Life Sciences

The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Life

Module code: C7149
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Laboratory, Tutorial *
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

Throughout the diversity of life, from slime moulds to elephants, organisms are; built from cells; function by the expression of genes from DNA to proteins and cellular process via RNA intermediates; and achieve fitness by the flow of genetic information from one generation to the next.

Some organisms are unicellular, while others contain millions of cells that may be specialised to carry out particular functions in the organism as a whole.

However, the molecular and cellular processes of life are remarkably conserved and govern biological systems at all levels of complexity, so a knowledge of the essential principles of cell and molecular biology is important for any biologist, ecologist or zoologist.

In this module, you will gain an introduction to the essential concepts and components of molecular and cell biology, and cover key principles of molecular biology including:

  • the chemistry of life
  • nucleic acids
  • DNA replication and repair
  • laboratory techniques.

You also cover fundamentals of cell structure and function, including comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, cell organelles, cell cycles, and microscopy techniques.

This module is designed to give anyone who is primarily interested in whole-organism biology the knowledge of essential principles of cell and molecular biology to underpin your future studies.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show knowledge of the essential principles of molecular biology and cell biology, and their application in zoology, ecology and conservation
  • Carry out a variety of laboratory methods to study molecules and cells
  • Evaluate and interpret molecular and cell biology information and data, and the appropriateness of different approaches for solving problems in zoology, ecology and conservation
  • Communicate the results of practical work accurately and reliably, and use structured and coherent arguments to explain their understanding of topics in molecular and cell biology