Yearbooks

Programme: BSc Zoology

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
02133399 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 432

Admission requirements

  • The following persons will be considered for admission: a candidate who is in possession of a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required Grade 12 certificate with university endorsement; a candidate who is a graduate from another tertiary institution or has been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution; and a candidate who is a graduate of another faculty at the University of Pretoria.

  • Life Orientation is excluded in the calculation of the Admission Point Score (APS).

  • Grade 11 results are used for the provisional admission of prospective students. Final admission is based on the Grade 12 results.

Minimum requirements 

Achievement level

Afrikaans or English

Mathematics

Physical Science

APS

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

5

3

C

C

5

3

C

C

5

3

C

C

30

Candidates who do not comply with the minimum admission requirements for BSc (Zoology), may be considered for admission to the BSc – Extended programme for the Biological and Agricultural Sciences. The BSc – Extended programme takes place over a period of four years instead of the normal three years.

BSc - Extended programme for the Biological and Agricultural Sciences:

Minimum requirements 

Achievement level

 

Afrikaans or English

Mathematics

Physical Science

APS

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

BSc – Extended programme for the Biological and Agricultural Sciences

4

3

D

D

4

3

D

D

4

3

D

D

24

 

Other programme-specific information

A student must pass all the minimum prescribed and elective module credits as set out at the end of each year within a programme as well as the total required credits to comply with the particular degree programme. Please refer to the curricula of the respective programmes. At least 144 credits must be obtained at 300-/400-level, or otherwise as indicated by curriculum. The minimum module credits needed to comply with degree requirements is set out at the end of each study programme. Subject to the programmes as indicated a maximum of 150 credits will be recognised at 100-level. A student may, in consultation with the Head of Department and subject to the permission by the Dean, select or replace prescribed module credits not indicated in BSc three-year study programmes to the equivalent of a maximum of 36 module credits.

It is important that the total number of prescribed module credits is completed during the course of the study programme. The Dean may, on the recommendation of the Head of Department, approve deviations in this regard. Subject to the programmes as indicated in the respective curricula, a student may not register for more than 75 module credits per semester at first-year level subject to permission by the Dean. A student may be permitted to register for up to 80 module credits in a the first semester during the first year provided that he or she obtained a final mark of no less than 70% for grade 12 Mathematics and achieved an APS of 34 or more in the NSC.

Students who are already in possession of a bachelor’s degree, will not receive credit for modules of which the content overlap with modules from the degree that was already conferred. Credits will not be considered for more than half the credits passed previously for an uncompleted degree. No credits at the final-year or 300- and 400-level will be granted.

The Dean may, on the recommendation of the programme manager, approve deviations with regard to the composition of the study programme.

Please note: Where elective modules are not specified, these may be chosen from any modules appearing in the list of modules.

It remains the student’s responsibility to acertain, prior to registration, whether they comply with the prerequisites of the modules they want to register for.

The prerequisites are listed in the Alphabetical list of modules.

Promotion to next study year

A student will be promoted to the following year of study if he or she passed 100 credits of the prescribed credits for a year of study, unless the Dean on the recommendation of the head of department decides otherwise. A student who does not comply with the requirements for promotion to the following year of study, retains the credit for the modules already passed and may be admitted by the Dean, on recommendation of the head of department, to modules of the following year of study to a maximum of 48 credits, provided that it will fit in with both the lecture and examination timetable.

General promotion requirements in the faculty
All students whose academic progress is not acceptable can be suspended from further studies.

  • A student who is excluded from further studies in terms of the stipulations of the abovementioned regulations, will be notified in writing by the Dean or Admissions Committee at the end of the relevant semester.
  • A student who has been excluded from further studies may apply in writing to the Admissions Committee of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for re-admission.
  • Should the student be re-admitted by the Admissions Committee, strict conditions will be set which the student must comply with in order to proceed with his/her studies.
  • Should the student not be re-admitted to further studies by the Admissions Committee, he/she will be informed in writing.
  • Students who are not re-admitted by the Admissions Committee have the right to appeal to the Senior Appeals Committee.
  • Any decision taken by the Senior Appeals Committee is final.

