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NSW Syllabuses

Biology Stage 6 - Year 12 Module 6: Genetic Change


A student:

  • BIO11/12-6

    solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes

  • BIO11/12-7

    communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose

  • BIO12-13

    explains natural genetic change and the use of genetic technologies to induce genetic change

Content Focus

Students learn about natural and human-induced causes and effects of genetic change, including mutations, environmental pressure and uses of biotechnology. Students investigate how the processes of inheritance and evolution are applied.

The work of scientists in various fields of work, including agriculture, industry and medicine, can be explored within the context of biotechnology. The impact of biotechnology on biological diversity is also explored in this module.

Working Scientifically

In this module, students focus on analysing trends and patterns and solving problems using evidence from data and information. Students also focus on communicating ideas about genetic change for a specific purpose. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.


  • Mutation

  • Inquiry question: How does mutation introduce new alleles into a population?
  • Students:
  • explain how a range of mutagens operate, including but not limited to: ICT
  • electromagnetic radiation sources
  • chemicals
  • naturally occurring mutagens
  • compare the causes, processes and effects of different types of mutation, including but not limited to: ICTN
  • point mutation
  • chromosomal mutation
  • distinguish between somatic mutations and germ-line mutations and their effect on an organism (ACSBL082, ACSBL083) ICT
  • assess the significance of ‘coding’ and ‘non-coding’ DNA segments in the process of mutation (ACSBL078) ICTN
  • investigate the causes of genetic variation relating to the processes of fertilisation, meiosis and mutation (ACSBL078) N
  • evaluate the effect of mutation, gene flow and genetic drift on the gene pool of populations (ACSBL091, ACSBL092) N
  • Biotechnology

  • Inquiry question: How do genetic techniques affect Earth’s biodiversity?
  • Students:
  • investigate the uses and applications of biotechnology (past, present and future), including: (ACSBL087)
  • analysing the social implications and ethical uses of biotechnology, including plant and animal examples SEEUICTCC
  • researching future directions of the use of biotechnology CCTICT
  • evaluating the potential benefits for society of research using genetic technologies SEEUPSC
  • evaluating the changes to the Earth’s biodiversity due to genetic techniques SEEUPSC
  • Genetic Technologies

  • Inquiry question: Does artificial manipulation of DNA have the potential to change populations forever?
  • Students:
  • investigate the uses and advantages of current genetic technologies that induce genetic change
  • compare the processes and outcomes of reproductive technologies, including but not limited to: SE
  • artificial insemination
  • artificial pollination
  • investigate and assess the effectiveness of cloning, including but not limited to: EUICT
  • whole organism cloning
  • gene cloning
  • describe techniques and applications used in recombinant DNA technology, for example: EUCCT
  • the development of transgenic organisms in agricultural and medical applications (ACSBL087)
  • evaluate the benefits of using genetic technologies in agricultural, medical and industrial applications (ACSBL086) SEEU
  • evaluate the effect on biodiversity of using biotechnology in agriculture SE
  • interpret a range of secondary sources to assess the influence of social, economic and cultural contexts on a range of biotechnologies EUICTIUDD