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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL2112 Genes and Genomes

20 creditsClass Size: 260

Module manager: Dr Ryan Speike

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications


This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL2111Genetic Engineering

Module replaces

Module amalgamates BIOL 2111 (Genetic Engineering) and BIOL2110 (Power of Genomics) BIOL2110 will be discontinued, but BIOL2111 will remain as a 10 credit option for some programmes.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will build on students’ knowledge and understanding of gene structure, expression and regulation. In the first part of the module, the focus of study will be individual genes, the tools and techniques used to clone, mutate, sequence and express genes, and how gene expression in cells can be studied. Students will apply this knowledge to experimental problem solving.The second part of the module focuses on study of the genome, and how genome sequencing and sequence-based approaches have been used to advance our understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic biology. The impact of such techniques on our understanding of bacterial pathogens, genomics in disease, and in the discovery of novel therapeutics will be explored. Journal club sessions will support students in engaging with the primary literature and preparing for their mini-review assignment.


The module aims to familiarise students with the tools and techniques used to study the cell’s genetic material, at the level of the individual gene through to the entire genome. It will describe and exemplify the impact of these techniques in developing our understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular biology.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will have an intermediate level of knowledge of genes and genomes that will provide a platform for advanced teaching in subsequent years. Students will be able to:
1. Review and understand the architecture of genes, and the processes of transcription and translation, and the differences in these processes between prokaryotes and eukaryotes;
2. Describe ways in which genes can be cloned, their DNA sequence determined, and how they can be mutated, engineered and used for the production of recombinant proteins;
3. Describe the methods used to measure gene expression and its regulation, including quantitative PCR, RNAi tools, and the use of reporter genes;
4. Describe examples of how genome sequencing and sequence-based approaches have advanced understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic biology;
5. Critically evaluate the scientific literature from journal articles and incorporate relevant material into written assignments;
6. Determine the most appropriate approaches to experimental design, and solve experimental problems.

Skills outcomes
- Reading primary literature;
- Experimental problem solving.


The module will be split into two sections.

In the first, students will study a range of techniques used to study individual genes and their expression, including cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, methods for expressing and purifying proteins, and methods (e.g. RNAi, CRISPR) for analysing and altering gene expression. Weekly problem solving exercises will emphasise the practical application of these techniques.

The second section will move on to consider studies of the genome in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including comparative and functional genomics and transcriptomics of bacterial pathogens, an introduction to the structure and function of eukaryotic genomes, and applications of these studies in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems. There will be an emphasis on the inclusion of reading the primary literature in this section, supported by regular journal article sessions.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Problem Based Learning81.008.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Review of lecture materials and prescribed reading (60h)
Formative problem questions (20h)
Preparation and writing mini-review (45h)
Preparation for in-course MRQ (10h)
Revision & exam preparation (30h)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

On-line formative MCQ tests can be used repeatedly;
Formative problem solving and journal club sessions;
In-course MRQ.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentMIni-review30.00
In-course MCQFormative: Molecular methods0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment24 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 07/10/2021 15:31:50


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