things and how is it that they have so much in common?
- How are modern technologies changing the shape of our future through manipulation of our DNA and what are the implications of this?
Areas of Study
- How DNA affects who we are and how we look.
- How our genetic information is passed down through the generations.
Evolution and Natural Selection
- The evidence for evolution, changes in species over time.
- How species become new species — natural selection at work.
Selection of investigations that include, microscopic investigation of the structure of cells, extraction of DNA from cells, the use of online simulations to analyse trends in natural selection and the analysis of family pedigrees.
Self-designed investigation: Students design and conduct their own experimental investigation on a topic of interest.
||A personal investigation of genetically inherited diseases and an aspect of gene technology.
||Two tests comprising a balance of multiple choice and short answer questions.
||Students undertake an examination at the conclusion of the course.