2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
7 x 1-hour tutorials per semester
1 x 1-hour workshop weekly
5 x 4-hour practicals per semester
6 x 2-hour computer labs per semester
1 Admission into GCBT-Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology
1a Admission into GDPBT-Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology
1b Admission into MBTS-Master of Biotechnology Studies
1c Admission into MNT-Master of Nanotechnology
1d Admission into GDPBA-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration
1e Admission into MSCCM-Master of Science (Chemistry)
1f Admission into MBTL-Master of Biotechnology
Must Satisfy: ((1 or 1a or 1b or 1c or 1d or 1e or 1f))
Enrolment not permitted
1 of BIOL3771, BIOL9004, BTEC9650 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
Second year undergraduate level molecular biology.
Course context

Students who attain less than 85% in the Aptitude test are directed to enrol in BTEC8002 Molecular Biotechnology.

Assignment(s), Practical Work, Test(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 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. Students will also have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practical laboratory exercises.

Educational aims

This topic aims 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
  • Further develop students' scientific skills for work in a molecular biology laboratory
  • Further develop students' generic skills in the areas of accurate record keeping (attention to detail), 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 you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop an advanced understanding of the concepts of molecular biology: from the processes and regulation of DNA structure, gene transcription and translation
  2. Develop an advanced 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 a greater 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. Have a greater appreciation of the role bioinformatics and information technology have played in genomics research
  4. Improve your awareness and gain more extensive 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. Improve your understanding of the inherent challenges in working with biological materials and greater awareness of the use of appropriate controls to detect and correct for confounding factors
  6. Maintain a laboratory notebook such that others can reproduce your work. This includes the presentation of experimental results in tables and figures in the laboratory note book and preparing figures in a format suitable for publication in a scientific journal
  7. Develop further your skills in independent and team based laboratory work and their practical skills in handling and manipulating DNA
  8. Enhance your critical thinking skills in interpreting, summarizing and placing genomic and DNA based research in context and presenting data and scientific ideas, in writing, and communication to scientific and non-scientific audiences

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.