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BIO2022 : Molecular Biology and Development (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Lecturer: Dr Timothy Boswell
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To develop students’ knowledge of genome organisation and of the concepts and processes of bacterial and eukaryotic gene expression and to show how gene expression is currently believed to be regulated. To promote knowledge and understanding of the main events in animal development and the experimental analysis of these events using invertebrate and vertebrate models, emphasising the importance of molecular biology. Practical classes introduce the use of computers to identify and analyse nucleic acid and protein sequences and forge links between theoretical and practical aspects of the study of animal development.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture programme:

- Introduction; principles of gene expression
- Bacterial gene expression: operons and environmental signalling
- Eukaryotic genomes; chromosomes and chromatin
- Gene expression and its regulation in eukaryotes
- History and basic principles of development; gene regulatory networks
- Development of the insect body plan
- Hox genes and the evolution of body plans
- Vertebrate development

Practical exercises:

1. Computer-based analysis of DNA sequences; interpretation of gene expression data.
2. Embryogenesis in insects.

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 completion151:0015:00Class test revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion200:3010:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00Practical assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00Includes 1 h exam practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:002x 3 h practicals
Guided Independent StudySkills practice41:004:00Practical 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. The exam practice (class test) provides students with an opportunity to answer a practice exam question. The final lecture is an optional review session. In the first practical, students use computers to analyse DNA and protein sequences with supervision and guidance. The practical also includes a data interpretation exercise to reinforce students’ understanding of how gene expression is regulated. In the second practical, students gain experience in the laboratory including microscopic study, which is essential as knowledge of the key events in animal development relies on the ability to make observations. 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 work on the practical materials.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination901A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M302 x 15% practical reports
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MPractice exam
Computer assessment1MBlackboard self-test quizzes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam assesses knowledge and understanding of the relevant subject material and the ability to integrate information from lectures and additional reading. Questions in the formal exam may require knowledge and understanding gained in the practical sessions. The report on the computer practical and data interpretation exercise tests 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. Assessment of the lab practical will be based on the preparation of an annotated worksheet recording activities and observations during the practical and will assess skills and understanding of the materials. The Blackboard self-test quizzes help students evaluate their progress. The practice exam 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.

Reading Lists