cod. 1009786

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
- Lucas MORON DALLA TOR - Federica Maria Angela RIZZI
Academic discipline
Biologia molecolare (BIO/11)
"struttura, funzione e metabolismo delle molecole d'interesse biologico"
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
course unit

Integrated course unit module: Molecular Biology, Genetics & Genomics

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student should have acquired sufficient knowledge and information to understand, critically discuss and practically apply the molecular basis of the mechanisms of transmission of genetic information.


Basic concepts of cell biology.
Basic concepts of general and organic chemistry.

Course unit content

The course provides basic knowledge of the molecular aspects of the transmission of genetic information. The course initially introduces the basics of cell replication and cell cycle, then moves on to describe the structural and functional characteristics of nucleic acids. The lectures continue with an in-depth description of DNA replication processes. Then the concepts of DNA damage/mutation, its implications for human health, and the molecular mechanisms of damage repair are introduced. In the second part of the course, the molecular mechanisms associated with the expression of a gene and its regulatory mechanisms are addressed through the detailed description of RNA transcription, pre-mRNA maturation and protein translation.

Full programme

From Darwin to Mendel to the discovery of the transforming principle: bases of the transmission of genetic information.
Nucleic acids: composition and structure.
3D structure of DNA, DNA topology: coiling and supercoiling.
Histones, chromatin, chromosomes.
Basics of epigenetic modifications of DNA and histones.
DNA replication: characteristics of DNA polymerases, replication mechanism.
Drugs that interfere with the replication process.
Replication forks, replisome assembly, replication coupling mechanisms.
Origin of replication, mechanism of origins control in eukaryotes.
Termination of replication.
The ends of linear chromosomes: telomerase.
DNA damage and mutations.
Mechanisms of damage repair: direct, indirect, double-strand break repair mechanisms.
RNA transcription in eukaryotes: characteristics of RNA polymerases, formation of the initiation complex, elongation, termination of transcription.
Characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic promoters.
Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes.
RNA maturation: capping, splicing, tailing, editing.
Notes on RNA interference.
From RNA to proteins: mechanisms and enzymes of messenger RNA translation. The genetic code.
Translation of messenger mRNA: molecules and enzymes involved.
t-RNA, ribosomes, aminoacyl-tRNAsynthetase
Stages of translation: initiation, elongation, termination.
Drugs that interfere with the protein translation process.


JD Watson et al. Molecular Biology of the Gene. Person, 7h revised edition .
Lodish et al. “Molecular Cell Biology” , W.H.Freeman & Co Ltd, 8th Revised edition
Clark et al. “Molecular Biology” Academic Cell Press, 3rd edition

Teaching methods

Lectures will be held on-site. Teaching methods will include movies and 3D simulation which aids the understanding of molecular interactions and mechanisms; web sources and bibliography references will be suggested.
Supporting material will be available on the specifically student-reserved platform (Elly)

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists in a written test that contains 10 multiple choice questions and 2 open questions on Molecular Biology topics. Time allowed for the test is 45 minutes. Each positive answer contributes with 1 point to the final grade (0-30/30). There is no penalty for incorrect answers. For the definition of the final mark, the score obtained in Molecular Biology is averaged with the score reported by the student in Genetics .

Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

Other information

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