Queen's University
BCHM 218 Molecular Biology

BCHM 218, Molecular Biology, is a foundational course to the study of molecular biology, focusing on the structural and functional properties and relationships of DNA, RNA and proteins, particularly the processes required to reliably pass genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein, and from one generation to the next. This course also examines how these processes are related to the development of human diseases and to basic biotechnology techniques and genetic engineering concepts that are critical for synthetic biological system creation and integration. This experience will arise through their involvement in the following four main elements of inquiry:

  • Section 1: What are the properties and interactions of genetic information molecules?
  • Section 2: How are genomes organized and protected, and how can they be studied?
  • Section 3: How do organisms copy and edit genomes?
  • Section 4: What are different ways that organisms regulate gene expression?

Each section will be accompanied by problem-based learning exercises (PBLs) where students can actively engage with the learning material. In addition, students will be able to assess their knowledge of each particular section through online quizzes. Students will use Molecular simulation and animation activities such as PyMol and Visual Synthesis Map in the online textbook BioPortal to model and mimic the behaviour of molecules to help them prepare for these exercises. Practice questions are available in the textbook and on the textbook website to assist students in preparing for quizzes and exams.

Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing and (BIOL102/3.0 and CHEM112/6.0) or (CHEM114/3.0 and PHGY170/3.0) or permission of instructor.

MBIO 218/3.0

Note: In class version also exists.

  • DNA, RNA and Proteins: Information Molecules of Living Systems
  • The chemical basis of information molecules (DNA, RNA and proteins)
  • Protein Structure and Folding
  • DNA and RNA structure and hybridization
  • Genes and Genomes
  • Genome packaging
  • DNA replication
  • DNA Recombination
  • Transcription: DNA-dependent synthesis of RNA
  • RNA processing
  • Protein Synthesis
  • Regulation of gene expression

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how biomolecules (DNA, RNA, protein) function and interact to support life.
  2. Critically assess primary research articles that address current problems and questions in biomedical and molecular sciences.
  3. Apply research-based theories to solve problems related to biochemistry and molecular biology.
  4. Use simulations and computer-based multimedia to model and mimic the behavior of biomolecules when conditions can be controlled in an in vitro-type experimental situation, and within the context of simulated cells.
  5. Collaborate with peers through problem-based learning activities and peer review to analyze and solve case studies related to course content, and to articulate clear solutions to these problems individually and as a group.

Assessment 1 – Online Quizzes (4) (20%)

Assessment 2 – Problem-based learning group activities (4) (20%)

Assessment 3 – Research proposal (20%)

Assessment 4 – Final Proctored Exam (40%)

9–10 hours a week (108–120 hours per term).

Required Materials

Molecular Biology: Principles and Practice, 2nd edition + LaunchPad (BioPortal)