Combined Bachelor's + Master's degree in Dentistry and Dental Prosthetics

Applied Biology

Course code
Name of lecturers
Maria Scupoli, Monica Mottes
Maria Scupoli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
LEZIONI 2° SEMESTRE 1° 2° -3°-4°-5°-6° ANNO dal Feb 15, 2021 al May 28, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

To offer the basic knowledge of human biology in an evolutionary perspective, underlying the molecular and cellular processes shared by all living organisms. To encourage students to critically evaluate experimental data by illustrating prime experiments of the past and contemporary biology. To describe the following processes: duplication, transmission, expression of the hereditary information; how changes arise To describe the hierarchy of master genes involved in tooth development and their interactions. To offer an updated information about the recombinant DNA technology and its applications to dentistry To teach the genetic bases of inherited diseases and how to interpret their modes of transmission To illustrate in particular various genetic conditions affecting dental health. At the end of the course, students must demonstrate to have gotten acquainted with basic knowledge of cellular functions, cell reproduction, cell-cell interactions, organism-to –organism interactions and organisms-to-environment interactions. They must also demonstrate to know how genetic traits are transmitted (mendelian and post-mendelian genetics, population genetics). They should be able to recognize inheritance patterns of genetic disorders, in particular those involving teeth development and structure. All these notions are a pre-requisite for further in depth studies , which will be undertaken by the students in subsequent courses.


Introduction to Biology. Diversity and universal features of living organisms. Evolution. The origin of life on earth. The scientific method. Model organisms.
The cell. Cellular theory. Cells as fundamental unit of living organisms. Fundamental properties of cells. Cell organization.
Biomolecules. The chemistry of life. Lipids. Polysaccharides. Proteins. Nucleic acids.
Structure and function of DNA. DNA replication. Replication of telomeres and telomerase. Repair systems of DNA damage. Analysis of DNA: molecular hybridization, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).
From DNA to proteins: gene expression. Transcription. Maturation of mRNA. Translation and the genetic code.
Regulation of gene expression. Regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes. Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. Positive and negative regulation of transcription. Epigenetic modification. Gene expression in development. Virus gene expression.
Signal transduction. General concepts. Signal molecules and receptors. Signaling pathways. Cellular responses to signals.
Cell division and the cell cycle. The cell cycle and its regulation. Mitosis. Meiosis.
Cell death. Apoptosis and necrosis. Apoptotic signals. Caspases. Apoptosis pathways. BCL2 proteins.
Gene mutation. Types of mutations. Causes of mutations. Mechanisms of DNA repair.
Cancer. The hallmarks of cancer. Critical genes in cancer.
Molecular medicine.

Organization of the human genome. Characteristics of nuclear genome: single-copy coding sequences, highly and moderately repetitive DNA sequences. Gene distribution on chromosomes. Examples of gene families. Transposons and genomic changes. Comparative genomics. The mitochondrial genome: peculiar features.
Normal and pathological human karyotype. Methods of prenatal and postnatal analysis. Cytogenetic anomalies and syndromes.
Chromosomal mechanism of sex determination. The role of SRY and DAX1. Inactivation of the X chromosome and dosage compensation.
Mendelian Genetics. The laws of the transmission of characters, terminology in Genetics. Morgan’s experiments, gene association and recombination.
Human Genetics. Determination of blood groups: ABO, Rh. Pedigrees. Autosomal dominant or recessive characters, sex-linked inheritance.
Medical Genetics. Examples of autosomal dominant, recessive, X-linked diseases.
Examples of Mendelian disorders in Dentistry. Amelogenesis imperfecta, dentinogenesis imperfecta.
Molecular Genetics in Dentistry. Master gene regulators involved in tooth development, signaling pathways and their disfunctions. Examples of related syndromes. Dental agenesis.
Exceptions to Mendelism. Imprinting, uniparental dysomy, mithocondrial inheritance, dynamic mutations.
Multifactorial characters and diseases. Examples (including dental caries) and study approaches.
Population Genetics. Changes of population genotypic frequencies, the Hardy Weinberg law, disturbing factors. Effects of selection.

Attendance to lessons is mandatory. Classes will consist of theorical lessons delivered in online mode - face to face and remotely, covering the whole exam program. Oral explanations will be coadiuvated by PowerPoint presentations and videos, which will be made available to students through a dedicated Department web site. Additional didactic supports (multiple choice quizzes for self-assessment, journal articles, reviews, etc.) may be suggested during the course and will be made available to students for download. During the whole Academic Year, students may request personal reception to the teachers, by e mail.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Reece Urry Cain Wasserman Minorsky Jackson Campbell Biologia e Genetica (Edizione 1) Pearson 2015 9788865189320
Solomon, Martin, Martin, Berg Elementi di Biologia (Edizione 7) EdiSES 2017 978-88-7959-938-2
David Sadava David M. Hillis H. Craig Heller Sally D. Hacker Elementi di Biologia e Genetica (Edizione 5) Zanichelli 2019 9788808820655
Maurizio Clementi Elementi di Genetica Medica (Edizione 2) EdiSES 2020

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists of written tests to be held simultaneously for both the Biology and Genetics modules. For each module, the test is composed of 13 multiple choice quizzes (MCQ) and 2 open questions concerning the entire program. Goals of the written test are: a) to monitor students’ learning process, b) to monitor students’ capacity of personal re-elaboration of notions, c) to monitor students’ ability to apply theoretical notions to experimental queries. Score (in /30) of the written test for each module strongly influences final outcome. A positive score will be achieved with at least 8 correct MCQ plus 1 open question for each test. An oral examination may follow only if written text score is ≥ 18/30. Students can either retire from the examination or refuse the proposed score at any time. In both cases they shall enroll again for the whole examination. The exam will be held in person. In any case, for the year 2020-2021 the remote modality is guaranteed for all students who request it.

© 2002 - 2021  Verona University
Via dell'Artigliere 8, 37129 Verona  |  P. I.V.A. 01541040232  |  C. FISCALE 93009870234