BIOL06017 2019 Molecular Biology

General Details

Full Title
Molecular Biology
Transcript Title
Molecular Biology
N/A %
Subject Area
BIOL - Biology
LIFE - Life Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Mary Heneghan
Programme Membership
SG_SBIOM_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science SG_SMEDI_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Science in Medical Biotechnology SG_SBIOM_C06 202100 Higher Certificate in Science in Biomedical Science

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the basic principles underpinning molecular biology. The module will introduce students to DNA and RNA structure, DNA replication, transcription and translation. Students will explore practical applications of molecular biology, some of which will include Agarose Gel Electrophoresis, Nucleic Acid Extraction, PCR, Cloning and Restriction Digestion. This module will also introduce students to the analysis and manipulation of nucleic acids and plasmid DNA.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Compare and contrast nucleic acid structures and describe some techniques used in their analysis.


Describe the mechanism of DNA replication.


Elucidate the processes involved in gene expression and regulation.


Summarise the main steps in the Polymerase Chain Reaction.


Appreciate the complexity of gene cloning and depict the key steps in the process.


Interpret and analyse bioinformatic data.


Perform key molecular biology techniques in a laboratory setting.


Analyse, collate and report on experimental data generated in practical sessions.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be delivered full-time. Lecture delivery will be the primary mode of dissemination for module theory while practical applications will be explored during laboratory sessions. A ‘spiral curriculum’ approach will be employed to develop the student’s competencies in molecular biology. This will enable the student to revisit a topic, several times throughout the module. The complexity of the topic will increase with each revisit; and this new learning will be put in context with the old information. Critical and reflective thinking will be developed through the analysis of laboratory work. Active learning will be fostered through inquiry-based learning activities designed to promote the students research and evaluation skills. Visualisation techniques will be used where possible to bring difficult concepts to life and highlight their practical applications e.g. the use of video clips and the building of a 3D model of a plasmid to visualise restriction digestion. Co-operative learning will be encouraged, whereby students will work together to complete revision activates (e.g. crosswords, double puzzles, word searches). These revision activities will be provided at the end of each topic. A learning platform (such as moodle) will be used as a repository of educational resources and as a means of assessment (e.g. quizzes, uploading assignments and journals).

Module Assessment Strategies

Assessment of the Molecular Biology module will include both continuous assessment (50%) and a terminal exam (50%).   Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of laboratory sessions. The final exam will examine the students knowledge of the module and assess the ability of the student to communicate that knowledge in a suitable manner. Formative assessments will be conducted at the end of each topic to evaluate student comprehension, learning needs and academic progress. These assessments will  identify concepts that students are struggling to understand and skills they are having difficulty in acquiring. Continuous assessment will involve report writing, data analysis and assessment of laboratory skills. A key focus of this module is to develop the students report writing skills. To achieve this, students will be required to submit 3 formal laboratory reports. Prior to submission of the first report, a tutorial on report writing will be delivered. Students will peer assess each others reports using a supplied marking scheme in the form of a rubric. Other resources such as Harvard referencing, details on plagiarism and sample reports will all  be made available. A follow up tutorial on "how to improve your lab report" will be delivered prior to submission of the second report. Two short assessments will also be given on data analysis. The students must reach an assigned gate (mark)  in the final exam and achieve 40% overall to pass the subject.



Repeat Assessments

If a student fails to achieve 40% in the module they will be required to resit the exam, resubmit or submit laboratory reports, write a theory assignment or a combination of these. Repeat assessments will be decided on a case by case basis, and will be informed by the amount and quality of continuous assessment submitted during the semester, and the performance of the student in the final exam.

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Compare and contrast nucleic acid structures and describe some techniques used in their analysis.

  • Nitrogenous bases, pentose sugar, phosphodiester bond
  • Chargaffs rules
  • Double helix, hairpin loops
  • Chain polarity
  • mRNA, tRNA, rRNA, siRNA, snRNA
  • Techniques may include: Agarose gel electrophoresis, Purification and quantification, Restriction digestion, Sequencing

Describe the mechanism of DNA replication.

  • Semiconservative
  • Leading and lagging strands
  • Enzymes involved in replication
  • Energy for replication

Elucidate the processes involved in gene expression and regulation.

  • Transcription
  • Posttranscriptional modifications
  • Control of transcription (Promoters, Transcription Factors, Operons)
  • Genetic code
  • Translation
  • Protein structure

Summarise the main steps in the Polymerase Chain Reaction.

  • Denaturation
  • Annealing
  • Extension
  • Primer design and annealing temperature calculation

Appreciate the complexity of gene cloning and depict the key steps in the process.

  • Plasmids
  • Ligation
  • Transformation
  • Selectable markers
  • Directional cloning

Interpret and analyse bioinformatic data.