Pass with distinction

A student obtains his or her degree with distinction if all prescribed modules at 300-level (or higher) are passed in one academic year with a weighted average of at least 75%, and obtain at least a subminimum of 65% in each of the relevant modules.

Minimum credits: 140

Minimum credits:

Fundamental =   12

Core             =   128

Additional information:

Students who do not qualify for AIM 102 must register for AIM 111 and AIM 121.

Fundamental modules

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Simple statistical analysis: Data collection and analysis: Samples, tabulation, graphical representation, describing location, spread and skewness. Introductory probability and distribution theory. Sampling distributions and the central limit theorem. Statistical inference: Basic principles, estimation and testing in the one- and two-sample cases (parametric and non-parametric). Introduction to experimental design. One- and twoway designs, randomised blocks. Multiple statistical analysis: Bivariate data sets: Curve fitting (linear and non-linear), growth curves. Statistical inference in the simple regression case. Categorical analysis: Testing goodness of fit and contingency tables. Multiple regression and correlation: Fitting and testing of models. Residual analysis. Computer literacy: Use of computer packages in data analysis and report writing.

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  • Module content:

    Basic plant structure and function; introductory plant taxonomy and plant systematics; principles of plant molecular biology and biotechnology; adaptation of plants to stress; medicinal compounds from plants; basic principles of plant ecology and their application in natural resource management.

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  • Module content:

    General introduction to inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry. Atomic structure and periodicity. Molecular structure and chemical bonding using the VSEOR model. Nomenclature of inorganic ions and compounds. Classification of reactions: precipitation, acid-base, redox reactions and gas-forming reactions. Mole concept and stoichiometric calculations concerning chemical formulas and chemical reactions. Principles of reactivity: energy and chemical reactions. Physical behaviour gases, liquids, solids and solutions and the role of intermolecular forces. Rate of reactions: Introduction to chemical kinetics.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: General physical-analytical chemistry: Chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, buffers, solubility equilibrium, entropy and free energy, electrochemistry. Organic chemistry: Structure (bonding), nomenclature, isomerism, introductory stereochemistry, introduction to chemical reactions and chemical properties of organic compounds and biological compounds, i.e. carbohydrates and aminoacids. Practical: Molecular structure (model building), synthesis and properties of simple organic compounds.

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  • Module content:

    Chromosomes and cell division. Principles of Mendelian inheritance: locus and alleles, dominance interactions and epistasis. Probability studies. Sex determination and sex linked traits. Pedigree analysis. Extranuclear inheritance. Genetic linkage and chromosome mapping. Chromosome variation.

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  • Module content:

    The module will introduce the student to the field of Microbiology. Basic Microbiological aspects that will be covered include introduction into the diversity of the microbial world (bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic microorganisms and viruses), basic principles of cell structure and function, microbial nutrition and microbial growth and growth control. Applications in Microbiology will be illustrated by specific examples i.e. bioremediation, animal-microbial symbiosis, plant-microbial symbiosis and the use of microorganisms in industrial microbiology. Wastewater treatment, microbial diseases and food will be introduced using specific examples.

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  • Module content:

    Introductory study of the ultra structure, function and composition of representative cells and cell components. General principles of cell metabolism, molecular genetics, cell growth, cell division and differentiation.

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  • Module content:

    Units, vectors, one dimensional kinematics, dynamics, work, equilibrium, sound, liquids, heat, thermodynamic processes, electric potential and capacitance, direct current and alternating current, optics, modern physics, radio activity.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 134, WTW 165, WTW 114, WTW 158. WTW 134 does not lead to admission to Mathematics at 200 level and is intended for students who require Mathematics at 100 level only. WTW 134 is offered as WTW 165 in the second semester only to students who have applied in the first semester of the current year for the approximately 65 MBChB, or the 5-6 BChD places becoming available in the second semester and who were therefore enrolled for MGW 112 in the first semester of the current year. 
    Functions, derivatives, interpretation of the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of differentiation, integration, interpretation of the definite integral, applications of integration. Matrices, solutions of systems of equations. All topics are studied in the context of applications.

