Molecular biology is a specialized branch, the study of the chemistry of molecules which are specifically connected to living processes. Of particular importance to molecular biology are the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and the proteins which are constructed using the genetic instructions encoded in those molecules. As a result, molecular biology techniques are at the forefront of most cutting edge scientific research. In this project you will investigate a number of commonly used molecular biology techniques involving DNA.

The molecules which form the basis of life provide scientists with a more predictable and mechanistic tool for scientists to study. Working with whole organisms (or even just whole cells) can be unpredictable, with the outcome of experiments relying on the interaction of thousands of molecular pathways and external factors. Molecular biology provides scientists with a toolkit with which they may “tinker” with the way life works. They may use them to determine the function of single genes or proteins, and find out what would happen if that gene or protein was absent or faulty. Molecular biology is used to examine when and why certain genes are switched “on” or “off”. An understanding of each of the factors has granted scientists a deeper understanding of how living things work, and used this knowledge to develop treatments for when living things don’t work so well.

Each of these techniques (Gel Electrophoresis, PCR, Blotting and Sequencing) are used in conjunction with other techniques to help scientists solve a particular research question. For example, following using PCR to create large quantities of a particular gene a scientist may ligate a gene for a particular protein into a plasmid vector (a short circular strand of DNA which acts as a carrier), perform a quick restriction digest and electrophoresis to ensure that the gene has been inserted properly, and then use that plasmid to transform a bacterial cell which is used to produce large quantities of the vector. After purification of the vector from the bacteria, it is then used to transfect a mammalian cell in culture. The scientist then uses protein electrophoresis and western blotting to demonstrate the expression of the gene product.

Aims and Objectives. 

Advanced Techniques in Molecular biology deals with

  • Nucleic acids and proteins and how these molecules interact within the cell to promote proper growth, division, and development. .
  • To provide with the core principles of advanced techniques molecular biology
  • To understand about basic principles and methods of different techniques and their importance.

Learning outcomes:

At the end students will be able to understand

  • How DNA which stores all the information can be isolated and manuplated
  • How genetically modified organisms can be prepared by using different techniques
  • How a gene can be cloned and how’s its expression can be checked
  • How advanced techniques can be helpful to combat with genetically inherited diseases.

Assessment criteria:

  • Sessional (Attendance, assignment & presentation) 10 Marks
  • Practical Exam           15 Marks
  • Mid Term Exam         30 Marks
  • Final Term Marks       45 Marks

Recommended Books:

  1. Sambrook and Russel. 2001. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual. 3rd Edition, Vol. 1-3, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York, USA.
  2. Harvey Lodish, Arnold Berk, Paul Matsudaira, Chris A. Kaiser Monty Krieger Mathew P Scott. S Lawrence Zipursky and James Darmell. 2004. Molecular Cell Biology. 5th Edition. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York.
  3. Bruce Alberts, Dennis Bray, Julian Lewis, Marin Raff, Keith Roberts and James D. Watson. 2002. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th Edition.
  4. David Freifelder. 2000. Essentials of Molecular Biology. 2nd Edition.
  5. De Robertis and E.M.F De Robertis, Jr. 2004. Cell and Molecular Biology. 8th Edition


Course Material