Higher Human Biology CfE

General Information about the Course

The Course Support Notes from the SQA
What you need to know - very useful from pages 9-56

Past Papers- 
Higher Human Biology

Useful for revision- 
The old Revised Higher Human Biology Past Papers - 

You will find some useful questions in the old Human Biology past papers - the course is pretty similar so for more practise you can try these-
or there are some here:
or here

Understanding Standards - looking at how people answered last year's paper and seeing the marker's comments - https://www.understandingstandards.org.uk/Subjects/HumanBiology

Unit 1 - Human Cells

1.1 Division and differentiation in human cells

From Centre of the Cell :
Stem Cells, Cloning, Animal Experiements :

Stem Cells Information - including exercise on page 7/8 regarding ethics of an experiment

Stem Cells Repairing Heart Muscle
Stem cells repairing heart tissue - a British Heart Foundation Project - repairing damaged hearts after a heart attack using stem cells:

Some stem cell experiments etc used frog eggs (sometimes known as oocytes) as they are large to handle. To find out a little more about frog spawn / tadpoles / frogs etc then have a look at this very short video - the commentary is actually quite interesting if you can manage to hear what they are saying:

1.2 Structure and replication of DNA

Unit 1 Revision - BBC Bitesize 

DNA has a double helix structure but this was only discovered in the 1950s. This discovery led to three scientists, Watson, Crick and Wilkins gaining a Nobel prize in 1962. However another scientist, Rosalind Franklin, had carried out much of the research leading to this discovery. For background reading you might like to read these articles, (not completely essential for Higher Biology but interesting background reading and awareness of the recent history of science). It is so very recently that DNA structure was realised, and so many scientific advances and discoveries have then been possible as a result of this.
A couple of articles about the Story of Rosalind Franklin and her X-ray chromatography to find the structure of DNA :

Amazing Scale of DNA

This does not really come up in Higher, but this just gives an idea of the sheer scale of DNA. When you look at a chromosome you are looking at many many looped up sections of DNA! ______________________________

Details of DNA structure at 3' and 5' ends
You need to know what is at 3' end and 5' end of DNA so have a good look at the structure here :
DNA chemical structure 
Really good structure diagram of DNA - print it out and keep it (from Madeleine Price Ball)

Some classic experiments :

DNA Replication
Animations of Leading Strand vs Lagging Strand :

DNA Replication
This is actually a good video and covers a lot - if you can get round his slightly cringe-worthy rap presentation ! it covers DNA replication - leading strand vs lagging strand - history etc
Of the enzymes I would just focus on knowing the DNA polymerase and the ligase for Higher - dont worry about others that are mentioned

PCR Polymerase Chain Reaction


1.3 Gene Expression

DNA to Protein - nice short video to explain ! Only 2 minutes !

Transcription Animation


1.4 Genes and proteins in health and disease

Mutations Caused by Radiation


Point Mutations Within Gene causing Incorrect Protein to form

with example of Haemoglobin in Sickle Cell Anaemia

Huntingdon's Disease:

1.5 Human genomics

DNA sequencing can be done using electrophoresis
Here is how to set up Gel Electrophoresis :
Experimentally setting up a gel electrophoresis :

DNA Sequencing 
using chain terminating dideoxynucleotides

This is an interesting article showing the future of genomics and personalised medicine - from Chris Edwards in "Engineering and Technology" magazine.

The Human Genome Project
Completed in 2003 - up to 99% of genome had been sequenced by then. Here are some questions and answers about the project : https://www.genome.gov/11006943

1.6 Metabolic Pathways

Simple animation

Biochemical Pathway (or is it a jelly bean factory !!)

Feedback Inhibition

Competitive Inhibitors and Non-competitive Inhibitors of Enzymes

Enzymes and Pathways

Using Green Fluorescent Protein GFP - good video with Professor John Christie of University of Glasgow for SAP - http://www.saps.org.uk/secondary/teaching-resources/1400-interviews-with-scientists-gfp-and-reporter-proteins

Genetic Control - Jacob - Monod Hypothesis
E.Coli - lactose metabolism
A good video - tells you just a little bit more about the theory than you need but it helps to understand how cleverly evolved bacteria are in how they manage to use lactose as a food supply if they find some in their environment.