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  • Module content:

    Animal classification, phylogeny, organization and terminology. Evolution of the various animal phyla, morphological characteristics and life cycles of parasitic and non-parasitic animals. Structure and function of reproductive, respiratory, excretory, circulatory and digestive systems.

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Minimum credits: 148

Minimum credits:

Core             =  136

Elective         =   12

Additional information:

• Students interested in combining with Zoology in a dual major with Biochemistry or Genetics must take BCM 261 as an elective.
• Students interested in combining Zoology in a dual major with Biochemistry must also replace either BOT 261 or MBY 261 with BCM 262.

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Structural and ionic properties of amino acids. Peptides, the peptide bond, primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. Interactions that stabilise protein structure, denaturation and renaturation of proteins. Introduction to methods for the purification of proteins, amino acid composition, and sequence determinations. Introduction to enzyme kinetics and enzyme inhibition. Allosteric enzymes, regulation of enzyme activity, active centres and mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. Examples of industrial applications of enzymes. Practical training in laboratory techniques and Good Laboratory Practice. Techniques for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of biological molecules. Processing and presentation of scientific data.

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  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of carbohydrates. Thermodynamics and bioenergetics. Glycolysis, citric acid cycle and electron transport. Glycogen metabolism, pentose-phosphate pathway, gluconeogenesis and photosynthesis. Practical training in study and analysis of metabolic pathways and enzymes. Scientific method and design: Hypothesis design and testing, method design and scientific controls.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and affinity of South African flora and vegetation types; principles of plant geography; plant diversity in southern Africa; characteristics, environments and vegetation of South African biomes and associated key ecological processes; centra of plant endemism; rare and threatened plant species; biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management; invasion biology; conservation status of South African vegetation types.

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  • Module content:

    Nitrogen metabolism in plants; nitrogen fixation in Agriculture; plant secondary metabolism and natural products; photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in plants; applications in solar energy; plant growth regulation and the Green Revolution; plant responses to the environment; developing drought tolerant and disease resistant plants.

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  • Module content:

    Chemical nature of DNA. Replication transcription, RNA processing and translation. Control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  Recombinant DNA technology and its applications in gene analysis and manipulation.

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  • Module content:

    Chromosome structure and transposable elements. Mutation and DNA repair. Genomics and proteomics. Organelle genomes. Introduction to genetic analysis of populations: allele and genotypic frequencies, Hardy Weinberg Law, its extensions and implications for different mating systems. Introduction to quantitative and evolutionary genetics.

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  • Module content:

    Growth, replication and survival of bacteria, Energy sources, harvesting from light versus oxidation, regulation of catabolic pathways, chemotaxis. Nitrogen metabolism, iron-scavenging. Alternative electron acceptors: denitrification, sulphate reduction, methanogenesis.  Bacterial evolution, systematic and genomics. Biodiversity; bacteria occurring in the natural environment (soil, water and air), associated with humans, animals, plants, and those of importance in foods and in the water industry.

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  • Module content:

    Organisation and molecular architecture of fungal thalli, chemistry of the fungal cell. Chemical and physiological requirements for growth and nutrient acquisition. Mating and meiosis; spore development; spore dormancy, dispersal and germination. Fungi as saprobes in soil, air, plant, aquatic and marine ecosystems; role of fungi as decomposers and in the deterioration of materials; fungi as predators and parasites; mycoses, mycetisms and mycotoxicoses; fungi as symbionts of plants, insects and animals. Applications of fungi in biotechnology.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and extent of modern invertebrate diversity; parasites of man and domestic animals; biology and medical importance of arachnids; insect life styles; the influence of the environment on insect life histories; insect phytophagy, predation and parasitism; insect chemical, visual, and auditory communication; freshwater invertebrates and their use as biological indicators.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to general vertebrate diversity; African vertebrate diversity; vertebrate structure and function; vertebrate evolution; vertebrate relationships; aquatic vertebrates; terrestrial ectotherms; terrestrial endotherms; vertebrate characteristics; classification; structural adaptations; habits; habitats; conservation problems; impact of humans on other vertebrates.

