General Biology



By the end of the semester the students should be able to do the following


to interpret the biological thought in a historical and scientific context.


to integrate the unified concepts of Biology: cellular theory, transmission of the inheritance patterns, the central dogma of Molecular Biology, the evolution and the natural selection theory and the common ancestral concept, the biological diversity.


to understand the mechanisms of molecular Evolution and the role of the genomes evolution in biological diversity.


to reflect about scientific neutrality and about the social and ethical impact of the modern Biology.


to apply the theoretical knowledge in practical context.s


to be able to read scientific papers developing a critical attitude.


to develop of a good performance in oral communication of scientific matters in a clear and synthetic form.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Carla Maria Alexandre Pinheiro, José Paulo Nunes de Sousa Sampaio


Weekly - 3

Total - 59

Teaching language






Teaching method

 Teaching strategy involves

theoretical lectures, where the main concepts are presented and during the explanation of subjects the students participation is stimulated;

problem-solving and video sessions, where the students are grouped in teams to solve exercises about the different topics; in these sessions the team also present and debate a theme or a scientific paper;

online activities are also performed by Team Based Learning sessions.

and Tutorial sessions.

Lecture handouts, exercises/problems series, scientific papers other learning supporter available in the course Moodle webpage and the Text books are available in the FCT Library.

Assessment: the evaluation is made by two partial tests along the semester and teamwork activities (TBL).

Evaluation method


 Assessment/grading methods

The evaluation is made by two partial tests along the semester and team work activities (TBLs  online).

The final grade (up to 20 values) takes into consideration the following components:

  • The averaged of the classification of 2  partial tests (T) - max grade 16
  • TP evaluation - max grade 1,5 
  • The averaged of the classification of 3 - 4 TBLs - max grade 2,5



Subject matter


This UC cover important topics that taken together bring the students to an understanding the evolution the Biology as Science and the establishment the Genetics, Evolution and Molecular Cell Biology as complementary subject areas. 

1. Introduction 
Biology and the History of Science.

The life under Natural History.

The emergence of the biology as a new subject area in the century XIX

2. Unified Concepts of Biology

The Cell theory and the development of Biology; cell division, cell cycle regulation and apoptosis.

Establishment of the Mendel postulates of inheritance; correlation between the Mendel postulates and the  behaviour of chromosomes in cell division.

The concept of evolution before Darwin, the Darwin idea – evolution by natural selection; the transmission of hereditary characteristics in the evolutionary perspective – genesis of the Neo-Darwinism.

3. Establishment of Modern Genetics
Genes and Chromosomes; linkage and crossing over in  genetic mapping.

Modifications of Mendelian’s ratios, analysis of pedigrees.

Probabilities theory and genetic events.

Central dogma of biology; DNA and proteins the key molecules in the transmission of genetic information.

4. Evolution and Biodiversity

Modern Synthesis - Evolution and Genetics agreement

Genetic stability and variability - population genetic structure (change in space and time)

Genetic differences between populations; species definition.

Reconstruction of the evolutionary history; tree of life.