Fall 2024 - MBB 331 D100

Molecular Biology (4)

Class Number: 1410

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2024: Tue, Thu, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.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 concerned with understanding how information flows between the essential macromolecules of DNA, RNA and protein. The fundamental aspects of this 'central dogma' are very ancient and are encoded within all living things on this planet. Humanities increasingly detailed understanding of molecular biology has revolutionized not only our understanding of evolution, but has also led to the development of powerful new macromolecular research tools to understand and engineer biology in the laboratory. As such, the field of molecular biology is in a period of sustained and exponential growth.

            Our look at molecular biology will extend from its early history and basic principles to recent developments. We will use Cox, Doudna and O'Donnell as a primary textbook, and enhance the curriculum with material from recent scientific papers. Studying primary literature is one of the best ways to understand how research in molecular biology is carried out and how science moves forward. The tutorial project in this course is therefore designed to familiarize you with reading and evaluating recent scientific literature: You will choose a current topic from an area of modern molecular biology and write a short essay that will be discussed in tutorial.


  • Midterm exams 30%
  • Online quizzes 10%
  • Tutorials 10%
  • Term paper 20%
  • 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


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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:  caladmin@sfu.ca)

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.