Bachelor's degree in Sport and Exercise Science (from 2008-2009)

Biology [Matricole pari]

Course code
Name of lecturer
Maria Romanelli
Maria Romanelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
1° semestre motorie dal Oct 1, 2020 al Jan 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide knowledge on cellular structures and functions, cell replication processes, transmission of genetic information, mechanisms of transcription and translation of the genetic information; general and up-to-date knowledge of biological issues that find application in the profession of sports activity experts; knowledge of modern biological investigation techniques that can be used in studies of motor activity and sports. Learning outcomes: understanding of the "scientific method" by describing and interpreting experiments that are part of the history of biology; description of the molecular processes that allow gene expression.


At the end of the course the student will learn about the following topics:
1. The characteristics common to all living organisms
2. The observations and experiments that led to the discovery of the genetic material: Griffith’s experiments and experiments by Avery, McLeod and McCarty on the identification of DNA; the central dogma of Biology, for which DNA derived from the RNA and protein by RNA; the discovery of the structure of DNA by Erwin Chargaff , Rosalind Franklin, J. Watson and F. Crick and finally to Meselson and Stahl (the semiconservative replication).
3 . The morphological and functional differences between viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes including protists.
4. The biology of the cell: the organization of the eukaryotic cell, the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments. Microscopy and analytical techniques applied to the cell studies.
4.1 Cell membranes: the bilayer of phospholipids, cholesterol and membrane proteins, the relationship between the antigens on the erythrocyte membrane and blood groups. The transport mechanisms
4.2 The functions of the cell organelles.
4.3 The cell aggregates and the extracellular matrix
4.4 The morphology and function of the epithelial cells
4.5 The morphology of the muscle cell and the nerve cell, the neuromuscular junction and neurotransmitters, synapses, and its organization and the enzymes involved. Depolarization of the membrane, the chain of events that leads to the transmission of the signal from synapse to synapse through the axon, Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes; the action potential and muscle contraction. The muscle cell, molecules, enzymes and proteins involved in contraction of the muscle fiber. The muscle fiber types and their characteristics, the growth of muscle mass related to training, the function of satellite cells, the function of myostatin and its inhibitors.
4.6 The cells of the connective tissue: diversity and functions
5. The cell reproduction: the cell cycle and the mechanisms that govern cell division (mitosis) and both male and female gametogenesis (meiosis). The stem cells ,
6. The flow of gene expression: transcription and translation. The eukaryotic chromosome and gene regulation and expression. Chromatin and chromosomes. The human karyotype. Interpreting the switching on or off of the gene activity in response to an environmental stimulus; interpret the phenomena of differentiation and cell growth through mechanisms such as autocrine, paracrine and endocrine systems. Genetic mutations. The difference between gene mutations and chromosomal abnormalities, spontaneous mutations, mutagens and their action, the test of "fluctuation", the Ames’s test, the correlation between mutagenesis and cancer, the relationship between smoking and cancer, damage to UV and repair mechanisms, the Xerodema Pigmentosum.
7. Inheritance of characters: the principles of mendelian genetics, the allels and the concepts of dominance and recessiveness.
8. Human genetics: interpreting and building family trees, with particular reference to characters such as the blood groups and some of the known genes in human genetic diseases (eg, familial hypercholesterolemia, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, etc..)
9. The principles of population genetics population and the Hardy and Weinberg low.
10. The developmental biology: embrional layers and their fate. The mechanisms involved in the aging; genetics and environmental factors; the Hayflick's experiments; the role of free radicals, antioxidants;, the shortening of telomeres;the genetic programs that determine the average life span of a species.
The teaching methods consist of lectures during which the topics covered in the program will be discussed.

The assessment of learning outcomes envisages a written test to ensure knowledge of the topics under consideration.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Campbell et al. Biologia e genetica Pearson 2015
Raven, Johnson, Mason, Losos, Singer Elementi di biologia e genetica (Edizione 2) Piccin 2019
Sadava, Hillis, Craig Heller, Hacker Elementi di Biologia e Genetica (Edizione 5) Zanichelli 2019
Pierantoni et al. Fondamenti di Biologia e Genetica EdiSES 2019 978-88-3319-020-4

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of learning outcomes envisages a written test to ensure knowledge of the topics under consideration.
The written test potentially covers all the topics listed in the program. It is articulated in groups of question-related to the main themes of the course (life macromolecules, cell biology, cell interactions, genetic information flow, mendelian inheritance, human genetics). Items are formulated as multiple answer questions and open answer questions. The answer to each item requires knowledge of biological terminology, ability to interpret genealogy trees, ability to systematically connect knowledge of biology and genetic molecules, ability to describe and exemplify biological structures.
The overall evaluation of the answers to the questions is expressed in thirty/30.
To help the student to understand the contents and the formulation of the items, the examination tests submitted in the previous year will be discussed in the classroom with the students of the following year.

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