BSc Biology with Science & Society / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Genome Maintenance & Regulation

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL21101
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Relative stability of the genome is essential if an organism is to function and reproduce. Equally, changes in the genome are important as they allow a species to evolve taking on new characteristics, which may provide a competitive advantage. You will study the molecular processes which cells use to reproduce and to repair their DNA and the molecular mechanisms, such as recombination and mobile gene elements, which bring about changes in the genome. Genome regulation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional and translational levels will also be considered.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Biochemistry BIOL10212 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Molecular Biology BIOL10221 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL21101 Pre- & Co-requisites are BIOL10221

BIOL21101 Pre- & Co-requisites are BIOL10221


To provide a general overview of how a genome is maintained and regulated in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This will be achieved using an example and paradigm-orientated approach, emphasising common themes related to mechanism.


Learning outcomes

Students will be expected to have basic knowledge and understanding of:

  • The mechanisms by which prokaryotes and eukaryotes detect and repair DNA damage
  • Genome regulation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional and translational levels
  • Regulation of DNA replication during cell growth and interaction with transcription and DNA repair processes
  • Recombination and mobile gene elements, and their roles in genome function and evolution
  • Genome structure including nuclear and organelle genomes and implications for regulation


Gene regulation in prokaryotes
•    Promoter architecture, regulatory networks, gene regulation and signalling by nutrients and stress in prokaryotes; roles of RNA in prokaryotic gene regulation
Gene regulation in eukaryotes
•    Sequence-specific transcription factors families; mechanisms of transcriptional stimulation - coactivators, repressors and chromatin remodelling; signalling to the nucleus; tissue-specific and developmental gene regulation
•    The co-transcriptional regulation of mRNA processing; generating the transcriptome - alternative splicing, mRNA turnover, RNA interference; RNA nucleocytoplasmic export and the control of mRNA localization
•    The mechanism and control of eukaryotic protein synthesis
DNA replication - basic models of regulation during cell growth in yeast and higher eukaryotes, bacterial and viral DNA replication
Mechanisms of DNA repair- error-prone, recombination, transcription-coupled excision repair; detection of DNA damage in eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Horizontal gene transfer - transduction, transformation, conjugation; DNA segregation.
Transposons and retroviruses; their effect on genome evolution, organisation and function
Organelle genomes, evolution, composition, regulation and maintenance

eLearning modules with both formative and summative online assessment; group based ePoster activities

Employability skills

Analytical skills
eLearning assignments and exam include data handling problems.
Group/team working
Students take part in an online ePoster activity in groups of 4.
Opportunity for these skills to be developed through the ePoster exercise.
There is the opportunity to develop these skills as part of the ePoster exercise.
Project management
Students must manage and participate in their groups to submit the poster by a fixed deadline.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to ask questions during lectures.
Problem solving
eLearning assignments, teaching material and exam include data handling problems.
ePoster exercise, exam and eLearning assignments.
Written communication
Examination and ePoster activity.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 5%
Written exam 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 15%

Examination (80%), problem-based eLearning exercises (5%), and a group-based ePoster presentation (15%).

Feedback methods

Online MCQs based on lectures will allow students to practice MCQs and obtain continuous formative feedback on their own progress and understanding. Electronically marked components of the unit assessment allow students to monitor their own progress. An online discussion forum is available for communication between students and staff. Feedback on examination performance will be delivered online once results have been published.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Boam Unit coordinator

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