Year
2020
Units
4.5
Contact
2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
5 x 1-hour tutorials per semester
1 x 1-hour workshop weekly
5 x 2-hour computer labs per semester
Prerequisites
BIOL2772 - Molecular Biology
Enrolment not permitted
1 of BIOL8004, BIOL9004 has been successfully completed
Assessment
Assignment(s)
Topic description
In this topic students will learn fundamental concepts about genes and genomics that form the core of current molecular approaches that are now used to study biological processes. Students will build on concepts introduced at 2nd year level. The topic will review the central dogma of molecular biology DNA to RNA to protein and then go on to explore in more detail how gene expression is controlled. In addition students will learn more about basic tools of recombinant DNA and how these are applied to solve interesting biological problems in human medicine, forensic science and the biotechnology industry. Finally students will learn the fundamentals of whole genome sequencing, how the human genome was sequenced and will also review bioinformatics and experimental approaches to make use of sequence data.
Educational aims
The aims of this topic are:

  1. To familiarise students with recombinant DNA technology and how it is applied to gene discovery and understanding more about the function of genes and proteins. A particular emphasis will be placed on the Human genome project and how in recent years we have moved to study genes and gene interactions on more global scale and how bioinformatics had aided this
  2. To further develop students' generic skills in creativity and problem-solving, independence, using online resources, communication to scientific and non-scientific audiences and critical thinking.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop further their understanding of the concepts of molecular biology: from the processes and regulation of DNA structure, gene transcription and translation
  2. Develop further their knowledge and understanding of DNA and genomics techniques of the past and the present including those used for DNA and genome sequencing and newly emerging sequencing techniques. This includes acquiring an appreciation for how these techniques are used to diagnose and understand the pathology of human diseases, to develop new disease treatments and underpin approaches to personalised medicine
  3. Appreciate the role bioinformatics and information technology have played in genomics research
  4. Gain further awareness and hands-on experience in the principles of database searching, using search engines, sequence alignments, and molecular phylogeny using web-based and stand-alone bioinformatics programs
  5. Enhance their critical thinking skills in interpreting, summarizing and placing genomic and DNA based research in context and presenting data and scientific ideas, and communication to scientific and non-scientific audiences.