BIO8044 : Gene Technology

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To elaborate the methods for and uses of genes and genome sequencing.

2. To elaborate different microbial systems used to express recombinant proteins.

3. To elaborate the methodologies underlying genetic engineering of plants and animals (both vertebrates and invertebrates) from first principles including construction of transgenes and techniques for introducing them into plant/animal cells.

4. To elaborate the use of RNA interference as a means of gene silencing to understand gene function.

5. To elaborate the use of proteomics and transcriptomics for studying gene expression and identification of functional molecular markers.

6. To elaborate genome mapping strategies through different molecular markers.

7. To promote detailed critical analysis of, and engagement with, the latest developments in the field.

Outline Of Syllabus

An introduction to the applications of basic understanding of cell and molecular biology will be provided to appreciate the principles, methods and systems used as foundations for various agricultural, pharmaceutical, medical and biotechnology industries. Areas range from applications in fundamental tools like DNA sequencing to expressing recombinant proteins for research or commercial applications, to generating improved varieties of crop plants and livestock through genetic engineering. The use of functional genomics for studying gene expression and identification of functional molecular markers as well as marker-assisted breeding will be covered. Technologies for gene silencing such as RNAi will also be addressed.

Fundamentals of Gene Transfer to Plant and Animal Cells
• Design of transgene constructs for use in plants and animals
• Genetic modification of plant and animal cells

Methods and Applications of Transgenesis in Crops
• Plant Transformation using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and biolistic transformation
• Other techniques for developing novel crops/traits
• Unintended effects of transformation

Methods and Applications of Transgenesis in Invertebrate Model Organisms
• Nematode worm (C. elegans) transgenesis
• Insect transgenesis

The Mouse as a Platform for development of Animal Transgenic Technology
• Methods and applications of mouse transgenesis

Animal Cloning
• Introduction to animal cloning methods and their applications for animal transgenesis

Microorganisms as Expression Systems
• Expression vectors (Components of an expression vector; Constitutive and inducible promoters; Assembly of expression constructs; Targeting and tagging of protein products)
• Bacterial expression systems
• Yeast expression systems
• Comparison of expression systems
• Protein engineering (In vitro mutagenesis; Structure/function analysis of proteins)

Bioinformatics and Genome Analysis
• Gene and Sequencing
• From Gene to Function, Gene Expression and Silencing
• ESTs, and expression databases

RNA Interference (RNAi)
• Understanding gene function through RNAi
• Use of RNAi to control insect pests

Proteomics to Study Gene Expression and Identification of Molecular Markers in Modern Plant Breeding
• Methodologies for studying the proteome of an organism
• What are molecular markers? (Isoenzymes and protein isoforms; RFLPs; RAPDs; AFLPs and other PCR-based markers)
• Relationships between “classical” and molecular markers and maps (Construction of gene maps)
• Molecular markers in plant breeding (Map based cloning and QTLs)

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 completion240:3012:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion55:3027:30Practical reports
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:154:00Revision for mid-semester test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Mid-semester test
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical53:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading241:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork26:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study241:0024:00Consolidation of lectures
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study155:0055:00Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will provide students with the background information on DNA techniques and the labs will allow them to think in more practical terms how to get information from experiments and computer based data analysis. The labs give them the opportunity to practise the techniques discussed in the lectures and to learn how to interpret the data and report the experiments in an appropriate format, preparing them for their future project. The field trips will allow students to see some of the techniques they are studying in use in an industrial setting.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M30Based on 5 practicals
Prob solv exercises1M20Test MCQs
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written exam, practical report and mid-semester test will assess the students’ understanding of the subject. The mid-semester test will also act to check students' progress with, and understanding of, the module content.

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.

Reading Lists