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  • Module content:

    This module will give an overview of earth history, from the Archaean to the present. Important concepts such as the principles of stratigraphy and stratigraphic nomenclature, geological dating and international and South African time scales will be introduced. A brief introduction to the principles of palaeontology will be given, along with short descriptions of major fossil groups, fossil forms, ecology and geological meaning. In the South African context, the major stratigraphic units, intrusions and tectonic/metamorphic events will be detailed, along with related rock types, fossil contents, genesis and economic commodities. Practical work will focus on the interpretation of geological maps and profiles.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of lipids, membrane structure, anabolism and catabolism of lipids. Nitrogen metabolism, amino acid biosynthesis and catabolism. Biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, pigments, hormones and nucleotides from amino acids. Catabolism of pureness and pyrimidines. Therapeutic agents directed against nucleotide metabolism. Examples of inborn errors of metabolism of nitrogen containing compounds. The urea cycle, nitrogen excretion. Practical training in scientific writing skills: evaluation of a scientific report. Techniques for separation and analysis of biological molecules

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  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of nutrition and toxicology. Proximate analysis of nutrients. Review of energy requirements and expenditure. Respiratory quotient. Requirements and function of water, vitamins and minerals. Interpretation and modification of RDA values for specific diets, eg growth, exercise, pregnancy and lactation, aging and starvation. Interactions between nutrients. Comparison of monogastric and ruminant metabolism. Cholesterol, polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids and dietary anti-oxidants. Oxidation of fats. Biochemical mechanisms of water- and fat-soluble vitamins and assessment of vitamin status. Mineral requirements, biochemical mechanisms, imbalances and diarrhoea. Biochemistry of xenobiotics: absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME); detoxification reactions: oxidation/reduction (Phase I), conjugations (Phase II), export from cells (Phase III); factors affecting metabolism and disposition. Toxic responses: tissue damage and physiological effects, teratogenesis, immunotoxicity, mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Examples of toxins: biochemical mechanisms of common toxins and their antidotes. Antibiotics and resistance. Natural toxins from fungi, plants and animals: goitrogens, cyanogens, cholineesterase inhibitors, ergotoxin, aflatoxins  Practical training in analyses of nutrients, fatty acids separations, antioxidant determination, and enzyme activity measurements, PO ratio of mitochondria, electrophoresis, extraction, solubility and gel permeation techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and development of soil, weathering and soil formation processes. Profile differentiation and morphology. Physical characteristics: texture, structure, soil water, atmosphere and temperature. Chemical characteristics: clay minerals, ion exchange, pH, buffer action, soil acidification and salinisation of soil. Soil fertility and fertilisation. Soil classification. Practical work: Laboratory evaluation of simple soil characteristics. Field practicals on soil formation in the Pretoria area.

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  • Module content:

    Development and importance of crop protection. Basic principles in crop protection i.e. epidemic development of disease and insect pest populations, ecology of plant diseases and abiotic factors that affect plant health i.e. environmental pollution and pesticides, nutrient deficiencies and extreme environmental conditions. Ecological aspects of plant diseases, pest outbreaks and weed invasion. Important agricultural pests and weeds. Life cycles of typical disease causing organisms. Basic principles of integrated pest and disease management.

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  • Module content:

    Fundamental principles of plant pathology. The concept of disease in plants. Causes of plant diseases. Stages in development of plant diseases. Disease cycles. Diagnosis of plant diseases.

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  • Module content:

    Primary sources of migroorganisims in food. Factors affecting the growth and survival of microorganisms in food. Microbial quality, spoilage and safety of food. Different organisms involved, their isolation, screening and detection. Conventional approaches, alternative methods rapid methods. Food fermentations: fermentation types, principles and organisms involved.

