Module Catalogue 2015/16

BIO2010 : Molecular Biology and Genomics (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2015/16
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Owning School:
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
ACE1013Introduction to Genetics
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To develop students’ knowledge of genome organisation and of the concepts and processes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression, to show how gene expression is currently believed to be regulated, and to illustrate the significance of this regulation for cell function and development; to introduce the use of computers to identify and analyse nucleic acid and protein sequences.

Outline Of Syllabus

The study of DNA and proteins has influenced all aspects of biology, and understanding gene expression and its regulation is central to understanding how organisms develop and function. This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the genetic make-up of organisms - genome organisation - and the ways that genes are expressed and regulated in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Computers are an essential tool for studying nucleic acids and proteins; the module introduces the use of a range of computer programs for identifying and analysing DNA and protein sequences.

- Review of fundamentals of gene expression.
- Transcription in eukaryotes and prokaryotes: mechanisms of transcription initiation, structure and function of promoters, RNA polymerases, transcription termination.
- The concept of the operon in prokaryotes and how operons are regulated.
- Sensing of the environment: the prokaryotic model.
- Organisation of eukaryotic genomes and genes; chromatin structure and its significance for transcription.
- Principles of transcription regulation in eukaryotes: interaction of transcription factors with DNA and with RNA polymerase; the importance of modularity and combinatorial regulation.
- Regulation of transcription by external signals such as hormones.
- Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.
- Subcellular targeting, secretion, and post-translational modification of proteins.
- Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic development: embryo development, cell and tissue specialisation; Drosophila as model system.
- The evolutionary significance of changes in regulation of gene expression.
- Practical exercises: computer-based analysis of DNA sequences; interpretation of gene expression data.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be aware and have increased their understanding of:
- The basic components of gene regulatory systems in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and the ways that specific genes or groups of genes are switched on and off during development and in response to hormones and changes in the environment, including both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation.
- The components of an operon and how bacteria switch on and off specific genes or groups of genes.
- Genome organisation and the significance of chromatin structure in eukaryotes.
- The role of gene expression in forming the basic body plan in Drosophila and of changes in patterns of gene expression during evolution.
- How proteins are targeted to specific subcellular locations.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will have gained experience in using computers to analyse DNA and protein sequences, including translation of DNA sequences, simple analysis of predicted protein properties, querying DNA and protein sequence databases and interpretation of gene structure. Using simulated gene expression data students will also have reinforced their ability to carry out statistical analysis.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Numeracy : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Independence : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion171:0017:00Class test revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion200:3010:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00Computer practical assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00Includes 1hr exam practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:002x 2hr computer practicals
Guided Independent StudySkills practice41:004:00Computer practical follow-up homework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study118:3018:30Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study201:0020:00Lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures review background, explain key concepts and outline illustrative examples. A lecture will also introduce computer-based sequence analysis. In 4 lectures, progress is assessed and feedback is given through short quizzes. The class test provides students with an opportunity to answer a practice exam question. The final lecture is an optional review session. In the computer practicals, students use computers to analyse DNA and protein sequences with supervision and guidance. The practicals also include data interpretation exercises to reinforce students understanding of how gene expression is regulated. Private study is necessary for students to absorb information presented in lectures, to deepen their knowledge and understanding through reading supporting references, and to complete the sequence analysis and data interpretation exercises.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination901A70MCQs; 1 from 3 essays
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20Reports on computer practicals and gene expression data interpretation (2 x 10%)
Written exercise1M10Practice exam (2%), Quizzes (4 x 2%)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam uses multiple choice questions (60%) and one essay question chosen from 3 (40%) to assess knowledge and understanding of the relevant subject material and the ability to integrate information from lectures and additional reading. The reports on the computer practicals and data interpretation exercises (deadlines weeks 6 and 9) test students' ability (a) to use computer programs to obtain information about DNA and proteins and to interpret this information in relation to their knowledge of molecular biology and (b) to analyse and interpret quantitative data on gene expression regulation. The quizzes (inTW 3, 5, 8 and 10) indicate progress and provide an incentive for sustained study. The practice exam question (week 11) gives students the opportunity and incentive to develop their exam technique in a situation with minimal pressure on them.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 15/16. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.