67004 - Molecular Biology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student has adequate knowledge of the fundamental principles and basic mechanisms of molecular biology. In particular, the student is able to understand and discuss issues of gene expression, replication and DNA repair, the structure of the genome, the nucleosome, and the regulatory RNA at the molecular level. Finally, the student has knowledge of basic molecular biology's tecnologies.

Course contents

  • The genes code for proteins and may be interrupted
  • The messenger RNA, protein synthesis and the use of the genetic code
  • Transcription, the operon (lac), RNA regulator, phage strategies (lambda)
  • The DNA replication
  • The homologous recombination and the site specific recombination
  • The repair systems correct DNA damage
  • Eukaryotic promoters and enhancers, the regulation of transcription in eukaryotes
  • Splicing and RNA maturation


The material discussed in the class does not replace the reference texts, but supplement it and and is explanatory of these, and is a guide for the selection and understanding of the subject matter.

·         Il gene, seconda edizione compatta; Capitoli: 1-3, 7-9, 11-15, 18-20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

·         DNA ricombinante, Geni e Genomi. J.D. Watson, edizioni Zanichelli. Capitolo 4

Teaching methods

Lectures  The course is divided into two teaching modules: the first module (6 ECTS) is carried out by Prof. Vincenzo Scarlato and consists of lectures with the aim to provide the student with the fundamental principles and basic mechanisms of cell functioning. The second module (4 CFU) is carried out by Prof. Davide Ambrosetti and consists of lectures (3 CFU)with the aim to provide the student with the mechanisms and the control of gene expression by eukaryotic cells and classroom exercises (1 CFU) designed to the comprehension of the main techniques in Molecular Biology.

Assessment methods

The exam takes place only through the final exam, which ensures the acquisition of knowledge and expected skills by conducting a written test for 1.5 hours without the aid of notes or books.

The written test consists of 46 multiple choice questions and 2 open-ended questions. Each answear to multiple choice questions achieves 0.5 points, each open-ended question allows for a maximum of 4 points. The final grade is calculated as the sum of the obtained points.

Teaching tools

PC and video projector

Office hours

See the website of Vincenzo Scarlato

See the website of Davide Carlo Ambrosetti