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Minimum credits: 144

Minimum credits:

Core             =  144

 

Additional information:

Single major track
Students must take all eight modules listed in the fixed curriculum for the final year.
Dual major track
• Zoology and Biochemistry combination: Students must take [ZEN 352 + ZEN 354] and [ZEN 361 + ZEN 363] to a total value of 72 credits, and must take [BCM 356 and BCM 357] and [BCM 367 and BCM 368].
• Zoology and Genetics combination: Students must take [ZEN 352 + ZEN 354] and [ZEN 361 + ZEN 363] to a total value of 72 credits, and must take [GTS 351 and GTS 354] and [GTS 367 and either GTS 368 or BTC 361] to a value of 72 credits.
• Zoology and Plant Science combination: Students must take [ZEN 352 + ZEN 354] and [ZEN 362 + ZEN 364] to a total value of 72 credits, and must take [BOT 356 and BOT 358] and [BOT 366 and either BOT 365 or BTC 361] to a value of 72 credits.

 

 

Core modules

  • Module content:

    The emphasis is on the efficiency of the mechanisms whereby C3-, C4 and CAM-plants bind CO2 and how it impacted upon by environmental factors. The mechanisms and factors which determine the respiratory conversion of carbon skeletons and how production is affected thereby will be discussed. Insight into the ecological distribution and manipulation of plants for increased production is gained by discussing the internal mechanisms whereby carbon allocation, hormone production, growth, flowering and fruitset are influenced by external factors. To understand the functioning of plants in diverse environments, the relevant structural properties of plants, and the impact of soil composition, water flow in the soil-plant air continuum and long distance transport of assimilates will be discussed.  Various important techniques will be used in the practicals to investigate aspects such as water-use efficiency, photosynthesis and respiration of plants.

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  • Module content:

     Theory of plant community concepts, floristic and structural composition, plant diversity, ecological succession, landscape ecology. Data processing techniques. Species interactions and an evaluation of their effects on interacting species. Fundamentals of plant population biology: life tables; plant breeding systems and pollination; population dynamics; life history strategies; intraspecific competition; interspecific competition and co-existence.

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  • Module content:

    The module will include a review on the discovery and use of plant medicines and phyto-therapeutically important molecules obtained from plants. Certain aspects of natural product chemistry i.e. the biosynthesis, ecological role and toxicity of the three main classes of secondary compounds; terpenoids, phenolics, and alkaloids are discussed. An introduction to the principles and applications of metabolomics are presented. The role of these natural products in defence against microorganisms and herbivores is reviewed during the module. The basics of alternative medicines such as homeopathy, ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture etc. are also discussed. Practical sessions on drug discovery approaches using chromatographic techniques for phytochemical analysis of secondary metabolites such as tannins, alkaloids, sterols and saponins are conducted. Bioassays on micro-organisms are also done during the practical sessions in order to develop the skills for the potential discovery of new antibiotics. Visits to several pharmaceutical laboratories are arranged.

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  • Module content:

    Basic principles and methods of plant classification. Sources of plant variation. Modern methods to ascertain evolutionary relationships among plants. The extent and significance of vascular plant diversity. General structural and biological characteristics of evolutionary and ecologically important plant groups. Botanical nomenclature. Plant identification in practice; identification methods, keys, herbaria and botanical gardens. Diagnostic characters for the field identification of trees, wild flowers and grasses. Family recognition of southern African plants. Available literature for plant identification. Methods to conduct floristic surveys. Nature and significance of voucher specimens.

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  • Module content:

    Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes: regulation at the genome, transcription, RNA processing and translation levels. DNA elements and protein factors involved in gene control. The role of chromatin structure and epigenetic changes. Technology and experimental approaches used in studying eukaryotic gene control. Applications of the principles of gene controlin embryonic development and differentiation, cancer and other diseases in humans.

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  • Module content:

    Scientific approach to ecology; evolution and ecology; the individual and its environment; population characteristics and demography; competition; predation; plant-herbivore interactions; regulation of populations; population manipulation.

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  • Module content:

    Mammalian origins and their characteristics: evolution of African mammals; structure and function: integument, support and movement; foods and feeding; environmental adaptations; reproduction; behaviour; ecology and biogeography; social behaviour; sexual selection; parental care and mating systems; community ecology; zoogeography. Special topics: parasites and diseases; domestication and domesticated mammals; conservation.

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  • Module content:

    The scientific approach; characteristics of the community; the community as a superorganism; community changes; competition as a factor determining community structure; disturbance as a determinant of community structure; community stability; macroecological patterns and mechanisms.

