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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL2112 Genes and Genomes

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Ryan Speike

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications


This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL2111Genetic Engineering

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 sequence-based approaches and proteomics 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.


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.

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.

Teaching methods

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

- Students will be provided with problems during in-course exercises.
- Feedback will be provided by the lecturer during the exercises.
- Students will be provided with examples of short-answer questions in order to practice answering this format of question and students are advised to ensure they are familiar with the full range of materials covered.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentReview30.00
In-course AssessmentFormative molecular biology questions and short answer questions0.00
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 assessment3 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: 14/11/2022


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