Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests and procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: ONPS5665C

Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests and procedures

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5282 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Biotechnology)

Course Contact: Amberlee Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8053

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Rahel Leivenzon

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

MSL974006A Perform biological procedures

MSL973007A Perform microscopic examination

MSL973004A Perform aseptic techniques

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:

MSL975014A Perform molecular biology tests and procedures


1. Interpret and schedule test requirements

Performance Criteria:

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


2. Receive and handle samples

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Log and label samples according to enterprise procedures
2.2. Record sample description, compare with specification and note and report discrepancies
2.3. Store samples in accordance with enterprise and test method requirements
2.4. Maintain chain of custody, traceable to the worker, for all samples


3. Prepare equipment and reagents

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Set up equipment/instrumentation in accordance with test method requirements and perform pre-use and safety checks
3.2. Select and collect reagents in accordance with test method requirements
3.3. Prepare and label reagents in accordance with test method requirements


4. Extract, verify and manipulate biomolecules

Performance Criteria:

4.1. Produce/extract biomolecules from samples using appropriate isolation methods
4.2. Prevent contamination of samples by unwanted biomolecules
4.3. Recognise the presence of common inhibitors of biomolecular reactions and take corrective action
4.4. Quantify and qualify biomolecular yields from purified extractions
4.5. Use appropriate techniques to prepare and test a range of biomolecular samples
4.6. Use controls and reference standards to confirm the integrity of biomolecular sample preparation and procedures


5. Process data

Performance Criteria:

5.1. Record test data noting atypical observations
5.2. Ensure results are consistent with reference standards and expectations
5.3. Record and report results in accordance with test methods
5.4. Interpret trends in data and/or results and report out of specification or atypical results promptly to appropriate personnel
5.5. Troubleshoot basic procedure, reagent or equipment problems which have led to atypical data or results


6. Maintain a safe work environment

Performance Criteria:

6.1. Use established safe work practices and personal protective equipment to ensure personal safety and that of other laboratory personnel
6.2. Minimise the generation of wastes
6.3. Ensure the safe disposal of wastes, including hazardous wastes and tested samples
6.4. Clean, care for and store equipment and reagents


7. Report and communicate results

Performance Criteria:

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

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

laboratory experiments,
activities sheets,
DNA simulations,
online activities

Teaching Schedule

Date week Topic Prac
8/2 1 Cell structure, DNA Structure, Cell Cycle, Cell Division,
Mitosis Practical
15/2 2 Cancer and Nucleic acids. Kiwifruit DNA extraction
22/2 3 DNA replication Wheat germ DNA extraction and analysis
29/2 4 Molecular biology techniques and applications to forensics. PCR-based Alu-Human DNA Typing
7/3 5 Transcription & Translation  VNTR PCR
14/3 6 More on VNTRs and STRs  VNTR Electrophoresis
21/3 7  Revision  
28/3   Easter break  
4/4  8 exam  
11/4 9 Conjugation and Transforamtion RT PCR
18/4 10 Transformation pGLO Transformation & Interpret RT PCR
25/4 11 Viruses, protoplasts, biolostics, restriction enzymes Blue/White Cloning of a DNA Fragment
2/5 12 Host cells, plasmids and vectors Mini prep pUC8 practical
9/5 13 Screening recombinants. Replica plating, X-gal vectors, cont-phage and cosmids, YAC, BAC, phagemids Qiagen minprep
16/5 14    Plasmid digestion and electrophoresis practical.
23/5 15 Revision  
30/5 16 Exam  

   Semester 2 schedule to follow         



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Tortora, Funke & Case Microbiology An Introduction, Pearson/ Benjamin Cummings

Overview of Assessment

Asessment may include the following:

Written Tests

Practical reports



Assessment Tasks

Semester 1 Assessment      

Assessment 1: Wheat germ DNA extraction Practical Report
Worth 15%
Due via Turnitin 11.59pm 23/2/16

Assessment 2: Experimental Controls Assignment Part A
Worth 10%
Due via Turnitin 11.59pm 15/3/16

Experimental Controls Assignment Part B
Worth 10%
Due via Turnitin 11.59pm 12/4/16

Assessment 3: Mid-Semester exam
Worth 25%
Week 8
Assessment 4: Transformation  Practical Report
Worth 15%
Due via Turnitin 11.59pm 10/5/15

 Assessment 5: End of Semester Exam
Worth 25%
Week 16

Assessment 6: Log book completed and observed safe lab practise 
signed off after each lab class
marked as S (Satisfactory) or NYS (Not yet satisfactory)
Submitted in either weeks 14 or 15 depending on when the last prac is completed.



Semester 2 Assessment

Assessment 1: Vegie People Practical Report
Worth 15%

Assessment 2: Mid-semester exam
Worth 25%

Assessment 3: Research Presentation – the technical and ethical facets of Biotechnology
Worth 20%

Assessment 4: Microarray Practical Report
Worth 15%
Must attend class and submit Prac report

Assessment 5: End of semester exam
Worth 25%

Assessment 6: Log book completed and observed safe lab practise
signed off after each lab class
marked as S (Satisfactory) or NYS (Not yet satisfactory)
Submitted in either weeks 14 or 15 depending on when the last prac is completed.




Assessment Matrix

Other Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilises graded assessment
CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (60 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (50 – 59%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (0 – 49%)
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

Assessment Information

  •  To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exams, pracs, and assignments etc.) For example, if there are two exams you need to have an average of 50% to pass and you also need to have passed the other assessment types (average of 50% for assignments/practicals). You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the exams but fail the prac component).
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension (see below) will not be corrected.
  • APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF ASSESSABLE WORK - A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available online at least 24 hours before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.
  • For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination
  • If you miss a practical session that is to be written up as a prac report you must provide evidence (such as a medical certificate, funeral notice) to the teacher. You will then be given a replacement prac to report on. Reports cannot be written using another student’s results.



Course Overview: Access Course Overview