Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests/procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2010

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


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, research assignments, group work and peer teaching

Teaching Schedule

WeekPrac (Monday)Theory (Thursday)
1No class
DNA revision- online quiz
Revision of cell structure
DNA structure
The Cell cycle,
Cell division
2Kiwifruit extractionGenetics of cancer
3Wheat germ extractionDNA replication, PCR intro
4Finish wheat germ extraction,
Alu PCR prac
PCR applications, forensics
5Labour DayTranscription
6Gel for Alu PCR,
DNA translation
7Gel for VNTR PCRSequencing theory
8MutationsEaster break
 Easter breakRevision
9Mid Sem ExamsMid Sem Exams
10Lac operon
Transformation transduction
Intro to Rec DNA
11pGloViruses, protoplasts, biolostics
Restriction enzymes
12Miniprep pUC8Host cells, vectors- plasmids
13Digestion of extracted plasmid, gel, Vectors cont-phage & cosmids
14Blue/White Cloning of a DNA Fragment and Assay of ß-galactosidaseVectors cont- YAC, BAC, phagemids
15Ti plasmidPresentations
17Queen’s Birthday & Exams 
1No classMeiosis
2Genetic BarleyChromosomes & sex determination
Chromosomal abnormalities
3Genetic Barley
Prac Human Genetics
X inactivation
Mendelian genetics 1
Mono hybrid cross
4Prac 2 Complete results
Prac 3 Barr bodies
Dihybrid crosses
Test cross
5Genetics of D.melanogasterCo dominance & incomplete dominance
Sex linked inheritance
Human genetics
6’Mendelian genetics 2 including statistics & probability (Chi Square)Pedigrees,
7Case studiesrevision
9Intro to Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA activity in computer lab
Linked genes
Crossing over
10Population genetics.
Hardy-Weinberg Principle
Applications of the Hardy- Weinberg
Transposable elements
 mid semester break 
11Genetically modified organismsInformation analysis about GMO’s
12GMO PCRDNA libraries
Screening techniques
Human Genome project
Micro arrays, Bioinformatics
14Internet activity: Computer assisted Sequence analysis Applications of biotech

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

11th Hour Introduction to Molecular Biology, Raineri, Deanna Available on EBL : Ebook Library


Cumming R. 2008, Human Heredity: Principles & Issues 7thed. Thomson, California USA
Barnum, S.R., 2005, Biotechnology An introduction 2nd ed. Thomson, California USA

Other Resources

Suggested Genetics/ Molecular biology Websites:
• Cold Spring Harbor Dolan DNA Learning Centre
• Biotechnology Online
• Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biointeractive

Overview of Assessment

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

Assessment Tasks

To pass this course you must pass all summative assessment tasks

Formative assessment:
• Online Quizzes
• Problem sheets/work sheets.
• Feedback and self-assessment in laboratory

Summative assessment:
• 2 Theory exams per semester : 50%
• 2 Prac reports per semester : 30%
• 1 Research assignment and/or presentation per semester : 20%

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentation. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.
It also occurs through enabling plagiarism, which is the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work. Please make sure you consider this carefully in completing all your work and assessments in this course and if you are unsure about whether you might have plagiarised, seek help from your teacher.

Students must attend 80% of practical classes to pass. Practical exercises will be chosen for presentation as formal reports. If they are not satisfactory, you will be given an opportunity to resubmit. If you are absent from a session nominated for a formal report and you have applied for special consideration, it is your responsibility to negotiate a replacement report with the teacher. You MUST submit the number of required reports in order to pass the subject.

Students are required to submit work on the due date at the School Office using the cover sheets provided. The work will be accepted through the School Office and you will receive a receipt which you should keep as proof of submission. Students must NOT submit work directly to the teacher.
Late submission of work will incur a penalty of 5% of the maximum mark per day unless Special Consideration is applied for in writing using the required form. Marks can be deducted until the minimum pass mark is reached, after which no further marks will be deducted. Work will not be accepted more than 1 week after the due date.
Any student who, because of illness or other circumstances beyond their control, has been prevented from attending a test, or whose performance in a test was affected by illness or other circumstances beyond their control may apply for Special Consideration. This must be done within 48 hours of the missed assessment/ assignment by lodging the appropriate form (available at the 6th floor office) with medical certificate or other supporting documentation at the Reception Office on Level 6, Building 51. Note: It is the policy of the School of Life and Physical Sciences NOT to AUTOMATICALLY PROVIDE SUPPLEMENTARY OR DEFERRED EXAMS. You will be advised of the outcome of your application for Special Consideration. The taking of Annual Leave does NOT constitute grounds for special consideration.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview