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Molecular Biology of the Gene

Module titleMolecular Biology of the Gene
Module codeBIO2089
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Steven Bates (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The molecular machinery inside a cell conducts the fundamental processes required for life. In this module you will focus on the central dogma of molecular biology: how the information stored in the genome of an organism is expressed. You will first focus on the forms of information within the genome and how these are maintained, before exploring the molecular detail of how the information is expressed. Following on from this you will concentrate on how these processes can be regulated such that a cell can respond to its environment.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop a core understanding of molecular biology and genetics. It will cover a range of topics including: genome structure, organisation and packaging; genome replication and repair; the process of gene expression through transcription, RNA processing and translation; protein targeting; regulation of gene expression.  Molecular detail and examples will be drawn from both bacteria and eukaryotes.

Graduate attributes: This module will give you a sound understanding of molecular biology, essential for laboratory based jobs in this area. You will develop your critical thinking and data analysis skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in some detail and discuss genome organisation and packaging in prokaryotes bacteria and eukaryotes
  • 2. Explain the molecular processes involved in DNA replication and repair
  • 3. Explain the processes involved in gene expression in prokaryotes bacteria and eukaryotes
  • 4. Discuss the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes bacteria and eukaryotes
  • 5. Describe in some detail and discuss protein targeting in bacteria and eukaryotes
  • 6. Demonstrate computer skills for basic biological sequence analysis

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Describe and evaluate approaches to our understanding of molecular biology with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 8. Describe in some detail essential facts and theory across a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 9. Identify critical questions from the literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work
  • 10. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently by written means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 12. Develop, with some guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with valid conclusions
  • 13. Collect and interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources, with limited guidance

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module syllabus will cover aspects of: DNA replication and repair; Genome structure and packaging; Transcription and RNA processing; Regulation of gene expression; Translation and protein targeting.  Molecular detail and examples will be drawn from both bacteria and eukaryotes.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (22 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Laboratory practical classes (4 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Bioinformatics practical
Guided Independent Study9Writing up reports from practical sessions
Guided Independent Study104Preparation for scheduled sessions, reading, research and revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecturer feedback during synchronous sessions, including some formative MCQ quizzes11 x 1h sessions1-8, 10-13Oral
Feedback via ELE ForumAd hoc1-9, 11-13Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay examination601 hour1-5, 7-13Written
Problem sheet (including data interpretation)401500 words2, 4, 6-8, 10-13Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination1-5, 7-13August Ref/Def
Problem sheet (including data interpretation)Not applicableNot applicableNot applicable

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The laboratory/practical assessments are not deferrable because of their practical nature. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Many recent textbooks covering molecular biology/genetics/biochemistry are suitable for this module.  The following examples are available as eBooks from the library:

Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th Edition) EAN: 9781317563754

Russell., iGenetics: a molecular approach (3rd Edition) EAN: 9781292038728

Berg et al., Biochemistry (8th Edition) EAN: 9781319051853

Garrett & Grisham, Biochemistry (6th Edition) EAN : 9781473745599

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Review articles and primary research publications

Key words search

Molecular biology, genome, DNA replication, DNA repair, gene expression, transcription, translation, protein modification

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1334 Genetics or BIO1341 Biochemistry and Genetics or NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Science

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date