BIOL06025 2016 Exploitation of Biology

General Details

Full Title
Exploitation of Biology
Transcript Title
Exploitation of Biology
N/A %
Subject Area
BIOL - Biology
LIFE - Life Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2016 - Full Academic Year 2016-17
End Term
2020 - Full Academic Year 2020-21
Paul Walsh

Biotechnology is defined as the exploitation of biology for human benefit, and it is increasingly impacting on everyday life. It is essential that graduates in Life Sciences are familiar with the principles and processes involved in exploiting biological systems. In addition they must be able to develop an informed opinion on the ethical and moral debate surrounding biotechnological processes.



This module aims to:

1. Familiarise students with the core principles underpinning both conventional and molecular biotechnology; and

2. Provide them with detailed examples of how various organisms and their gene(s) are currently being commercially exploited.

Learning Outcomes

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



K1 Explain the key discoveries that have influenced the development of the biotechnology industry.

K2 Recognise the potential for commercial exploitation of various organisms and give relevant examples of current biotechnological products.

K3 Describe the principles and technologies underpinning biotechnology and also the products associated with this industrial sector.

K4 Explain basic protein purification techniques and describe how a protein is purified from a microorganism.

K5 Appreciate the impact of biotechnology on society.



I1 Interpret laboratory data obtained using different methods.

I2 Draw conclusions from experimental evidence.

I3 Form opinions on the commercial, moral and ethical issues associated with the development of a biotechnological product.



P1 Plan and conduct research into theory and current practice in biotechnology.

P2 Make effective use of library-based / on-line electronic journals and literature search facilities.



T1 Communicate opinions on the science and ethics underpinning modern biotechnology industry and products.

T2 Engage in independent learning activity.

T3 Communicate effectively orally and in writing.

T4 Use information technology resources for learning.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will participate in an induction on how to be an effective online learner and how to use the Blackboard Learn virtual learning environment. The Module tutor will provide a range of teaching and learning methods, including:

  • Online lectures, including problem based interactive tasks:
  • Directed reading: and
  • Tutor supported online activities and discussions.

Module Assessment Strategies

Coursework 1: History of biotechnology references and citation(5%).

Students are assessed on their effective use of the online library and knowledge of the full referencing and citation requirements of scientific writing.


Coursework 2: Profile of a Northern Ireland BioBusiness (5%)

Students will research a BioBusiness in Northern Ireland and then describe the main business, products and services of that company in less than 200 words.


Coursework 3: Discussion on a technology transfer topic (10%).

Students will research and then present their points of view on a technology transfer topic in less than 400 words. An exemplar topic is “Should bioscientists aim to commercially exploit their research?”


Coursework 4: Reflection on a bioethics topic (10%).

Students will research a bioethics topic and then write a reflective statement in less than 400 words on the topic. An exemplar topic is, “Present arguments for and against human cloning.”


Coursework 5: Essay on a biotechnology topic (20%).

Students will research a biotechnology topic and then write a scientific essay with full referencing and citation according to the Harvard referencing system. The essay should be 1000 words maximum and have an introduction, main body and conclusion. A reference list (not included in the word limit) should be provided which comprises at least 6 references, and follows the Harvard referencing convention. An exemplar topic is, “Describe the importance of microbial diversity for the biotechnology industry.”


Feedback: Students will be provided with information and guidelines on each assignment, including assessment criteria and submission schedule. Feedback will be written and detailed against each criteria as appropriate.


Examination: (50%)

A three hour examination which is structured in two sections. Section A comprises ONE compulsory exam question which all students must answer. Section B comprises five exam questions and students must answer THREE of them. All questions carry equal marks.


50% Coursework 50% Examination



Repeat Assessments

Depends on the failed element thats required to be repeated.

Indicative Syllabus


  • Historical aspects of modern biotechnology.
  • Microbial Biotechnology- diversity and products.
  • Plant Biotechnology and GM crops.
  • Transgenic Animals.
  • Human Genome Project and Synthetic Biology.
  • Production, commercialisation and ethics of biotechnology products.

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 Coursework 1 Continuous Assessment Assessment 5 % Any 1,2,3,4
2 Coursework 2 Continuous Assessment Written Report 5 % Any 1,2,3,4
3 Coursework 3 Continuous Assessment Essay 10 % Any 1,2,3,4
4 Coursework 4 Continuous Assessment Essay 10 % Any 1,2,3,4
5 Coursework 5 Continuous Assessment Essay 20 % Any 1,2,3,4

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Examination Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % Any 1,2,3,4

Distance Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Online Lecture Not Specified Fully Online Lectures 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Distance Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources




Blackboard Learn Lectures


Thieman, W.J & Palladino, M.A., 2013. Introduction to Biotechnology, Pearson International Edition (third edition), San Francisco: Pearson.



Appropriate journals within each subject area will be recommended for reading e.g. New Scientist, Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Biotechnology Healthcare, Biotechnology Journal and Biotechnology Letters. Students will also be directed to online materials and web sites, and expected to source relevant subject materials through the Ulster online library.