Module Identifier BS13010  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Michael K Winson  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Professor John Draper  
Pre-Requisite Normally A or AS level biology or its equivalent  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours.  
  Practical   9 Hours. 3 x 3 hour Workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours 2 hour theory examination  70%
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment of computer workshop work30%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours one 2 hour written exam  70%
Supplementary Assessment resubmission of failed coursework30%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
Provide an account of the properties of DNA, RNA and proteins.

Describe the essentials of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

Demonstrate an understanding of restriction digestion and DNA cloning.

Explain the principles of DNA- and RNA-gel blot analysis.

Provide a description of western blot analysis.

Describe DNA and Protein databases and their uses.

Demonstrate the ability to manipulate DNA and protein sequences using bioinformatic tools.


Molecular Biology is concerned with understanding biological processes at the molecular level. Bioinformatics is concerned with the storage and analysis of biological information using computers. The course is designed to introduce students to the molecular biology of cells, the techniques that are used to investigate how cells work and to the modern bioinformatics methods being used for investigating the information generated in this way. The module introduces these two disciplines and describes how they are being used in combination to investigate, for example, the human genome. It will focus on the key concepts in DNA replication, describe the methods used for sequencing and provide a basic understanding of DNA cloning. The conversion of genetic information encoded in DNA into proteins via messenger RNA will be outlined. Practical experience of how to access the worldwide protein and DNA databases will be taught. An overview of the types of information that is stored in the DNA and protein databases worldwide will also be provided.

Brief description


The modules will focus on the following key topics.

1) Basic Understanding of:
   i) what DNA is, its properties and how it replicates
   ii) what mRNA is and how it is made
   iii) what protiens are and how DNA encodes for proteins.

2) Provide an account of the following key molecular biology techniques:
   i) polymerase chain reaction PCR
   ii) restriction enzyme digestion of DNA
   iii) DNA cloning
   iv) DNA gell blot analysis
   v) RNA gell blot analysis
   vi) Western blot analysis

3) Basic understanding of bioinformatics associated with DNA and protein sequences
   i) database structures
   ii) tools for searching databases
   iii) manipulating sequences.

Three computer workshop practical classes will introduce bioinformations methods for information retrieval and investigating the properties of genes and proteins.

Module Skills

Problem_solving Identify problems Identify factors which might influence potential solutions Develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions Construct a rational proposal in response to a problem  
Communication Read in different contexts and for different purposes Listen effectively Write for different purposes and audiences  
Improving own Learning and Performance Devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies.  
Information Technology Use a range of commonly used software packages Prepare and input data Present information and data Use email/internet appropiately and effectively  
Application of Number Obtain and interpret mathematical and statistical information  
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in realtion to course/career progression.  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Attwood, T.K. & Parry Smith, D.J. (1999) Introduction to Bioinformatics Prentice Hall
Reece, R.J. (2004) Analysis of Genes and Genomes Wiley
Turner, P.C., McLennon, A.G., Bates, A.D. & White, M.R.H. (2000) Molecular Biology (Instant Notes) BIOS


This module is at CQFW Level 4