First cycle
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Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP8084903, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC2377, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination INTRODUCTION TO MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Mathematics
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MARIA PENNUTO BIO/11

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/09 Physiology 1.0
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/10 Biochemistry 2.0
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/11 Molecular Biology 1.0
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines MED/04 General Pathology 2.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Prerequisites: None
Target skills and knowledge: Students will learn how omics data are generated from biological samples (DNA, RNA, proteins). Moreover, students will integrate this information with notions of the theory of evolution and genetics. We will intriduce the concept of genetic mutations and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). Students will have examples of wet lab life, from bench (wet lab) to omics. They will learn how the evolution and the selective pressure impact on genetics and transmission of genetic information in the dynamic equilibrium that governs biological processes. Students will learn about the biology dogma (from DNA to RNA to Protein), how genetic information (deciphering the genetic code) is stored in our chromosomes and then transmitted to progeny. Finally, students will learn how and why gene expression is modulated in different tissues, with examples of tissue-specific mechanisms of gene expression regulation.

In this course, the students will start from the theory of evolution to the concept of mutations, genes, genetics, and molecular biology to ultimately integrate the information and critically appreciate the molecular nature of the omics data.

The students will do several laboratory experiences to learn how the nucleic acids can be manipulated (genetic engineering), gene cloning, and gene expression in cells.
Examination methods: Oral exam: The student will be asked to present a subject of his/her own choice. We will ask two more specific questions to the student. The student may use slides on the subject of choice.
Assessment criteria: We will evaluate the knowledge acquired during the course, the acquisition of basic concepts of the theory of evolution, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, DNA, RNA and protein, and tissue-specific gene expression.
Course unit contents: This course has the goal to provide students with the notions necessary to understand the following aspects:

1. Mendel's laws (Mendelian genetics)and exceptions to Mendel's laws (non-Mendelian genetics): Hereditary characters.
2. The theory of evolution: From Lamarck to Darwin.
3. Historical perspective on the discovery of DNA: From transmission of characters to the concept of GENE.
4. The dogma of biology: DNA->RNA->PROTEIN.
5. The cell: Organelles, compartments, functions.

1. Chemistry: Nitrogenous bases.
2. Structure: Double helix.
3. The genetic code: DNA is read in triplets.
4. DNA replication.
5. Techniques for DNA purification: Large scale and small scale DNA preparations.
6. Techniques to amplify DNA: PCR.
7. Gene cloning: The restriction and modification enzymes.

1. Chemistry: Nitrogenous bases.
2. Structure: Single helix.
3. RNA transcription: Regulation of gene expression.
4. Techniques for RNA purification and conversion to cDNA.
5. Techniques for analysis of gene expression of a gene of interest and omics: RT-PCR, microarrays, NGS.

1. Chemistry: Amino-acids.
2. Structure: Primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structure.
3. The process of translation: From RNA to protein synthesis.
4. Techniques of analysis of proteins: Western blotting, Coomassie, mass spectrometry.

This course includes LABORATORY experience with the preparation of DNA, RNA, and proteins, expression of target genes in cells and analysis of protein function in cultured cells.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The lecturer will introduce each topic using slides (file ppt) that will be made available to students on moodle. Specific topics will be discussed in dedicated classes. We will verify with tests the progress of students.

Concerning the lab experience, the students will perform experiments for manipulation of nucleic acids, gene cloning, and gene expression in cultured cells.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Slides will be available to students.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Lewin, Benjamin; Krebs, Jocelyn E.; Kilpatrick, Stephen T.; Goldstein, Elliott S., Lewin's genes 12.edited by Jocelyn E. Krebs, Elliott S. Goldstein, Stephen T. Kilpatrick. Burlington (MA): Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2017. Cerca nel catalogo