Course Title:  BIO 252 Biotechnology II: DNA Research

Course Description

Reviews the basic structure and function of DNA as well as transcription, translation, and gene regulation.  Focuses on the techniques that are commonly used in DNA research including DNA isolation, gel electrophoresis, restriction analyses, and recombinant DNA techniques. Emphasizes the “newer” DNA techniques such as polymerase chain reactions, DNA sequencing, whole genome studies, and microarrays. Lecture 3 hrs, Lab 3hrs, 4 credits

General Course Purpose

This course is designed to provide an introduction to nucleic acids and the many techniques that are used to study DNA.  Students will be re-introduced to the basic concepts of molecular biology including DNA structure and function, as well as the process and controls on gene expression. The basic tools and techniques of DNA science will be covered including DNA isolation and purification (including plasmid DNA), gel electrophoresis, DNA restriction/fingerprinting analyses, and cloning (transformation and screening of clones). A significant portion of time will also be spent covering newer DNA technologies including the polymerase chain reaction (including real-time PCR), DNA sequencing, DNA fingerprinting (using AFLP and microsatellite techniques) and microarrays. Students will be expected to integrate these techniques into a group research project using a DNA Sequencer/Analyzer. Students will be introduced to the field of bioinformatics.  The application of these DNA techniques to different fields of biotechnology (i.e. forensics, medicine, environmental science, etc.) will be discussed.

Course Prerequisites/Corequisites
BIO 101 or BIO 173, CHM 111, and BIO 253: Concepts in Biotechnology.

Course Objectives

Upon completing the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Detail the structure and function of DNA
  2. Describe the central dogma of molecular biology, namely the relationship between cellular DNA, RNA, and protein concentrations.
  3. Understand the process and controls on gene regulation/expression.
  4. Explain the difference between DNA and RNA and how each might be used in nucleic acid research.
  5. Compare the fundamental features of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes/genome.
  6. Define “recombinant DNA” and “cloning” in both a scientific and societal context.
  7. Describe the basic tools and techniques of DNA science including DNA isolation, restriction analyses, and cloning.
  8. Describe the recent methodological developments in biotechnology pertaining to DNA.
  9. Describe the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and how it is used in biotechnology.
  10. Describe the methodology of DNA sequencing including whole-genome approaches.
  11. Understand the role of microarrays in gene expression studies.
  12. Understand the applications of DNA methods have to the fields of human medicine, namely in finding human disease genes, understanding the genetic basis of cancer, and in pharmacogenomics.
  13. Understand the role that DNA analyses have in forensics, agriculture, and environmental science.
  14. Use computer resources to analyze and compare genomes/genes from different organisms.
  15. Describe how bioinformatics is used to study the relationship between gene sequence and gene function.
  16. Be able to work safely in a lab environment.
  17. Be able to integrate basic lab techniques into the experimental design of a research project.
  18. Be proficient with basic lab skills including documentation, aseptic technique, pipetting, cell culture, and solution preparation and dilution.


Major Topics to be Included

  1. Introduction to DNA structure and the history of DNA science
  2. Information flow from DNA to protein
  3. Control of gene expression
  4. Basic tools and techniques of DNA science
  5. Methods for finding and expressing important genes
  6. Modern methods for analyzing whole genomes
  7. Basic and applied research with DNA microarrays
  8. The DNA science of cancer
  9. Applying DNA science to human genetics
  10. Other applications of DNA technologies
  11. Bioinformatics: analysis of gene sequences, genome expression, and the whole genome perspective.