BI2BK5-Molecular Biology of the Gene: Expression, Function and Analysis

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1BC2 Genes and Chromosomes
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2015/6

Module Convenor: Prof Simon Andrews


Summary module description:

This module aims to provide an appreciation of the mechanisms involved in the control of gene expression in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. It also aims to introduce students to important bioinformatics tools used to study gene and protein function.

Assessable learning outcomes:
- comprehend the manner in which chromosomes are organised, structured and replicated;
- recount the mechanisms of control of gene expression in the lac and trp operons of E. coli and in the genes which control lysogeny in phage lambda;
- outline the features of the control mechanisms that are used to regulate gene expression developmentally and spatially within organisms, in response to external stimuli and in order to integrate different responses;
- make distinctions between the mechanisms employed for control of gene expression in eukaryote as opposed to prokaryote systems;
- understand the processes leading to gene expression in eukaryotes and prokaryotes;
- understand the use of bioinformatics as a tool in examining nucleotide and amino acid sequence data.

Additional outcomes:
- to develop skills in bioinformatics
- develop group presentation skills
- develop problemsolving skills in molecular genetics

Outline content:
How genes are organised within chromosomes. The process of DNA replication. The basal transcription machinery in prokaryotes and eukaryotes; the involvement of chromosome structure in gene expression; the involvement of protein-nucleic acid interactions in control of gene expression; details of control of the the lac and trp operons of E. coli and the genes which control lysogeny in phage lambda; the use of alternative sigma factors to control expression in bacteria; response of genes to external stimuli illustrated by appropriate examples; mechanisms used to switch on and off genes in eukaryotes and to integrate the effects of varying stimuli; RNA processing; bioinformatics analysis of gene function; problem solving studies of gene function using bioinformatics.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Most weeks will involve two 45-minute lectures. Problem-solving tutorials, student seminars or bioinformatic 'practical' sessions may follow the lectures. Students will engage in self-learning sessions using indicated reading materials and will present short talks to the group based on specific topics; required background reading materials that will form part of the assessed content of the module. The in-course assessment will also include two Blackboard-based tests performed in students' own time and based upon the content of the module (to encourage revision and comprehension of the course).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 13
Seminars 4
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Guided independent study 73
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Oral assessment and presentation 5
Set exercise 15
Class test administered by School 10

Other information on summative assessment:
See above

Formative assessment methods:
Tutorial sessions

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A one-and-a-half hour examination requiring the answer of two questions out of four.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August / September

    Last updated: 11 March 2015

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