Syllabus for Genes, Brain and Behaviour

Gener, hjärna och beteende

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG344
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2008-03-13
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2011-11-23
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2012
  • Entry requirements:

    120 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits in earth science, or (2) 90 credits in biology.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

After the course, students will be able to

  • explain and use key concepts in behavioural genetics and neuropharmacology
  • account for different experimental strategies that can be used to find the genes that affect the behaviour of individuals
  • present and discuss questions concerning the interplay between inheritance and environment, and how these influence the behaviours of people and animals.


The course demonstrates, how physiological, pharmacological and genetic changes can influence the complex functions of the brain, such as language, movement, stress management, couple formation, attention, anxiety, fear, depression, eating behaviour and drug addiction. Specific points that are brought up are:

  • The function of the brain and brain cells.
  • Cellular networks
  • Genes and environmental factors behind behaviours.
  • Relevance of animal models to understand the behaviour of people.
  • Pharmacological drugs that influence brain function.

The laboratory sessions include

Behavioural and pharmacological studies of rodents. Dissection of brain from sheep and RNA extraction from brain tissue. Bioinformatic analysis of cDNA microarrays. Expression analysis with quantitative real-time PCR. Study of gene expression in mouse brain in situ by using the Allen Brain Atlas. Genotyping of genetic polymorphisms in taste receptors.


The course consists of lectures, laboratory sessions, seminars, computer exercises, a written assignment and workshops (group assignment with presentations and discussions in large groups). Participation in laboratory sessions, seminars, computer exercises and workshops are compulsory.


Modules: Theory 10 credits; Laboratory session 3 credits; Seminars and workshop 2 credits

The theory part is examined in a written home examination with access to reading list. The laboratory sessions require written laboratory reports. The seminars and workshop require that each student presents the contents in, and initiate the discussion of, a scientific article and a list of key concepts that have been discussed during the course.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2012

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Anholt, Robert Rene Henri; Mackay, Trudy F. C. Principles of behavioral genetics

    Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2010

    Find in the library

Current scientific original and review articles

Last modified: 2022-04-26