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  • Module content:

    This module focuses on the integration of physiological systems in the context of animal form and function, and the ways in which evolution shapes the physiological processes that determine the energy, water and nutrient fluxes between animals and their environments. Topics covered include: (i) circulation, gas exchange and excretion; (ii) nutritional ecology; (iii) osmoregulation and thermoregulation; and (iv) reproductive physiology. The major focus of this module is to understand the major sources of physiological diversity, namely scaling, phylogenetic inertia, adaptation and phenotypic plasticity, and applying this knowledge to conceptually link physiological processes at the cellular level to macrophysiological patterns at a global scale.

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  • Module content:

    This module focuses on the means by which animals can sense and respond to the external and internal environment. Topics covered include: (i) the structure and function of biological membranes; (ii) neurons and nervous systems; (iii) sensing the environment; (iv) glands, hormones and regulation of development and growth; (v) muscles and animal movement and (vi) the initiation and control of behaviour. The implications of these physiological processes for animal conservation and management will be emphasised. A comparative approach will be adopted throughout the module to highlight the commonalities as well as the ways in which animal lineages have achieved similar functional outcomes from different structural adaptations.

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  • Module content:

    Evolution as a process and pattern, prime movers in evolution: Selection, drift, general population genetics. Population differentiation, clines, subspecies and species, adaptation as a major force in evolution and the panglossian paradigm, molecular evolution. Phylogeography, phylogenetic reconstruction. Evolutionary biogeography. Adaptation, Darwin's formulation, proximate and ultimate causation, genetic and developmental constraints, optimality. Phenotypic models, the comparative method, convergent evolution. Evolution of complex biological systems, origin of life and sex, macro-evolution, punctuated equilibrium, human evolution. Levels of selection. Species concepts.

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  • Module content:

    The history of behavioural ecology. A causal, developmental, evolutionary and adaptive approach. Sensory systems and communication. Sexual selection, mate choice and sperm competition. Kin selection and group living. Special reference to social insects. The behavioural ecology of humans. Phylogenetic basis of behavioural analysis. The role of behavioural ecology in conservation planning.

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  • Module content:

    This module is intended to provide students with skills to undertake field surveys that are essential for research and planning in the conservation of biodiversity. The module has a large fieldwork component. A field trip will be conducted over a ten-day period during the September vacation in the Sani Pass region of the Drakensberg (including South Africa and Lesotho).
    The students will be actively involved in planning and executing the field surveys, and will be responsible for analysing and presenting the results. The students will gain valuable practical experience in the field by applying a number of survey techniques and focusing on several different taxa that are relevant to conservation ecology.

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  • Module content:

    Mechanisms involved in the evolutions of genomes. Comparison  of the molecular organisation of viral, archaea, eubacterial and eukarytotic genomes. Genome project design, DNA sequencing methods and annotation. Molecular evolution. Phylogenetic inference methods. Applications of phylogenetics and contemporary genome research.

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  • Module content:

    Genetic and phenotypic variation. Organisation of genetic variation. Random genetic drift. Mutation and the neutral theory. Darwinian selection. Inbreeding, population subdivision and migration. Evolutionary quantitative genetics. Population genomics. Human population genetics. Levels of selection and individuality. Arms races and irreversibility. Complexity. Applied evolution.

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  • Module content:

    Application of modern genetics to human variability, health and disease. Molecular origin of Mendelian and multifactorial diseases. The use of polymorphisms, gene mapping, linkage and association studies in medical genetics. Genetic diagnosis – application of cytogenetic, molecular and genomic techniques. Congenital abnormalities, risk assessment and genetic consultation. Prenatal testing, population screening, treatment of genetic diseases and gene-based therapy. Pharmacogenetics and cancer genetics. Ethical aspects in medical genetics.

