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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/76]  BIOTECHNOLOGY [76/20 - Ord. 2018]  Farmaceutico 8 72


Molecular Biology Module
The course aims to provide the student with knowledge and basic skills in molecular biology, in relation to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

Knowledge and understanding skills:
The aim of the course is to provide the student with knowledge of the structural aspects of nucleic acids and the molecular mechanisms underlying the processes of replication, repair, transcription, regulation of gene expression and DNA translation in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms . Such knowledge provides the basis for the study of biological disciplines following the course such as Genetics and Microbiology. The student will also gain knowl
edge on the different methods applied to Molecular Biology

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding.
The knowledge gained during the course will provide basic skills for the experimental use of methodologies in the field of biomolecular and biotechnological sciences

Making judgements:
The lessons will be set so that students can acquire the ability to critically evaluate the knowledge of the topics discussed in the lesson. The course also aims to stimulate the student autonomy in the critical evaluation of the data from the scientific literature and the experiences in the laboratory.

Communicative Skills:
Acquiring the ability to express clearly and scientifically appropriately the notions given in the course.

Learning ability:
The lessons will be set to stimulate the student to deepen and integrate the topics discussed to develop an appropriate degree of autonomy. The basic knowledge gained during the course also provides the tools to learn and deepen the various topics of Molecular Biology that represent a ever-changing discipline.


It is essential that the student possess basic knowledge in the fields of General Chemistry, Biology and Cytology. Furthermore, for an optimal understanding of the topics covered during the course it is important that the student has knowledge of structural biochemistry.

Preparatory course: Organic Chemistry


Lectures: 5 CFU (40 hours)

-NUCLEIC ACIDS. General concepts. Purine and pyrimidine, nucleotides structures, DNA and RNA structure. Alternative DNA secondary structures. Double helix and base-pairing according to Watson and Crick’s model, non canonical base pairing, modified bases.(2 hours)
-DNA TOPOLOGY DNA. Linking number, Tw and Wr. Negative and positive supercolis.Supercoiling density . Structural transitions of supercoiled DNA molecules.Structure and functions of DNA Topoisomerases (2 hours)
-GENES AND GENOMES ORGANIZATION. Genome structure in prokaryotes. Exon/intron structure of genes, pseudogenes, gene families, DNA repeats in eukaryotic genomes; The mitochondrial and chloroplast genome. Organization and structure of chromosomes. Histones, nucleosomes structure and chromatin organization. (3 hours)
-DNA REPLICATION. DNA replication in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Regulation of DNA replication in prokaryotes and eukariotes. The origins of replication in E. coli. and in S. Cerevisiae. Telomeres and telomerases.(5 hours)
-DNA DAMAGE AND REPAIR. Mutagenic agents. Direct, mismathch, excision repair systems. Repair systems of DNA double strand breaks. (2 hours)
-TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSCRIPTION REGULATORS IN PROKARYOTES. Prokaryotic RNA Polymerase and bacterial promoters. Polycistronic mRNA biosynthesis: start phase, lengthening, termination. Gene regulation in prokaryotes: Lac and Tryptophan operons. (4 hours)
-TRANSCRIPTION AND CONTROL OF GENE EXPRESSION IN EUKARYOTES. Eukaryotic RNA Polymerases and their promoters. Short-range and long-range regolatory elements. Transcription factors, DNA-binding domanis in trancription factors. Histonic modifications post-translational, histonic variants, chromatin remodelling complexes. DNA Methylation and gene expression. (7 hours)
-RNA MATURATION AND POST-TRANSCRIPTIONAL REGULATIONS. Maturation of rRNA, tRNA in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Maturation of eukaryotic mRNA: splicing, capping , poliadenylation. Alternative splicing, Autosplicing. RNA editing. Regulation of mRNA stability. RNA interference. (7 hours)
-TRANSLATION OF MOLECULAR INFORMATION: PROTEIN SYNTHESIS. Genetic code, tRNA and aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases. Ribosomes. Protein syntesis mechanisms in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.(2 hours)
-MOLECULAR BIOLOGY BASIC TECHNOLOGIES. Nucleic acids extraction methods and gel electrophoresis. Molecular Probes, Molecular Hybridization, Southern, Northern, Western Blotting, Restriction Enzymes, Gene Cloning Strategies.Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), DNA sequencing with Sanger method (6 hours)
DNA extraction, DNA quantization, PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA Sanger sequencing electropherograms.

Teaching Methods

The Molecular Biology module includes 72 hours of lectures and 24 hours of laboratory acitivities.

During the lectures, in which all the topics covered by the program will be addressed, slides made with Power Point and animations will be used for visualization and a greater understanding of the biomolecular mechanisms.
Based on the context conditions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, frontal teaching can also be delivered simultaneously in person and online (mixed teaching), so that it can be enjoyed in the university classrooms or remotely through lessons held in live streaming or recordings of the same available online.

At the end of the course, during the period in which the theoretical lessons relating to the methodologies are carried out, each student will have 12 hours of laboratory activities (nucleic acid extraction, preparation of a PCR reaction, electrophoretic run of DNA samples) and exercises with interactive exercises (design of primers for PCR, reading of DNA sequences from electropherogram)
On the basis of the context conditions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, online replacement activities may be provided with interactive exercises on the setting up of laboratory reactions and setting up of experiments in the field of molecular biology.

Verification of learning

During the assessment of the learning, which will take place through oral interview or written test in the presence or remotely using computer aids (Teams, Moodle), a final judgment will be established which will take into account various factors such as the quality of knowledge, the ability to expose the same clearly and with an appropriate use of scientific terminology, the ability to connect different topics logically organizing the exhibition discourse, the ability to synthesize.
Consequently, the judgment can be:
a) Sufficient (from 18/30 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates few acquired notions, superficial level, many gaps. modest expressive abilities, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; logical skills and consequentiality in connecting elementary level topics; poor synthesis ability and rather stunted graphic expression ability; poor interaction with the teacher during the interview.
b) Discreet (21/30 to 23/30)
The candidate demonstrates discreet acquisition of notions, but little depth, some gaps; expressive skills more than enough to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable command of scientific language; logical skills and consequentiality in the connection of subjects of moderate complexity; more than enough synthesis ability and acceptable graphic expression ability.
c) Good (24/30 to 26/30)
The candidate demonstrates a rather broad background of notions, moderate depth, with small gaps; satisfactory expressive skills and significant command of scientific language; dialogue skills and critical spirit clearly detectable; good synthesis and graphic expression skills more than acceptable.
d) Excellent (27/30 to 29/30)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive, well-researched knowledge base with marginal gaps; remarkable expressive skills and high command of scientific language; remarkable dialogue skills, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis; high synthesis and graphic expression skills.
e) Excellent (30/30)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive and in-depth knowledge of knowledge, any irrelevant gaps; high expressive skills and high command of scientific language; excellent dialogic ability, strong aptitude for making connections between different topics; excellent synthesis and great familiarity with the graphic expression.
The praise is attributed to candidates clearly above the average, and whose possible notional, expressive, conceptual, logical limits are altogether irrelevant.


Watson, Biologia Molecolare del Gene, Settima edizione, Ed. Zanichelli.
B.Lewin, Il gene X, Ed. Zanichelli.
Alberts, Biologia molecolare della cellula
Sesta edizione
F.Amaldi, Biologia Molecolare-III edizione, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana J.D.

More Information

Lectures and tutorials are supported by presentations and interactive animations.
Lecture materials used during lectures will be provided to students. Numerous Molecular Biology texts are available at the Central Library of the Biomedical Area of the University of Cagliari.

Questionnaire and social

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