In this unit students focus on cell reproduction and the transmission of biological information from generation to generation. Students learn that all cells are derived from pre-existing cells through the cell cycle. They examine the process of DNA replication and compare cell division in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Students explore the mechanisms of asexual and sexual reproductive strategies, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of reproduction. The role of stem cells in the differentiation, growth, repair and replacement of cells in humans is examined, and their potential use in medical therapies is considered.

Students use chromosome theory and terminology from classical genetics to explain the inheritance of characteristics, analyse patterns of inheritance, interpret pedigree charts and predict outcomes of genetic crosses. They explore the relationship between genes, the environment and the regulation of genes in giving rise to phenotypes. They consider the role of genetic knowledge in decision making about the inheritance of autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and sex-linked genetic conditions. In this context the uses of genetic screening and its social and ethical issues are examined.

This unit is delivered in Year 11.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes, including the setting of practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: Outcome 1 On completion of this unit the student should be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of asexual and sexual reproduction, explain how changes within the cell cycle may have an impact on cellular or tissue system function and identify the role of stem cells in cell growth and cell differentiation and in medical therapies. Outcome 2 On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply an understanding of genetics to describe patterns of inheritance, analyse pedigree charts, predict outcomes of genetic crosses and identify the implications of the uses of genetic screening and decision making related to inheritance. Outcome 3 On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate and communicate a substantiated response to a question related to an issue in genetics and/or reproductive science.Assessment will follow the requirements set out in the VCE Biology Study Guide: The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of outcomes specified for the unit. A variety of learning activities and assessment tasks will provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills in the outcomes. Assessment will be a part of the regular teaching and learning program and will be completed mainly in class and within a limited time-frame. All assessments at Units 1 and 2 are school-based. For this unit students are required to demonstrate achievement of three outcomes. As a set these outcomes encompass all areas of study in the unit. Practical work is a central component of learning and assessment. As a guide, between 3½ and 5 hours of class time should be devoted to student practical work and investigations for each of Areas of Study 1 and 2. For Area of Study 3, between 6 and 8 hours of class time should be devoted to undertaking the investigation and communicating findings.

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