  • DNA sequencing
  • 6 frame translation
  • Restriction digestion analysis
  • Mutations in nucleotide sequence
  • Plasmid mapping

Perform key molecular biology techniques in a laboratory setting. Some of these may include:

  • Agarose gel electrophoresis
  • DNA extraction
  • Quantification of DNA
  • PCR
  • Cloning
  • Restriction digestion

Analyse, collate and report on experimental data generated in practical sessions, some of which may include:

  • Agarose gel electrophoresis
  • DNA extraction
  • Quantification of DNA
  • PCR
  • Cloning
  • Restriction digestion

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Self Assessment Quiz Formative Multiple Choice - % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5
2 Practical assessments Continuous Assessment Practical Evaluation 15 % Week 13 6,7,8
3 Practical reports Continuous Assessment Written Report 22 % OnGoing 6,7,8
4 Data analysis Continuous Assessment Assessment 13 % OnGoing 6,8

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Term 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Tiered Classroom Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Lecture Computer Laboratory Lecture 1 Weekly 1.00
Laboratory Practical Science Laboratory Laboratory Practical 3 Weekly 3.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Self Study 8 Weekly 8.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2013-11-13 Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 6th Ed, W.H. Freeman, 2013 Bukupedia
ISBN 9781429234146 ISBN-13 1429234148

As we complete our work on this sixth edition of Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, we are again struck by the remarkable changes in the field of biochemistry that have occurred between editions. The sheer volume of new information from high-throughput DNA sequencing, x-ray crystallography, and the manipulation of genes and gene expression, to cite only three examples, challenges both the seasoned researcher and the first-time biochemistry student. Our goal here is to strike a balance: to include new and exciting research findings without making the book overwhelming for students. The primary criterion for inclusion is that the new finding helps to illustrate an important principle of biochemistry. The image on our cover, a map of the known metabolic transformations in a mitochondrion, illustrates the richness of factual material now available about biochemical transformations. We can no longer treat metabolic pathways as though they occurred in isolation; a single metabolite may be simultaneously part of many pathways in a three-dimensional network of metabolic transformations. Biochemical research focuses more and more upon the interactions among these pathways, the regulation of their interactions at the level of gene and protein, and the effects of regulation upon the activities of a whole cell or organism. This edition of LPOB reflects these realities. Much of the new material that we have added reflects our increasingly sophisticated understanding of regulatory mechanisms, including those involved in altering the synthesis of enzymes and their degradation, those responsible for the control and timing of DNA synthesis and the cell cycle, and those that integrate the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins over time in response to changes in the environment and in different cell types. Even as we strive to incorporate the latest major advances, certain hallmarks of the book remain unchanged. We continue to emphasize the relevance of biochemistry to the molecular mechanisms of disease, highlighting the special role that biochemistry plays in advancing human health and welfare. A special theme is the metabolic basis of diabetes and the factors that predispose to the disease. This theme is interwoven through many chapters and serves to integrate the discussion of metabolism. We also underscore the importance of evolution to biochemistry. Evolutionary theory is the bedrock upon which all biological sciences rest, and we have not wasted opportunities to highlight its important role in our discipline. To a significant degree, research progress in biochemistry runs in parallel with the development of better tools and techniques. We have therefore highlighted some of these crucial developments. Chapter 9, DNABased Information Technologies, in particular, has been significantly revised to include the latest advances in genomics and next-generation sequencing. Finally, we have devoted considerable attention to making the text and the art even more useful to students learning biochemistry for the first time. To those familiar with the book, some of these changes will be obvious as soon as you crack the cover. With every revision of this textbook, we have striven to maintain the qualities that made the original Lehninger text a classicclear writing, careful explanations of difficult concepts, and insightful communication to students of the ways in which biochemistry is understood and practiced today. The authors have written together for almost 25 years and taught introductory biochemistry together for nearly 30. Our thousands of students at the University of WisconsinMadison over those years have been an endless source of ideas about how to present biochemistry more clearly; they have enlightened and inspired us. We hope that this sixth edition of Lehninger will in turn enlighten and inspire current students of biochemistry everywhere, and perhaps lead some of them to love biochemistry as we do. Preface New Art The most obvious change to the book is the completely revamped art program. Our goal throughout has been to improve pedagogy, drawing on modern graphic resources to make our subject as clear as humanly possible. Many figures illustrate new topics, and much of the art has been reconceived and modernized in style. Defining features of the new art program include: u Smarter renditions of classic figures are easier to interpret and learn from; Chaperonins in protein folding ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP GroES GroEL ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP 7Pi 7Pi 7 7 ATP 7 7 (a) (b) Native protein Slow-folding intermediate or Folding intermediate delivered by Hsp70-ADP Folding intermediate delivered by Hsp70-ADP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP hydrolysis ATP hydrolysis ATP ATP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ADP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP ATP GroES

Recommended Reading
2016-02-01 Molecular Cell Biology W. H. Freeman
ISBN 1464183392 ISBN-13 9781464183393
Recommended Reading
2014 Molecular Biology of the Gene Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company
ISBN 0321762436 ISBN-13 9780321762436

Now completely up-to-date with the latest research advances, the Seventh Edition retains the distinctive character of earlier editions. Twenty-two concise chapters, co-authored by six highly distinguished biologists, provide current, authoritative coverage of an exciting, fast-changing discipline.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Additional reading and resources will be recommended by the lecturer.

Journal Resources

Additional reading and resources will be recommended by the lecturer.

URL Resources

Additional reading and resources will be recommended by the lecturer.

Other Resources

Additional reading and resources will be recommended by the lecturer

Additional Information