BI2BP6-Practical Skills: Recombinant DNA Exercise

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: BI2BK5 Molecular Biology of the Gene: Expression, Function and Analysis
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Francoise Mazet


Summary module description:

1.To provide students with hands-on experience and understanding in some of the main procedures used in recombinant DNA work.
2.To provide an illustration of the link between experimentation and scientific knowledge.
3.To provide students with the analytical skills required to interpret experimental data.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students should be able to perform and analyse the results of Southern blotting and hybridisation, restriction mapping and polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of genetic disease.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have developed their team-working skills and have a deeper understanding of molecular biology through the application of practical approaches.

Outline content:
This module is based entirely on laboratory practical sessions. Students will cleave DNA with different restriction endonucleases, separate the fragments in agarose gels and transfer the DNA to a solid support by Southern blotting. Following hybridisation to a labelled DNA probe for a specific gene, students will analyse the hybridisation pattern to determine the genotype of a group of individuals. In addition, the same DNA samples will be analysed for the same gene using the PCR to determine the genotypes.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students will be asked to do some preparatory work beforehand and this will be assessed before the start of the module by a test. At the beginning of the module there will be an introductory session to explain the aims and objectives of the module and to describe the principles underlying the procedures to be used in the practical sessions. Each subsequent session will consist of a short introduction followed by the practical work which will be in carried out either individually or in groups of varying sizes depending on the task involved; at the end of each session there will be a short discussion of the results available. Following the practical sessions, there will be a session devoted to a general discussion of all the results obtained. During the module, students will have ample opportunity to discuss principles, procedures and results with demonstrators and to practice the construction of restriction maps for different DNAs. At the end of the module, students will be assessed by a second test.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 22
Guided independent study 78
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Class test administered by School 100

Other information on summative assessment:
End of module test, under examination conditions, consisting of two sections with the first consisting of a restriction mapping exercise (15%) and the second consisting of a number of questions based on the practical exercises requiring short answers (85%).

Formative assessment methods:

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:
    No examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination in August/September.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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