Module Catalogue 2018/19

BIO2012 : Molecular Genetics and Mammalian Biochemistry

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Lecturer: Dr Helen Mason
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

Stage 1 modules in biochemistry and genetics

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To develop concepts of genome organisation and of prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression, to discuss how gene expression is regulated, and to illustrate the significance of this regulation for cell function and development. To revise important metabolic pathways studied in Stage 1 biochemistry and to consider their activities in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue; to introduce mechanisms by which these activities are controlled and coordinated both within and between the tissues.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module develops concepts of molecular biology and metabolic integration that are essential for the application of modern biology to understanding and improving human and animal nutrition. It deals with genome organisation and prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression, discusses how gene expression is regulated, and illustrates the significance of this regulation for cell function and for development. It considers the specialised metabolic activities of major mammalian tissues and the mechanisms by which these activities are regulated.

Review of fundamentals of gene expression.
Transcription in eukaryotes and prokaryotes: mechanisms of transcription, structure and function of promoters, RNA polymerases, transcription termination.
Operons and mechanisms of operon regulation.
Sensing of the environment: prokaryotes as a model.
The organisation of eukaryotic genomes; chromatin structure and its significance for transcription.
Introduction to transcription regulation in eukaryotes and its significance for cell differentiation.
Regulation of gene expression by external signals such as hormones.
Introduction to metabolic integration.
Allosteric proteins; allosteric control of energy metabolism; oxygen-carrying proteins.
Hormonal control of energy metabolism.
Muscle structure and contraction; control of muscle contraction by nerve impulses.
The Cori cycle, the glucose-alanine cycle.
Practical Exercise: computer-based analysis of DNA sequences; interpretatiom of gene expression data.
Biochemical problems.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module students should know the basic components of gene regulatory systems in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and should understand 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. Students should have enhanced their appreciation of principles and mechanisms of metabolic integration and control through extended biochemical knowledge of metabolic cycles, the regulation of metabolic activity allosterically and by peptide and steroid hormones, and the mechanisms of muscle contraction. They should be able to make simple predictions of the effects of different dietary and physiological conditions on metabolic activities in different tissues.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will have (a) 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; (b) developed their skills in analysing and interpreting gene expression data and metabolic information.

Graduate Skills Framework

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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:155:15Class test revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion210:3010:30Exam revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00Computer practical assessment and preparation for biochemical problems assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00Includes 1hr class test, 1hr exam practice, 1hr introduction to biochemical problems
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical11:001:00Biochemical problems
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Computer practical
Guided Independent StudySkills practice61:006:00Computer practical follow-up and biochemical problems homework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study211:0021:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:4525:45Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures explain key concepts, outline illustrative examples, and introduce the computer practical and biochemical problems. In two lectures, progress is assessed and feedback given through short quizzes. In one lecture, progress is assessed and feedback given through marking the biochemical problem assignment. The final lecture is a review session. The class tests provide further opportunities for progress assessment and feedback through an essay exam practice question and a short-answer/multiple-choice test. In the computer practicals, students use computers to analyse DNA and protein sequences with supervision and guidance and interpret data on gene expression regulation. Private study is necessary for students to absorb information presented in lectures, to deepen their knowledge and understanding through reading supporting references, to write up the computer practical, and to do the problems.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination901A70N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
BIO2023Cellular Biochemistry1N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M15Report on computer practical & gene expression data interpretation
Written exercise1M15Biochemical problems
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MBlackboard self-test quizzes
Written Examination1MPractice exam question
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam tests knowledge and understanding and ability to integrate knowledge and explain relevant principles. The computer practical and gene expression data interpretation report tests students' ability to use computer programs to obtain information about DNA and proteins and to interpret this information and data on gene expression in relation to their knowledge of molecular genetics. Assessment of the problem assignment tests ability to carry out specific forms of biochemical analysis and to interpret the results. The Blackboard self-test quizzes help students evaluate their progress. The exam practice question gives students the opportunity to develop their exam technique in a situation with minimal pressure on them.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.