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Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:56

Course Overview

  • this course will provide a comprehensive understanding of how genetic information is stored, how it is accessed by the cell to form functional proteins and how the release of this information is controlled to produce a healthy human child;
  • understanding this process is essential to understanding the basis of human disease and the course will examine how genetic differences affect disease susceptibility;
  • this popular, comprehensive and cutting edge course will equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and confidence in molecular biology required to progress on all courses undertaken in the School of Medical Sciences

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alasdair MacKenzie

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BI1507 The Cell (Passed) or SF1503 The Cell (Foundation) (Passed) or SM1501 The Cell (Passed)
  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course is divided into 4 main modules as follows; 1. Nucleic Acids: this module will provide an overview of nucleic acid biochemistry with emphasis on the dynamic structure of DNA and the way in which it is replicated and packaged into chromosomes. The basic principles of modern recombinant DNA technologies will also be introduced. 2. Gene regulation: one of the most important questions within modern biology centres on how one- dimensional information held within the DNA is turned into healthy living 3-dimensional organisms that are able to interact with their environments. This module will describe how this information is decoded by transcription and translation to form proteins and how organisms control these processes to ensure that the correct proteins are produced in the correct cells at the correct times and in the correct amounts. 3. Peptides and proteins: this module will provide a comprehensive introduction to protein biochemistry, building on the basic chemistry of amino acids and peptides. The properties of proteins will be described, using a number of specific examples. The final lectures in the module will consider the methods used to study proteins. These provide the information that underlies our current understanding of protein structure and function. 4. Genetic disease: this module will explain how genomes can be compromised by mutation and chromosomal rearrangements leading to disorders such as Downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis, fragile-X syndrome and cancer.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Biochemistry
  • BSc Biochemistry (Biobusiness)
  • BSc Biochemistry (Immunology)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Develop'l Biol)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Biol)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology)
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Physiology)
  • BSc Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Bio)
  • BSc Genetics
  • BSc Genetics (Biobusiness)
  • BSc Genetics (Immunology & Biobusiness)
  • BSc Genetics (Immunology)
  • BSc Human Embryology & Dev'l Biology
  • BSc Immunology
  • BSc Immunology & Pharmacology (Biobus)
  • BSc Immunology (Biobusiness)
  • BSc Immunology and Pharmacology
  • BSc Microbiology
  • BSc Molecular Biology
  • BSc Molecular Biology (Biobusiness)
  • BSc Pharmacology
  • BSc Pharmacology (Biobusiness)
  • BSc Physiology
  • BSc in Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology & Biobusiness)
  • BSc in Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology & Biobusines
  • MSci Biochemistry (Biobusiness) with Ind Plt
  • MSci Biochemistry with Industrial Placement
  • MSci Biotechnology (Ap Mol Bio & Biobusiness) with Ind'l P'mnt
  • MSci Genetics (Immunology) with Ind'l Pl'mnt
  • MSci Genetics with Industrial Placement
  • MSci Immunology with Industrial Placement
  • MSci Microbiology with Industrial Placement
  • MSci Molecular Biology with Indust Placem
  • MSci Pharmacology with Industrial Placement
  • MSci Physiology with Industrial Placement
  • MSci in Biomedical Sci (Developm'l Biology) with Ind Placm't
  • MSci in Biomedical Science (Anatomy) with Indust'l Placement
  • MSci in Biomedical Science (Molecular Biol) with Ind Plac't
  • MSci in Biomedical Science (Pharmacology) with Ind'l Pla'mnt
  • MSci in Biomedical Science (Physiology) with Ind'l Placement
  • MSci in Biotechnology(Appd Molecular Bio) with Ind Placement
  • MSci in Human Embryology & Developmental Bio with Ind Plac't
  • MSci in Immunology and Pharmacology with Indust'l Placement
  • MSci in Molecular Biology (Biobusiness) with Industri Placem

Contact Teaching Time

69 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

  • Four 50-minute online QMP based assessments each worth 5% of mark (20%)
  • Two 3-hour practical classes, each worth 10% of mark (20%)
  • MCQ exam (100 questions in 2 hours) (60%)
  • One 2-hour final exam in essay format (60%)
  • Previous continuous assessment (40%)

Formative Assessment



  • Students are given feedback on marked practical reports.
  • Practical marks and QMP test marks displayed on WebCT within a week.
  •  Answers to on-line tests provided after the test.

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