cod. 1011317

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
- Paola PALANZA - Davide PONZI
Academic discipline
Biologia applicata (BIO/13)
Scienze biomediche
Type of training activity
24 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: BIOLOGICAL BASES OF THE HUMAN BEING

Learning objectives

At the end of this course:
1. Students will have knowledge and understanding of biological facts, terms, principles, concepts, relationships and experimental techniques and of the correlation between structure and function at the different organizational levels.
2. Students should acquire a knowledge of genetic principles and develop the ability to read, design and evaluate genetic pedegrees in order to assess the genetic basis of human deseases.
3. Students should be able to apply an evolutionary perspective to interpreting the biological phenomena at different levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismic) and to appraise the implication of human evolution for understanding human physiological and pathological responses.
4. Students will develop the knowledge and capacity to obrerve, describe, analyze and inteprete behavioral data in an ethological approach.


Basic knowledge of Chemistry, Physics and biology

Course unit content

The purpose of this course is to give a comprehensive overview of biological concepts and genetic principles and to gain an appreciation of the importance that Biology plays in medical disciplines.
The first part of the course illustrates general concepts and principles of biology, the theory of Evolution as a unifying framework, cell origin, biology and reproduction, sexual reproduction.
The second part focalizes on genetics, from Mendel’s and Morgan’s experiments to human genetics and pedigree analysis, gene structure and expression.
The third part examines Human evolution and its implications and Ethology as the biological approach to behavioral analysis.

Full programme

1.Concepts of Biology. The foundation and core of biological sciences: the theory of evolution. Origin and evolution of life on Earth. Cell Biology with particular emphasis on Eukaryotic cell. Cell cycle and Mytosis.
2. Sexual reproduction and Meiosis. Cost and benefit of sexual reproduction. Gamete formation and hormonal control in mammals. Development and Evolution of sex differences. Sexual selection and parental investment. Gender medicine.
3. Genetic. Mendelian genetics and its extension. Chromosomal bases of inheritance: Morgan experiments. Autosomic and X-linked heredity. Gene-environment interaction and multifactorial disorders.
4. Mechanisms of evolution. Evolution of vertebrates. Mammals, Primates and the origin of Hominins. Brain and language evolution. Darwinian Psychiatry.
5. Etholgy, the Behavioral Biology: proximal and ultimate causes . Nature vs Nurture debate. Genes and behavior. Imprinting and the Attachment theory. Epigenetic effects of early experience. Social behavior and the role of oxytocin.


Solomon et al. Fondamenti di Biologia. EDISES (2021)

Teaching methods

The course will be held through lectures followed by discussion.
Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, videos and scientific papers which will be available to students on the Elly platform

Assessment methods and criteria

Exam consists of a written test with about 40 multiple choice, short-answer or T-F questions, and free-answers tests based on the course contents (reference texts + documents uploaded to Elly during the course). There is no penalty for incorrect answers. The final mark will correspond to the arithmetic average of the assessments obtained in the written test.
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

Other information

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