BIOL459-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021


15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


Students taking this course will develop a deep knowledge in a current area of genome biology and evolution. Students will get to grips with the latest research in this fast moving field, read deeply on a chosen topic, and develop strong critical thinking, writing and debating skills.

Genomics is an integrally important part of biology. Through the sequencing, characterisation, and study of DNA, it is now possible to decode the complete genetic complement of any organism. Genome science is revolutionising almost all fields of biological enquiry. In this course we will look at the genomic technologies that are transforming biology, the biological and evolutionary insights arising from genome research, and the process of genome sequencing, from start to finish.

You will learn about genome sequencing, annotation and the analysis of genomes using various types of genomic data and bioinformatics tools: the course will be based around the analysis and interpretation of genomic (bacterial genome), gene amplicon sequencing and gene expression data.

Tutorials will be structured around the discussion of assigned papers and practical investigation of genomic data. Seminars will cover topics such as advanced genome annotation and analysis, metabarcoding pipelines and differential gene expression analysis. The course will be project-based and will involve some group work

Recommended preparatory course(s): Any of BIOL313, 333, 334, 335 or 300-level BCHM.

Learning Outcomes

  • As a student in this course, I will develop:
  • An up-to-the-minute knowledge of methods in genomics (assessment task: Projects 1, 2, and 3)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • An understanding of genomics as a tool for answering biological questions (as opposed to a means of generating data for the sake of it) (assessment task: Projects 1, 2, and 3)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Reading skills required to navigate, understand and question scientific literature (assessment task: Projects 1, 2, and 3)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Experience in writing in the style of project proposals and scientific papers (assessment task: Projects 1, 2, and 3)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Experience in scientific collaboration involving data analysis, interpretation and presentation of results (assessment task: Projects 1, 2, and 3)
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5

    Transferable Skills / Pūkenga Ngaio
    As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
  • Understand genomic methods and results presented in research papers and technical reports.  The ability to critically evaluate and interpret genomic information is essential in higher level courses and in research
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Have the ability to apply advanced genomic analysis concepts.  This is important for distinguishing different types of genetic variation and their potential functional impacts and is broadly applicable to multiple research fields
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Basic knowledge of how samples and data are collected for generation of genomic infomraiton.  This is broadly applicable across multiple research fields
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis of genome data, essential for higher level courses and across research and employment sectors
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • The ability to know which method to apply to which dataset, which is essential in further research in all areas of genomics
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5
  • Communication skills – the ability to describe what results mean in the context of the problem, and being able to explain the results to someone else is essential for any professional career
    Related graduate attributes: GP1, GP2, GP5


Subject to approval of the Head of School.



Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01-P1 Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 Eng Core 129 Meeting Room
26 Jul - 1 Aug
9 Aug - 15 Aug
13 Sep - 19 Sep
27 Sep - 3 Oct
11 Oct - 17 Oct
01-P2 Wednesday 14:00 - 16:00 Eng Core 129 Meeting Room
23 Aug - 29 Aug

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Amy Osborne


Matthew Stott and Sarah Flanagan


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Participation and contribution 10%
Project-based assessment 29 Aug 2021 30% Gene amplicon sequencing - troubleshooting and discussion forum
Project -based assessment 03 Oct 2021 30% Whole genome sequencing - troubleshooting and discussion forum
Project-based assessment 31 Oct 2021 30% Transcriptomics - troubleshooting and discussion forum

There are THREE project-based assessment items for BIOL459, each comprising 30% of your final grade.  10% of your final grade is reserved for participation and contribution.  There is NO final exam for BIOL459, so it is important that you engage and contribute. You will be provided with guidelines regarding the scope and depth of your written report for each of the three assessments. You are expected to work in self-assembled teams to produce your outputs for each assessment, however each student will need to produce their own final assessment for each of the three projects.  

For each of the three written assessments, each student will be required to submit a statement of who they worked with to produce the outputs for their project.  You will need to convey precisely what YOU contributed to the project, and others, and weight everyone’s contribution by percentages.  You will be given guidelines around how this will work during the first tutorial.  The course coordinators reserve the right to adjust individual student marks to mitigate any disproportionate effects resulting from the self- and peer-assessment of performance.

NOTE: All items of assessment, whether individual or group, are marked by at least two members of the teaching staff.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,066.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences .

All BIOL459 Occurrences

  • BIOL459-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021