Summer 2019 - MBB 331 D100

Molecular Biology (4)

Class Number: 3129

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Tue, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Thu, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 14, 2019
    Wed, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 231, and BISC 202, with a minimum grade of C.



The study of DNA and RNA in relation to gene structure and expression: DNA replication and the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and higher organisms. Introduction to recombinant DNA and cloning theory; natural vector structures and recombinant vector construction.


Molecular biology is a revolution that has transformed the life sciences over the last half century and continues to advance rapidly, bringing with it profound implications for the future of biology, medicine, and agriculture. Our look at molecular biology will extend from the early history and basic principles through to recent developments and future directions. In our consideration of the current status of molecular biology, the emphasis will be placed on examining recent papers in primary scientific journals. Textbooks can only supply information that is current up to several years ago, and we must consider the primary literature to learn about recent advances. Studying the primary literature is also the best way to understand how research in molecular biology is carried out and how the science moves forward. The tutorial project is designed to familiarize you with reading and evaluating a research paper. You will choose a recent paper from any area of modern molecular biology and do a short oral presentation together with a one page summary of the paper. Oral presentations will be followed by a short question and discussion period.

Lecture Topics:

  • Introduction: Overview of molecular biology and its history
  • Structure and function of nucleic acids
  • Recombinant DNA methods
  • Replication, recombination and repair
  • Prokaryotic gene organization, expression and regulation
  • Bacterial viruses
  • Eukaryotic gene organization, expression and regulation
  • Special topics - to be arranged, but may include functional and personal genomics


  • 3 midterms (15% each) 45%
  • Tutorial (10% presentation, 5% participation) 15%
  • On-line quizzes 10%
  • Final exam 30%



Molecular Biology: Principles and Practice, 2nd edition, by Michael M. Cox, Jennifer A. Doudna, Michael O'Donnell, W.H. Freeman & Company, 2015.  eText also available.
ISBN: 9781464126147

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.