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Unit information: Gene expression and rearrangement in 2020/21

Unit name Gene expression and rearrangement
Unit code MOLG22200
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Kuwabara
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Biochemistry
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit covers the processes involved in maintaining and expressing the genetic material of microorganisms and animals. Topics covered include: DNA-protein interactions; mechanisms of DNA replication, recombination and repair; eukaryotic and prokaryotic gene expression; protein synthesis; mobile genetic elements; generation of immune diversity by rearrangement of immunoglobulin genes; regulatory RNA; viruses and cancer. Some prior knowledge of molecular biology (eg equivalent to Biochemistry: Cellular Composition) is recommended.

The main aims of this Unit are to provide students with a good understanding of (i) the mechanisms by which prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells replicate, repair and express their genetic material, and (ii) the importance of these processes in diseased and healthy cells. Further aims are to improve your ability to critically assess experimental data.

Intended learning outcomes

Learning outcomes: knowledge and understanding

Upon completion of this course you should understand, and be able to explain:

  1. how and why proteins interact with DNA;
  2. how DNA is replicated and repaired;
  3. the mechanisms of DNA recombination, and the importance of this process;
  4. how genes are transcribed and translated, and the mechanisms by which these processes can be controlled in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms;
  5. the molecular basis of oncogenes and DNA tumour viruses
  6. the molecular basis of transposable elements
  7. the regulatory roles of RNA

Learning outcomes: Skills

Upon completion of this course you should have acquired the skills necessary to:

  1. understand how to undertake experiments in molecular genetics;
  2. interpret experimental data relating to the processes described in the course;
  3. present experimental work in a clear and concise written report.

Teaching details

Lectures, tutorials and practicals

Assessment Details

Continual assessment: 40% of the total marks for the unit are awarded on the basis of assessment exercises undertaken during the course. *15% of the final assessment mark is awarded for a data-handling exercise. *10% of the final a mark is awarded for one assessed essay. *15% of the final mark is awarded for a practical write-up. Sessional exam: 60% of the final assessment mark is awarded for a timed essay.

Reading and References

"Molecular Biology of the Gene" 7th ed. (2013) by J. Watson et al. (Pearson), or

"Genomes 4". (2018) by T. Brown (Garland Science), or

"Lewin’s Genes XII" (2017), by J Krebs et al. (Jones & Bartlett).