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  • Module content:

    Plant genetics and genomics: gene control in plants, epigenetics, co-suppression, forward and reverse genetics, structural and functional genomics. Plant development: signal perception, cell death, control of cell division. Plant-environment interactions. Crop genetic modification: food security, GMO regulation, plant transformation, whole-chromosome transformation, synthetic biology, homologous recombination. Crop molecular markers: marker types, genotyping, QTL mapping, marker-assisted breeding. Future of crop biotechnology: applications of genomics, biopharming, genetical genomics, systems biology

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  • Module content:

    Perspectives on the flow of information from nucleic acids to proteins, the structure and functions of nucleic acids and proteins and their organisation into hierarchical, interdependent systems. Nucleic acid structure as observed in fibres and crystals as well as global DNA and RNA analyses (methods and bioinformatic analyses). Biochemical analyses of nucleotides. DNA-DNA recognition: non-standard and higher order DNA structures. The RNA structural world, RNAi, miRNA and ribosomes. Cellular functions of coding and non-coding nucleic acids. Principles of small molecule-DNA recognition. Principles of protein-DNA recognition and interactions. Bioinformatics predictions of protein and small molecule DNA interactions. Chemical reactivity of amino acids. Domain structures of proteins and Ramachandran plots. Protein folding, sequence motifs and domains, higher order and supramolecular structure, self-assembly, conjugated proteins, post-translational modifications, conjugated proteins and bioinformatics predictions. Principles of protein function and protein structure relationships. Protein-ligand and protein-protein interactions. Protein aggregation in disease. Examples of the diverse functions of proteins and peptides, including enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, receptors, transport and membrane proteins. Global analysis of proteins through proteomics. Basic principles of nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography. Protein purification and characterization including, pI, molecular mass, amino acid composition and sequence. Practical training will include interactive computer-guided demonstrations of protein analysis, hands-on practical sessions for nucleic acid purification and chemical structure characterisation, protein expression and purification (including SDS-PAGE), protein sequence analysis including mass spectrometry, protein structure analysis by 3D protein modelling and protein folding (Bioinformatics).

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  • Module content:

    Nomenclature: enzyme nomenclature and classification. Specificity and mechanisms: the active site, mechanisms of catalysis and examples of specific enzyme mechanisms, e.g. lysozyme and carboxypeptidase A. Advanced enzyme kinetics, Cleland nomenclature and multi-substrate reactions. Allosteric enzymes: models by Koshland, Hill and Monod. Ligands binding to proteins. Problems and answers: tutorials of problems and answers based on above concepts. Integration of metabolism; hormones and second messengers; cell signalling; a case study in connectivity among metabolic pathways and their regulation, in for example diabetes and starvation. Inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). RNA as enzymes. Applications of enzymes in food and cosmetics industries and in clinical pathology assays as biomarkers of diseases and toxic responses. Elucidation of metabolic pathways.
    Practical sessions cover tutorials on calculations, isolation of an enzyme, determination of pH and temperature optimum, determination of Km and Vmax, enzyme activation, enzyme inhibition, purification table and final report, oral defense of report.

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  • Module content:

    Visualising cell structure and localising proteins within cells. Cell ultrastructure. Purification of subcellular organelles. Culturing of cells. Diversity and commonality of cells. Biomembrane structure. Transmembrane transport of ions and small molecules. Moving proteins into membranes and organelles. Vesicular traffic, secretion, exocytosis and endocytosis. Cell organisation and movement. Cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Practical training includes tutorials on cytometry and mircoscopy, mini-research projects where students are introduced and guided through aspects of research methodology, experimental planning as well as techniques associated with cellular assays. Active transport studies in yeast cells.

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  • Module content:

    Normal and abnormal regulation of the cell cycle: The biochemistry of proliferation, quiescence, senescence, differentiation and apoptosis, illustrated by cancer. Host-Pathogen co-evolution: How adaptive immunity emerged from innate immunity. Infection: Molecular and cellular immunobiochemistry of protection against viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens. Auto-immunity: Molecular mechanisms of the maintenance and failure of the recognition of foreign in the context of self in the mammalian body. Practical training includes debate on ethics of research on animal and human diseases, experimental design and execution of an immunoassay to test for a biomarker antibody of an infectious disease, tutorials to determine the performance of a diagnostic test for disease, including the principle of ROC curve analysis, positive and negative predictiveness, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy, applications of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies for characterisation of disease with fluorescence, confocal and electron microscopy, flow cytometry and biosensors.

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The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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