Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests/procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2009

Course Code: ONPS5212C

Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests/procedures

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5183 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Biotechnology)

Course Contact: Dinah van Ruyven

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4287

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 150

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

PMLTEST407A - Perform biological procedures.

Course Description

This unit of competency covers the ability to isolate, purify, verify and manipulate biomolecules and their products. This work requires close attention to working with small volumes, multiple-step procedures and prevention of contamination. Personnel are required to apply a wide range of molecular biology tests and procedures.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

PMLTEST518A Perform molecular biology tests/procedures


Extract, verify and manipulate biomolecules

Performance Criteria:

1 Produce/extract biomolecules from samples using appropriate isolation methods
2 Prevent contamination of samples by unwanted biomolecules
3 Recognise the presence of common inhibitors of biomolecular reactions and take corrective action
4 Quantify and qualify biomolecule yields from purified extractions
5 Use appropriate techniques to prepare and test a range of biomolecular samples
6 Use controls and reference standards to confirm the integrity of biomolecular sample preparation and procedures


Interpret and schedule test requirements

Performance Criteria:

1 Review test request to identify samples to be tested, test method and equipment/instruments involved
2 Identify hazards and enterprise control measures associated with the sample, preparation methods, reagents and/or equipment


Maintain a safe work environment

Performance Criteria:

1 Use established safe work practices and personal protective equipment to ensure personal safety and that of other laboratory personnel
2 Minimise the generation of wastes
3 Ensure the safe disposal of wastes, including hazardous wastes and tested samples
4 Clean, care for and store equipment and reagents


Prepare equipment and reagents

Performance Criteria:

1 Set up equipment/instrumentation in accordance with test method requirements and perform pre-use and safety checks
2 Select and collect reagents in accordance with test method requirements
3 Prepare and label reagents in accordance with test method requirements


Process data

Performance Criteria:

1 Record test data noting atypical observations
2 Ensure results are consistent with reference standards and expectations
3 Record and report results in accordance with test methods
4 Interpret trends in data and/or results and report ‘out of specification’ or atypical results promptly to appropriate personnel
5 Troubleshoot basic procedure, reagent or equipment problems which have led to atypical data or results


Receive and handle samples

Performance Criteria:

1 Log and label samples according to enterprise procedures
2 Record sample description, compare with specification and note and report discrepancies
3 Store samples in accordance with enterprise and test method requirements
4 Maintain chain of custody, traceable to the worker, for all samples


Report and communicate results

Performance Criteria:

1 Record approved data into enterprise system
2 Keep accurate, traceable work records to protect the enterprise’s intellectual property rights
3 Maintain confidentiality and security of enterprise information and laboratory data
4 Maintain equipment logs in accordance with enterprise procedures.

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Practical exercises, lectures, discussions, class activities, group work and peer teaching

Teaching Schedule

DatePracTheory topic
9/2no classRevision of cell structure
DNA structure
The Cell cycle, Cell division
16/2Kiwifruit DNA extractionGenetics of cancer
23/2Wheatgerm DNA extractionDNA replication, PCR intro
2/3finish wheat germ, Alu PCRPCR applications, forensics
9/3labour day, no classEukaryotic transcription
16/3Gel for Alu PCR, VNTR PCR prac DNA translation
23/3Gel for VNTR PCRrevision
20/3exam week 
6/4Sequencing theory, no pracEaster break
13/4Easter break Transcription control, Lac operon, mutations
20/4Conjugation theory, no prac Transformation transduction
Intro to Rec DNA
27/4Transformation prac blue green proteins Viruses, protoplasts, biolostics
Restriction enzymes
4/5Biorad kit-restriction enzymes, lambda DNA
Gel lambda DNA,
 Host cells, vectors- plasmids, pBR322
11/5pUC8 transformation prac  pUC 18, screening recombinants-replica plating & X-gal Vectors cont-phage & cosmids
18/5Miniprep pUC8 Vectors cont- YAC, BAC, phagemids
25/5Digestion of extracted plasmid, gel,  Ti plasmid, presentations
1/6presentations, no prac revision
8/6end semester exams 
  Semester 2 program to follow 

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Human Heredity: Principles & Issues 8th Ed Cummings,M.R. Brookes/Cole  


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessments for this course typically consist of:
• Class activities
• Assignments
• Presentations
• Exam

Assessment Tasks

4 tests @ 12.5% = 50%

6 prac reports @ 5% = 30%

2 assignments @ 10% = 20%

Safe performance in laboratory activities

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview