The discovery of the structure and role of DNA and the unravelling of the genetic code has led, over the last 50 years, to an explosion in our understanding of organisms and how they work. At the forefront of this revolution came gene cloning or genetic engineering, terms that describe a range of techniques by which we can manipulate DNA. Milestones such as the sequencing of the human genome have led to a shift in the way in which we look at living things and have given rise to a whole family of new disciplines like genomics and transcriptomics where we are able to take a holistic approach to biology.
There are few aspects of modern biology that have not been affected by the advent of molecular approaches in some way, including areas which might not be expected to have a molecular component, such as ecology and animal behaviour. This second year module builds on what you learned in first year genetics (BIO145) and you will find that the techniques and approaches introduced in this module provide a sound theoretical basis on which teaching in the second and third year can build in all areas of biology. The second part of the module uses examples to show you how molecular biology is applied in medicine, in the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, forensics, and in many other areas of applied science and technology.
Gene Cloning is a problem based subject; in lectures you will be introduced to the idea of applying the techniques you have learned about in a range of situations. Workshops allow you to develop these problem solving and data handling skills further and in your practical classes you will have the opportunity to put into practice what you have learned by carrying out a basic gene cloning experiment.