Molecular biology 1 (2024)

Course manager

Kim Blanksø Pedersen

Semester schedule

Autumn (13-week period)



Language of instruction


Course type



Competences corresponding to participation in the courses General and organic chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Projects 1 and 2. 


The objective is to provide an introduction into the function and biosynthesis of macromolecules in the maintenance and regulation of genetic information. The course will also provide an introduction into selected biotechnological methods. To provide the student with an insight into the culturing and modification of different cell types for the purpose of commercial fermentation and the molecular biology behind strategic choices of growth organisms.


  • The structure and function of nucleic acids 
  • The genetic code 
  • Recombinant DNA technology
  • DNA replication and repair
  • Transcription and RNA processing
  • Protein synthesis, tRNA, ribosome structure and function
  • The control of gene expression, lac-operon
  • Bacterial recombination and virus replication/infection
  • The structure and function of chromatin
  • Introductory bioinformatics
  • Gene expression and regulation in advanced Eukaryotes

The purpose of the laboratory element of the course (corresponding to 4 ECTS) is to illustrate, explain and entrench the theoretical principles by way of practical exercises comprising e.g. purification of DNA from a diverse population of organisms, PCR, and spectroscopic measurement techniques.

Learning targets

Following completion of the course the student is expected to be able to:


  • Describe the construction and properties of nucleic acids
  • Describe how bacteria can exchange genetic material and how viruses use the systems of the host cell for reproduction 
  • Explain DNA topology, including DNA's antiparallel structure
  • Describe the DNA replication process for the leading and lagging strands and chromosome ends
  • Describe mechanisms for the regulation and control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes 
  • Explain why and how RNA is modified post-transcriptionally, including capping, splicing and polyadenylation, the processing of rRNA, tRNA, and RNA editing
  • Describe initiation, elongation and termination processes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes during protein synthesis
  • Describe basic principles of evolutionary genetics
  • Describe the use of bioinformatics tools in molecular biology


  • Explain methods of analysis of nucleic acids' construction and properties (fluorescence detection, measurement of UV absorbance, agarose-gel electrophoresis) including data analysis
  • Describe the construction of genes and gene products in viruses, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes (including the structure of chromatin); and explain and apply the genetic code
  • Explain the application of basic molecular biological techniques and make simple calculations/analyses related thereto (restriction analysis, DNA cloning in vectors, DNA sequencing, PCR, site-directed mutagenesis, and the construction and application of cDNA and genomic libraries – including the most commonly applied vector types and CRISPR/Cas)
  • Describe how a cell's DNA may be damaged and how such damages can be detected and repaired 
  • Explain protein synthesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including the construction and function of tRNA, tRNA amino acylation, the construction and function of the ribosome, identification of the reading frame, mRNA decoding and the formation of peptide bonds
  • Explain applied recombinant DNA techniques in genetically modified organisms
  • Explain gene expression control including epigenetics


  • Discuss and provide a perspective of the promoter regions' involvement in transcription 
  • Explain and provide a perspective of the role of plasmids and viral vectors in cell lines
  • Describe the applications of procayotic and eukaryotic cell lines
  • Plan, execute, and assess in vitro amplification of DNA

Teaching method

Seminars, problem solution and laboratory exercises

Qualifications for examination participation

  • Participation in laboratory exercises and acceptance of mandatory assignments 

All course work shall be executed and submitted pursuant to guidelines set out by the course manager

Examination and aids

Individual oral examination based on a selected laboratory assignment plus a theoretical topic. Duration of examination: 30 min. No preparation time. 

Permitted aids: Reports on laboratory exercises. No access to the internet.




The 7-point grading scale