Module Overview

Molecular Biology

This module demonstrates the fundamental molecular structures of nucleic acids and proteins and demonstrates their role in key molecular processes in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The process of DNA Replication and DNA damage and Repair processes are described in detail and related back to normal and abnormal cell cycle events in eukaryotic cells. The processes of Transciption and Translation are central to this module for describing the flow of genetic information in cells.  These processes demonstrate how gene sequences in DNA are transcribed into RNA and then translated into a protein for the cell. Gene expression and regulation related to transcription and translation are also described.  The eukaryotic organisation of the genome related to cell cycle events is also discussed. Fundamental techniques essential to molecular biology are introduced and performed in the laboratory.

Module Code

BIOL 2407

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Lecture programme:

DNA & RNA structure: The components of nucleotides and biochemical bonding between nucleotides (phosphodiester and hydrogen bonds), sub-types of RNA.

The process of DNA replication in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells: The replication bubble, Y-shaped replication, DNA polymerases in polymerisation reaction and the role of proteins/enzymes in the process.

DNA damage and repair processes: DNA damaging agents and mutations, Single strand damage and double strand damage, Mismatch Repair (MMR), Base Excision Repair (BER) and Nucleotide excision Repair (NER) processes.

The process of transcription in Prokaryotic cells and Eukaryotic cells: The role of the RNA polymerase and 3 stages of transcription.

mRNA processing events unique to Eukaryotic Transcription:  Capping, polyadenylation and splicing (including Splicesome structure and function).

The process of Translation: The genetic code, The structure and function of tRNA and Ribosomes in the process and the 3 stages.

Control of gene expression and regulation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells using prokaryotic examples of Lac and Trp operons  

Structure and organisation of the eukaryotic genome: The nucleosome, role of histones, chromosomes structure and types and introduction to cytogenetic analysis of chromosomes (Karyotyping)

Safety procedure and pipetting techniques

Isolation of DNA, RNA and protein from peripheral blood and cultured cells

Quantification of DNA and RNA by spectrophotometry

Agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA and RNA

Protein quantification by Bradford assay, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, coomassie blue staining

Karyotyping of chromosomes from patient samples

A total of 44 hours direct contact is required for this module and it includes lectures with animations and videos to obtain a deeper understanding of the molecular processes. Laboratory practicals will provide hands on experience at extracting and analysing DNA, RNA and proteins from cells as well as karyotyping and analysing chromosomes from patient samples. Students will obtain writing experience when producing a formal written laboratory report as part of the CA and will be submitted electronically and via a plagiarism tool

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40