Learning outcomes of the course unit
The objective of the first part of the course is knowledge and understanding of the structure and properties of DNA molecules, with the help of bioinformatic tools designed for the analysis of gene sequences. Following, the objective becomes the knowledge of the basic techniques of DNA analysis and manipulation. Finally, these skills will be functional for the understanding of the major recombinant DNA technologies and for their possible future application.
Course contents summary
In the first section of the course, the basics on the structure of DNA and genes together with the central dogma of genetics will be introduced; following, the main techniques of DNA analysis and manipulation will be presented. In the second section main subject will be recombinant DNA technology and its main applications.
Notes on the transmission of genetic information, from Mendel to discover the "transforming principle"
DNA chemistry and structure.
Organization of DNA in eukaryotic cells.
Types of RNA, Transcription and Translation, genetic code and protein synthesis. Role of genes in cells. The regulatory elements of gene expression (notes).
Techniques of DNA analysis and manipulation
Restriction enzymes, electrophoretic separation. Modification enzymes, in vitro reactions.
Recombinant DNA and cloning strategies
The Polymerase Chain Reaction
PCR technology and applications. DNA sequencing. Bioinformatics for DNA sequence analysis: an approach to Nucleotide Sequence Databases.
Applications of recombinant DNA technology.
Procariotic expression vectors: few concepts of recombinant expression and protein engineering.
"Fondamenti di biologia molecolare"
by Lizabeth A. Allison
Supplementary material, assembled by the teacher, can be found on the course website.
Frontal lessons will be aided by presentations and videos, valuing the molecular approach; interactive web sites will be used when possible.
Assessment methods and criteria
The oral test will deal with the comprehension of DNA structure and DNA methods of analysis; knowledge on cloning techniques, PCR and DNA sequencing will produce the final grade.