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GENE411 Current Topics in Genetics

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GENE 411 is designed for students undertaking postgraduate research, incorporating genetic information and approaches. Most students enrolled in this paper are Genetics BSc graduates undertaking postgraduate research at Honours, Postgraduate Diploma or Master's level. However, this paper is also potentially valuable for students undertaking genetics-related postgraduate research projects in departments such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Botany, Ecology, Law, Mathematics, Microbiology or Zoology.

The paper addresses a wide range of current topics in the field of genetics and aims to develop critical thinking and research skills by drawing on fields such as medical genetics, developmental genetics, neurogenetics, evolutionary genetics and genomics. The specific topics that are incorporated may change each year.

Paper title Current Topics in Genetics
Paper code GENE411
Subject Genetics
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,348.60
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $6,508.13

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There are no formal prerequisites, but students need to have suitable undergraduate training and to have been admitted to postgraduate study. Most students have completed a BSc majoring in Genetics or a related field.

Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.

Teaching staff

Convenor: Dr Heather Cunliffe (Pathology)
Teaching staff 2020: Dr Heather Cunliffe (Pathology)
Dr Anita Dunbier (Biochemistry)
Dr Xochitl Morgan (Microbiology)
Dr Lyn Wise (Pharmacology & Toxicology)
Dr Tim Hore (Anatomy)
Dr Louise Bicknell (Pathology)

Teaching staff may vary between years, depending on staff availability and the topics that are covered.

Paper Structure

GENE411 comprises three modules, addressing diverse genetics topics. Topics change each year.

2020 Topics were:

  • Cancer Genetics
  • Microbiome in Human Health
  • High-Throughput Sequencing

Modules typically run over three consecutive weeks, with students expected to actively participate in all classes.

No specific texts are recommended as this is a research-based postgraduate paper. PDF files of recent journal articles and review papers are placed on Blackboard. Students are expected to identify additional resource material themselves.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The academic objectives of GENE 411 are to understand current research topics in genetics and to critically assess, synthesise and present genetic research concepts.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22