Module Details

Module Code: BIOL S8Z02
Full Title: Molecular Biology
Valid From:: Semester 1 - 2018/19 ( September 2018 )
Language of Instruction:English
Duration: 1 Semester
Credits:: 7.5
Module Owner:: Ronan Bree
Departments: Unknown
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.
Module Learning Outcome
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Module Learning Outcome Description
MLO1 Discuss the basic structures, and properties of biological relevance, of the common groups of biomolecules.
MLO2 Analyse the processes involved in the central dogma of molecular biology function.
MLO3 Summarise the process of recombinant DNA technology and its benefit to the scientific community.
MLO4 Communicate the molecular procedures detailed/performed in the module using professional scientific reports or portfolios.
MLO5 Apply practical competence in selected molecular techniques.
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is strongly recommended before enrolment in this module. You may enrol in this module if you have not acquired the recommended learning but you will have considerable difficulty in passing (i.e. achieving the learning outcomes of) the module. While the prior learning is expressed as named DkIT module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).
No recommendations listed
Module 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 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.
Module Assessment
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work20.00%
Final Examination50.00%
Module Special Regulation


Full Time On Campus

Course Work
Assessment Type Short Answer Questions % of Total Mark 20
Marks Out Of 0 Pass Mark 0
Timing Week 8 Learning Outcome 1,2,3
Duration in minutes 60
Assessment Description
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.
No Project
Assessment Type Practical/Skills Evaluation % of Total Mark 30
Marks Out Of 0 Pass Mark 0
Timing Every Week Learning Outcome 1,3,4,5
Duration in minutes 180
Assessment Description
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.
Final Examination
Assessment Type Formal Exam % of Total Mark 50
Marks Out Of 0 Pass Mark 0
Timing End-of-Semester Learning Outcome 1,2,3
Duration in minutes 120
Assessment Description

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


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time On Campus
Workload Type Contact Type Workload Description Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload Hours
Lecture Contact 3 x 1 hour interactive lectures per week. Every Week 3.00 3
Practical Contact 1 x 3 hour laboratory session Every Week 3.00 3
Directed Reading Non Contact Notes / Paper / Textbook reading Every Week 2.00 2
Independent Study Non Contact Self / group study Every Week 5.00 5
Total Weekly Learner Workload 13.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 6.00
This module has no Part Time On Campus workload.
Module Resources
Recommended Book Resources
  • Berg, Tymoczko and Stryer.. (2015), Biochemistry, 8th. WH Freeman.
  • Lodish, Berk, Kaiser, Krieger, Scott, Bretscher, Ploegh and Matsudaira.. (2016), Molecular Cell Biology, 8th. WH Freeman.
  • David P. Clark. (2012), Molecular Biology, 2nd. Elsevier.
  • William H. Elliott, Daphne C. Elliott. (2014), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 5th. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press.
  • David Sheehan. (2009), Physical Biochemistry, 2nd. Wiley.
  • Keith Wilson and John Walker. (2010), Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology, 7th. Cambridge University Press.
  • David Nelson and Michael Cox. (2017), Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 7th. WH Freeman.
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Robert K. Murray et al.. (2015), Harper's illustrated biochemistry, 30th. McGraw-Hill Medical.
  • Mary K. Campbell, Shawn O'Farrell, Owen M. McDougal. (2018), Biochemistry, 9th. Brooks Cole; Cengage.
  • Philip Turner, Alexander McLennan, Andrew Bates, Michael White. (2012), BIOS Instant Notes in Molecular Biology, 4th. 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,
  • Website, Online Bioinformatics Tools:
  • Online publication database,, (log in through DkIT library webpage for access to subscribed journals).
  • Online publication database,
  • Website, Bioconnect Ireland;