Combined Bachelor's + Master's degree in Medicine and Surgery

Genetics and Molecular Biology - GENETICA MOLECOLARE

Course code
Name of lecturers
Cristina Bombieri, Elisabetta Trabetti
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Lezioni 1° semestre 2°- 6° anno dal Oct 3, 2016 al Dec 22, 2016.

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Lesson timetable

Lezioni 1° semestre 2°- 6° anno

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide the basic knowledge of human genetics in order to be able to understand the principles of transmission of normal and pathological hereditary tracts, as well as the mode of occurrence of hereditary biological variability.


DNA polymorphisms: RFLPs, VNTRs, minisatellites, microsatellites, SNPs, CNVs. Karyotype polymorphisms. Definition, analysis methods and their applications: individual identification, paternity testing, criminal investigations, mixed and complete chimerism following bone marrow transplantation, hydatidiforme mole. Examples of cases analysed in the Biology and Genetics Section.

Linkage analysis: use of DNA markers; linkage disequilibrium, informativeness of a family with a gene associated DNA marker; factors determining diagnostic accuracy in linkage analysis, usefulness of the flanking markers. Examples of investigations performed at the labs of the Biology and Genetics Section.

Molecular genetics in medicine.
Diagnosis of genetic diseases by DNA analysis: functional and positional cloning, identification of disease gene and pathological gene mutations, analysis of frequency and geographical distribution of mutations, direct and indirect methods for gene mutation analysis.

Population genetics.
Mendelian population and gene pool. Hardy-Weinberg law: definition, calculation of allele and genotype frequencies, equilibrium assessment, examples and problems. Assumption for H-W Equilibrium and disturbing factors: genetic drift, founder and bottleneck effect, geographic isolated, inbreeding, mutation, selection, migration, heterozygote advantage. Variability and human evolution.

Examples of the genetic disease study
Inherited disorders of hemoglobin: alpha and beta-thalassemia, sickle-cell disease, HPFH. Evolution of globin genes, globin gene clusters, orthologous and paralogous genes. Clinical terminology and main thalassemia mutations, Hemoglobin Lepore. Hemoglobinopathies and heterozygote advantage.

Cystic fibrosis (CF): clinical features, positional cloning and identification of CFTR gene, most frequent mutations, CF mutation classification, genotype-phenotype correlation. Complexity in Mendelian diseases: cystic fibrosis and related phenotypes, modifier genes.

Genetics of cancer. Tumors as multifactorial and somatic genetic diseases; clonal origin of cancer. Tumor genes (classification and characteristics) and cellular cycle: proto-oncogene (cellular oncogene, c-onc), tumor suppressor gene, mutator genes. Proto-oncogene products and their involvement in normal cellular function. Activation mechanisms of proto-oncogene and tumor suppressor gene; Knudson two hits model, loss of heterozygosity (LOH), genomic instability - microsatellite instability (MIN); mutator genes and examples of AD, AR genetic diseases associated with cancer. Sporadic and hereditary forms. Examples: CML-philadelphia chromosome, Burkitt lymphoma, retinoblastoma, colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), HNPCC. Notes on miRNAs and their involvement in cancer.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Neri G e Genuardi M Genetica Umana e Medica (Edizione 3) EDRA LSWR - Masson 2014 978-88-217-3743-4

Assessment methods and criteria

Written test, contextual to the Molecular Biology test, including multiple-choice quiz, open questions and exercises. Subsequent oral test, subject to positive evaluation of the written tests.


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