Full Title:Molecular Biology
Language of Instruction:English
Module Code:BIOL S8Z02
Credits: 7.5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2018/19 ( September 2018 )
Module Delivered in 5 programme(s)
Module Description:•To introduce students to the nature, properties and biological roles of the main groups of biochemicals/nucleic acids. •This module will also introduce students to the procedures by which the genetics and related processes of organisms can be altered in controlled ways, and the uses made of these modified organisms. Students will also consider other aspects of nucleic acid technology which are of modern importance, e.g. genetic fingerprinting, gene therapy and the regulation of gene expression.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Discuss the basic structures, and properties of biological relevance, of the common groups of biomolecules.
  2. Analyse the processes involved in the central dogma of molecular biology function.
  3. Summarise the process of recombinant DNA technology and its benefit to the scientific community.
  4. Communicate the molecular procedures detailed/performed in the module using professional scientific reports or portfolios.
  5. Apply practical competence in selected molecular techniques.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Cell structure and the cell cycle. Overview roles of nucleic acids. DNA/RNA structure and function. Principles of base-pairing and its importance in life and technologies. Evolution and conservation. Telomeres as a counting mechanism and their role in cell ageing.
Central Dogma of information
DNA replication, transcription and mRNA translation will be reviewed in detail building on the overview from year 1. Replication stages and order of events. Including details from SV40 replication research. Cell cycle phases and their role in cell structure/features/morphology. Intoduction to RNA, uracil, etc. Transcriptional overview including details on mRNA processing via 5'cap, 3' tail and splicing of introns. Transcriptional regulation through transcription factors, e.g. NFkB. Packaging of DNA and the role of histone proteins. The new era of epigenetics. Translation overview, details on the role of the wobble position/inosine presented. Importance of reading frame and the incorporation of bioinformatics analysis. The effect of mutations (or errors) in our DNA and mRNA on the protein produced. Genetic disorder due to mutated/over-produced proteins being present in the cell.
Recombinant DNA technology
Principles presented. Details on plasmids, genes, coding sequences, restriction enzymes, ligations and transformations will be presented. The ability to generate genetically modified organisms.
Methodology/Practical exercises will be performed to learn the principles of working with the following areas. The theory behind some more advanced methodologies will be covered in lectures.
The use of pipettes and making up solutions (e.g. testing accuracy and repeatability, making up buffers and solutions, calculations). Genomic material (DNA extractions). Recombinant DNA technology (DNA restriction enzyme digestions, ligations). DNA quantification (UV spectrophotometry). DNA analysis (Agarose gel electrophoresis. Molecular Biology (Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RT-PCR, Real time PCR), Southern and Northern blotting). Bioinformatics (sequence retrieval, translation to protein, reading frame identifier, sequence alignments).
Format of Lecture Series
Lecture delivery will engage with a variety of methods including on-line movie animations, visual demonstrations, large diagrams for illustration purposes as well as information from personal experience in the field and slide handouts. Novel methods using app/web-based smartphone quizzes will also be utilised. Course material and revision quizzes will be made readily available on a virtual learning environment (VLE) for student access. The combination of these methods will facilitate in re-enforcing the student’s understanding of some of the technical and mechanistic processes involved. Various aligned classroom assessment techniques may also be employed. These may include aspects such as the background knowledge probe, the one minute paper, small group interaction and discussion, question & answer sessions, team presentations to class colleagues, pop-quizzes and open ended questioning. Access to course textbooks will be provided through the DkIT eBook service which will allow students 24/7 access to suitable reading material. A range of self-assessment, self-reflection and peer learning exercises will be built in to deliveries of both lectures and practical sessions.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
All lecture notes will be provided to the students through a VLE. This VLE will also be used for access to helpful YouTube video clips and peer reviewed publications of interest to the course. Students will have 24/7 access to the VLE allowing them to download and study at their own pace and in their own time. Screencast and Podcast tutorials will also be made available to the students to download and listen to in their own time. This will facilitate learning and understanding for all students, but in particular the international students.
Formative Assessments
Throughout the semester, students will be provided with formative assessments both in lectures and in laboratory environments. These are designed to facilitate group work in problem solving situations. These assessments are built in to the lecture and practical components.
Keeping up-to-date with the life science industry
Breakthroughs in the life science will be sent to the students on a regular basis. This will involve novel developments in the field in addition to postings on jobs/careers in the industry. This concept facilitates the students in preparing for life after college in the life science industry.