1.7 Cellular Respiration


1.8 Energy systems in muscle cells

Fast twitch / slow twitch muscles http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/factfiles/fastandslowtwitch/soleus.shtml

From Nerd Fitness - fast twitch / slow twitch muscles and athletics 

Creatine and muscles 

Unit 2 - Physiology and Health

2.1 The structure and function of reproductive organs and gametes and their role in fertilisation

Ovary diagram - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Order_of_changes_in_ovary.svg
On this wikipedia page is an interesting picture from Gray's Anatomy (a famous anatomy book) - a drawing of the Corpus luteum and different stages in egg production in an ovary - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_luteum

2.2 Hormonal control of reproduction 

An excellent resource about hormones here - has an animation about the influence of the human sex hormones on the human female menstrual cycle but also looks at some other hormones such as insulin, growth hormone etc that we need to know about as well. Includes some nice drag and drop quizzes. Has a bit at the end about plant hormones which is not in Human Biology but comes into Higher Biology !

A good image to print out - as a reminder http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/triple_ocr_gateway/the_living_body/life_goes_on/revision/6/

Click here to try a Quiz on the First two sections of Unit 2


2.3 The biology of controlling fertility

2.4 Ante and Post Natal Screening

Screening Test vs Diagnostic Test

A bit about Huntington's disease - which has Autosomal Dominant inheritance

2.5 The structure and function of arteries, capillaries and veins

2.6 The structure and function of the heart

The Cardiac Cycle


Interpreting a cardiac cycle graph
a bit difficult to listen to and graphics not the best but it does help explain it all if you listen!

Atrial Fibrillation / Heart Beat / Sinus node (Sino-atrial node)

Excellent animation although would be nice to be able to slow it but get used to the cycle and pick one part of it eg ventricular systole and spot where it appears on the various traces...
Thanks to Dr Jana for this great animation - also at:

Explaining electrocardiogram - more info that you need but interesting

A Mind Map on Exercise and the Heart etc.
Print this out or create a similar one of your own.

A Mind Map on Effect of Training ! 
Looks like its a good idea !

Measuring Metabolic Rate
Different methods possible - some more accurate than others and some easier to carry out !

VO2 Max Measurement (now taken out of Higher Human Biology)
Interesting video showing the stages of VO2 Max testing on a treadmill

some more if you want to read further: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/health_and_fitness/4291516.stm

2.7 Pathology of cardio vascular disease (CVD)

Some Cholesterol Information

Artery Explorer Video

The Liver
A mind map of what the liver does :

Deep Vein Thrombosis - just some info to read:

NHS page for atherosclerosis

2.8 Blood glucose levels and obesity

The Kidney

My diagram to attempt to further explain where exactly water, salts, urea etc get re-absorbed while passing through the kidneys 

Diabetes - Type 1

Diabetes - loads of stuff here

Unit 3 - Neurobiology and Immunology  

1 Divisions of the nervous system and neural pathways
No resources
CNS / autonomic etc
converging/diverging etc

2 The Cerebral Cortex

PET Scans for imaging the brain - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrTy03O0gWw
Really detailed MRI scan of the brain ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVWeymAoAaI

Scanning of different areas of the brain used to communicate with a man who appeared to be in a vegetative state - https://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/feb/03/vegetative-state-patient-communication

Using calmed brain waves - Mindflex Mind Control Game - toy of 2009 !
worth watching !! 2 minute video !

Visual perception slides (not in new course 2019?)- https://www.slideshare.net/wilfreddextertanedo/arts-visual-perception-lecture-1

Brain Ports - to help you build new neural pathways eg to restore sense of balance or even to give spatial awareness to those who have lost their sight (I am not sure if the people had to originally have sight in order to restore spatial awareness ... I have not read this bit yet but it is interesting)

left/right brain ....  no resources yet

3 Memory
Encoding/storage/retrieval etc / sensory memory / STM / LTM

Try questions 9 and 10 main paper 2011
Also Question 11 main paper - 2012

4 The Cells of the Nervous system and Neurotransmitter at Synapses

Structure of axons/ myelin etc - no resources yet
Neurotransmitters at synapses

Neurotransmitter effects on mood and behaviour:
Dopamine / Reward pathway

5 Non Specific Body Defences
How Cilia work - https://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zywc87h

6 Specific Cellular Defences Against Pathogens
see Q2 main paper - 2011 

The Scale of Cells, Bacteria and Viruses etc.

A nice interactive example - use the slider to change the scale to show the size of various things like cells and viruses.
Spot the size of the prokaryotic bacteria E.coli versus the eukaryotic human cell examples :

Specific Immune Response

7 Immunisation

8 Clinical Trials of Vaccines and Drugs