MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS - GENES AND THEIR FUNCTION - 2023/4
Module code: BMS1047
The purpose of this module is to give a broad introduction to the essential concepts of molecular biology and genetics that are critical to any undergraduate programme in biosciences.
Lectures are divided into four parts: The first part of the module focuses on the central dogma of molecular biology, moving on to mutation and its consequences in human disease. Part 2 will introduce basic methods in molecular biology including gene cloning, PCR, and mutation analysis. Part 3 will introduce model organisms, explain the difference in genome structure and provide a brief introduction into genomics and essential bioinformatics. The last part is focused on the control of gene expression in bacteria and eukaryotes; we focus in this module on the transcriptional control of gene expression but basic aspects of post-transcriptional control will also be covered. Each group of lectures will be supplemented by optional revision feedback tutorials (including presentation of example MCQs).
Practicals reinforce the theoretical part of the module and include:
1) Plasmid-mediated gene transfer (in the context of the spread of antibiotic resistance)
2a) Phenotypic analysis of conjugants by antibiotic resistance profiling. Genotypic analysis of conjugants by PCR.
2b) Gel electrophoresis of PCR products. Bioinformatic analysis of the PCR-amplified gene.
The practical element is one study encompassing several linked experiments. It requires the students to undertake a mathematical analysis of plasmid transfer efficiencies, PCR amplification of plasmid genes, analysis of the products, and then analysis of the gene sequence using basic bioinformatics. Students are required to prepare one practical report covering the whole study. Note: a 1 hour online tutorial for practical course discussion/feedback will be held after that last practical session.
School of Biosciences and Medicine
GERBER Andre (Biosc & Med)
Number of Credits: 15
ECTS Credits: 7.5
Framework: FHEQ Level 4
JACs code: C700
Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A
Overall student workload
Independent Learning Hours: 110
Lecture Hours: 23
Tutorial Hours: 8
Laboratory Hours: 9
Prerequisites / Co-requisites
The lectures are based on Lodish et al. Molecular Cell Biology, 2016, 8th edition. Note: A new edition of this textbook (9th edition) has been launched in 2022.
Exemplar lecture content is given below:
Part 1: Basic Molecular Genetic Mechanism (Chapter 5)
- Molecules of Life: DNA-RNA-proteins; central dogma of molecular biology (L1)
- DNA structure & properties (L2)
- DNA replication (L3)
- RNA structure and properties (L4)
- Transcription (L5)
- Protein synthesis – Translation (L6)
- Protein structure and function (L7)
- Feedback revision tutorial (T1)
Part 2: Methods in Molecular Biology (Chapter 6)
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (L8)
- DNA cloning and plasmids (L9)
- Cloned DNA fragments to study gene expression (L10)
- Classical genetics; human disease genes (L14)
- Feedback revision tutorial (T2, T4)
Part 3: Genes, Genomics and Chromosomes (parts of Chapter 8)
- Eukaryotic vs. prokaryotic gene structure (L11)
- Chromosomal organization of genes & genomics (L12)
- Structure/function of eukaryotic chromosomes (L13)
- Feedback revision tutorial (T3)
- Introduction to essential bioinformatics and databases (L16 & L17)
- Feedback revision tutorials (T4; incl. L15)
Part 4: Control of gene expression (parts of Chapter 9)
- Control of gene expression in bacteria (substrate induction, feedback control; operons and regulons) (L15)
- Overview of eukaryotic gene expression (promotors, cis-acting elements) (L18)
- Eukaryotic transcription factors(L19)
- Transcription repression & activation (L20)
- Regulation of transcription factor activity and epigenetics (L21)
- Feedback revision tutorials (T5)
- Eukaryotic mRNA processing in the nucleus (L22)
- Cytoplasmic mechanisms of post-transcriptional control and microRNAs (L23)
- Feedback revision tutorial (T6)
- Feedback revision tutorial (T7)
- 1: Plasmids, transfer of antibiotic resistance, analysis of gene transfer efficiency
- 2a: PCR, antibiotic disc diffusion assays
- 2b: agarose gel electrophoresis, bioinformatic analysis of sequence data
|Assessment type||Unit of assessment||Weighting|
|Coursework||Coursework - Practical Report||30|
|Examination Online||Online (Open Book) MCQ Exam Within 4-Hr Window (90 Minutes)||70|
Practical Report written up with example data sets provided.
The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the basic principles and practice of molecular biology and genetics. The exam assesses the first four learning outcomes and the practical write-up assesses the final three.
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:
· A 90 minute online MCQ exam comprising 100 questions (5 choices, one correct answer) covering material across the entire module. The exam can be taken at your choice within a 4-hour time slot.
· One practical report submitted for assessment approximately 2 weeks after completion of the experiments.
Formative assessment and feedback
Electronic voting systems may be used in some of the lectures and revision tutorials to provide formative assessment, including both regular and frequent instant feedback to students on their individual progress. A class feedback session is given following each practical, and each student receives an individual feedback sheet along with his/her practical report.
- Instil a basic understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular biology and genetics
- Reinforce the lectures by conducting experimental investigations in the laboratory and through the use of bioinformatic tools
|1||Describe the key elements of the central dogma of molecular biology||KT|
|2||Describe genome and chromosome structure and understand the scope of genomics||KT|
|3||Describe basic techniques in molecular biology and their applications||KT|
|4||Explain how mutations occur and what their consequences may be||KCT|
|5||Describe basic control of gene expression||KT|
|6||Explain the key differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes in the above respects||KCT|
|7||Plan and undertake quantitative experiments investigating gene transfer in bacteria||KCPT|
|8||Plan and undertake qualitative experiments to amplify the DNA of a gene by PCR, and perform basic bioinformatic analysis||KCPT|
C - Cognitive/analytical
K - Subject knowledge
T - Transferable skills
P - Professional/Practical skills
Methods of Teaching / Learning
The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:
i) Provide the students with the basic molecular biology and genetics knowledge they will require to understand the rest of their bioscience courses and to build an essential foundation for the Level 5 course;
ii) Enable the students to understand that molecular biology and genetics is relevant to many different bioscience areas, in particular through the use of case studies.
The learning and teaching methods include:
There are typically two or three lectures given per week; electronic voting systems are implemented in some lectures to provide interactive revision and formative assessment, including both regular and frequent instant feedback to the students on their own progress. Peer-to-peer interaction in these sessions consolidates the learning of the concepts and facts. There are also dedicated revision tutorials through the course and at the end (total 7 hours).
The students gain experience of working in small groups (pairs or triplets) in three practicals. The students are required to write up one practical report. This provides good practice in presenting concise, structured scientific writing and also requires the students to conduct mathematical and bioinformatic analysis of their own data. Note, there is a 1 hour online tutorial for practical course discussion/feedback right after completing the practical.
Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS1047
Programmes this module appears in
|Microbiology BSc (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Biomedical Science MSci (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Biochemistry BSc (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Biochemistry MSci (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons)||2||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.