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Unit information: Molecular Approaches to Biological Problems in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Molecular Approaches to Biological Problems
Unit code BIOL20004
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Barker
Open unit status Not open

None, but BIOL 20005 Molecular Methodology for Biologists is recommended



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

In the Molecular Approaches unit you will investigate the diverse ways in which important biological questions have been investigated. For instance, during the course you will investigate such diverse topics as gluten intolerance/coeliac disease, the green revolution, bioinformatics, ageing in nematodes and self- incompatibility. Hence, this unit brings to life the molecular techniques covered in BIOL 20005 (Molecular Methodology for Biologists) and in doing so provides you with an insight into how a knowledge of applied molecular biology is essential for all competent biologists.


If biology were cookery, then the Molecular Methodology unit might be described as providing you with the basic skills required to understand how recipes are created. In this case, the Molecular Approaches unit will show you how master chefs create award winning menus.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have deepened their understanding of the nature and application of a range of molecular genetics techniques. They will have gained insights into the interdisciplinary nature of modern biological research, and they will have acquired knowledge of a range of biological systems of contemporary research interest.

Teaching Information

  • 3 x 1 hour weekly lectures (weeks 7-11)
  • No practical classes
  • Self-directed learning week (week 12). Students are expected to spend this time on directed reading

Assessment Information

Continuous assessment (40%) based on writing of two news and views articles.

End of year exam (60%)

Reading and References

  • Brown, T.A. (1999) Genomes. Bios Scientific Publishers. 472pp
  • Lewin, B. (1999) Genes VII. OUP. 990 pp
  • Turner, P.C., McLennan, A.G., Bates, A.D. and White, M.R.H. Instant Notes in
  • Molecular Biology (1997). Bios Scientific Publishers. 307pp