Practical labs/sessions
Practical / Skill set tests / Lab write-up reports. In the practical sessions, students will focus on improving their practical skill set, while also dealing with obtaining and analysing data in addition to drawing conclusions from the data. Students will also perform formative competency skill set tests (e.g. pipette tests, graph tests, data handling test, data interpretation tests etc.) all generated to assist understanding and improve technique. Students will work on an interactive lab manual which will contain in-class exercises for review. Group (Peer-assisted learning) work will be encouraged. Technology use will also be encouraged throughout (for example using excel for graphing / trend line generation etc.). The requirement to complete exercises in the practical manual and/or submit certain laboratory reports in combination with ongoing formative assessments is intended to act as serious encouragement for students to focus on the laboratory work. Marks for these exercises/reports will be based on students’ ability to record primary data, calculate derivatives from these, display these data, comment on their meaning in the context of the actual experiment and associated theory, and discuss limitations to the experiment and the results obtained. An incremental marking system will be employed to improve feedback uptake while a suite of technologies will be utilised to enhance assessment in practical sessions (see www.teamshp.ie). For example, a selection of custom recorded pre-practical videos in combination with smartphone based quizzes, electronic lab notebooks, VLE based rubrics and various digital feedback approaches may be employed.
Short answer / diagram / MCQ exams
A continuous assessment exam will take place in the module. This will require the students to answer selected short answer questions in addition to drawing diagrams of cellular processes. Formative quizzes will be performed throughout the module to facilitate learning and understanding of topics covered in addition to preparing the students to the style of this summative exam.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work20.00%
End of Module Formal Examination50.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Short Answer Questions A multiple choice / short answer / sketch / fill in the blanks exam will be performed to examine the knowledge and understanding the students have gained of the material covered between weeks 1 and 7 of the second term. 1,2,3 20.00 0 0 Week 8 60
No Project
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Practical/Skills Evaluation Students will participate in weekly laboratory-based practical sessions in which formative assessments will be performed in interactive group settings (e.g. problem based learning, practical skill competency tests, quizzes, protocol review exercises, worksheet completion etc.). Summative practical laboratory reports and/or the lab manual will be submitted/reviewed during the module for grading. Further details are presented in the indicative content section of this document. 1,3,4,5 30.00 0 0 Every Week 180
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam n/a 1,2,3 50.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 120

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture 3 x 1 hour interactive lectures per week. 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Practical 1 x 3 hour laboratory session 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Directed Reading Notes / Paper / Textbook reading 2.00 Every Week 2.00
Independent Study Self / group study 5.00 Every Week 5.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 13.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 6.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • Berg, Tymoczko and Stryer. 2015, Biochemistry, 8th Ed., WH Freeman
  • Lodish, Berk, Kaiser, Krieger, Scott, Bretscher, Ploegh and Matsudaira. 2016, Molecular Cell Biology, 8th Ed., WH Freeman
  • David P. Clark 2012, Molecular Biology, 2nd Ed., Elsevier
  • William H. Elliott, Daphne C. Elliott 2014, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 5th Ed., Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press
  • David Sheehan 2009, Physical Biochemistry, 2nd Ed., Wiley
  • Keith Wilson and John Walker 2010, Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology, 7th Ed., Cambridge University Press
  • David Nelson and Michael Cox 2017, Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 7th Ed., WH Freeman
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Robert K. Murray et al. 2015, Harper's illustrated biochemistry, 30th Ed., McGraw-Hill Medical
  • Mary K. Campbell, Shawn O'Farrell, Owen M. McDougal 2018, Biochemistry, 9th Ed., Brooks Cole; Cengage
  • Philip Turner, Alexander McLennan, Andrew Bates, Michael White 2012, BIOS Instant Notes in Molecular Biology, 4th Ed., Garland Science; Taylor & Francis
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources
  • Textbook collection online with DkIT: Access online textbooks through DkIT's eBook collection (go to DkiT library site to begin)
  • Up to date science breakthrough website: www.breebio.com
  • Website: Online Bioinformatics Tools: www.expasy.org
  • Online publication database: www.sciencedirect.com, (log in through DkIT library webpage for access to subscribed journals)
  • Online publication database: www.pubmed.com
  • Website: Bioconnect Ireland; www.biotechnologyireland.com

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
Dk_NLBIO_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biopharmaceutical Science (2020) 4 Mandatory
DK_NLENV_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Bioscience (2020) 4 Mandatory
DK_SAPBI_7 Bachelor of Science in Applied Bioscience (2019) 4 Mandatory
DK_NLBIO_7 Bachelor of Science in Bioscience (2020) 4 Mandatory
DK_NLPHS_7 Bachelor of Science Pharmaceutical Science (2020) 4 Mandatory