Course Title: Perform molecular biology tests and procedures

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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

Perform molecular biology tests and procedures Teacher

9925 4723

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

- Practicals and report writing

- work sheets

- class discussions

- forensic analysis

- case studies

Teaching Schedule

For Semester 1,

Teaching Schedule Classes will be delivered over 16 weeks for 5 hours per week.
The topics/activities covered during this time will be as follows:

9/2 1 Cell structure, DNA Structure, Cell Cycle, Cell Division, Mitosis.
16/2 2 Nucleic acids.
23/2 3 DNA replication.
2/3 4 4 Molecular biology techniques and applications to forensics.
9/3 5 Transcription and Translation (No prac. due to Labour Day)
16/3 6 Revision
23/3 7 Exam
30/3 * Easter
6/4 8 More on VNTRs and STRs
13/4 9 VNTR Electrophoresis
20/4 10 Conjugation and Transformation
27/4 11 Transformation pGLO Transformation
4/5 12 Viruses, protoplasts, biolostics, restriction enzymes.
11/5 13 Host Cells 
18/5 14 Screening recombinants. Replica plating, X-gal vectors, cont-phage and cosmids, YAC, BAC, phagemids.
25/5 15 Revision
01/6 16 Exam

Semester 2 schedule to follow

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Powerpoint Presentations, animations and worksheets will be provided Online

Overview of Assessment

Asessment may include the following:

Written Tests

Practical reports



Assessment Tasks

Semester 1
Assessment 1
• Wheat germ DNA extraction Practical Report
• Worth 15%
• Due 12 noon 11/3/15

Assessment 2
• Experimental Controls Assignment Part A
• Worth 15%
• Due 12 noon 16/3/15

• Experimental Controls Assignment Part B
• Worth 15%
• Due 12 noon 18/5/15

Assessment 3
• Mid-semester exam
• Worth 15%
• Due the week beginning 23/3/15

Assessment 4
• VNTR Practical Report
• Worth 15%
• Due 12 noon 27/4/15

Assessment 5
• End of semester exam
• Worth 15%
• Due the week beginning 1/6/15

Assessment 6
• Log book completed and safe lab practise adhered to
• marked each lab class and mark finalised at end of semester
• marked as S (Satisfactory) or NYS (Not yet satisfactory)

Semester 2 assessments to follow

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

  • All assessment types must be passed (exams, prac, and assignments etc.). For example, if there are two tests you need to have an average of 50% to pass. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the tests but fail the prac component).
  • Attendance at practical classes is compulsory. A minimum of 80% attendance is required to pass this course. If you are sick you should submit a medical certificate to 6th floor office addressed to the Program Coordinator
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension 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, or emailed to the Coordinator (
  • Students requiring extensions longer than 7 days must apply for Special Consideration (see the ‘Help me’ link in blackboard, via myRMIT studies or 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 (e.g. medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.
  • If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview