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 BCHM 218 Molecular Biology, 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%)

Required Materials

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

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for BCHM 218 Molecular Biology, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.