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MOLECULAR GENETICS

             
Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13B027 6th 4 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 5 6,5
Aims:
 
 

The course provides in-depth knowledge in basic and advanced Genetics, which complements that of the 3rd Semester course 'Genetics'. It analyzes topics in Genetics that complement those taught in the compulsory 3rd Semester course 'Genetics' and are included in acclaimed introductory Genetics textbooks. Additionally, it introduces state-of-the-art information in teaching and seminars.

The laboratory practicals introduce experiments in the areas of genetic engineering, horizontal gene transfer, transcriptional regulation, genomic analysis, and the use of marker genes for molecular species discrimination. Students will become familiar with the relevant experimentation and adept at using sequence analysis platforms.

Seminars topics are based on subjects that complement the main teaching course. Students who choose to present a seminar topic will learn how to recognize the most thorough and acclaimed articles, compile the information and present it in a concise and meaningful way. The writing of the accompanying essay follows requirements concerning standard scientific paper writing.

 
Objectives:
 
 

Knowledge: At the end of the course students should be familiar with topics relating to the nature, organization and expression of the genetic material, to basic prokaryotic and viral genetics, to horizontal gene transfer, recombination and mapping, to transposable genetic elements, to extra-chromosomal and cytoplasmic genetics, to gene regulation and epigenetic phenomena, to basic developmental genetics, to modern genetic and genomic technologies and applications, to mutagenesis, DNA damage and repair, and, lastly, to mutation-driven evolutionary genetics.

Skills: At the end of the course, and having assimilated knowledge pertaining to introductory Genetics, students should be familiar with all concepts of basic and contemporary Genetics. They should have developed skills in analytical and synthetic thinking, genetic problem-solving, experimentation, and interpretation of experimental results. They should know how to carry out bibliography searches and database searches. Lastly, they should be able to integrate information on any given subject promptly and succinctly, in order to give short talks and write short essays on the subject.

Abilities: At the end of the course students should have gained knowledge and skills described above. They will be in position to implement these in yet other courses with biomolecular content that are offered in the under- and postgraduate program of studies, in science–based activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences, etc), and in any future direction of studies and career pursuit in the molecular life sciences.

 
Lectures:
 
 

Horizontal gene transfer and genetic recombination in bacteria and phages: a) Conjugation: Molecular mechanisms of DNA transfer by conjugation, the role of plasmids (the example of F), types, structure and organization of plasmids, mating incompatibility, mating repression – derepression, helped conjugation. b) Transformation: Molecular transformation mechanisms, kinetics and transformation techniques, cell competence. c) Transduction: Generalized, specialized and abortive transduction, transducing phages (the example of λ), the genetic basis of lysogeny, molecular mechanisms of immunity, phage therapy. Genetic mapping and strain engineering using HGT techniques.

Prokaryotic and eukaryotic transposable elements: Historical data, bacterial, maize, drosophila and human elements, molecular mechanisms and regulation of transposition, eukaryotic retroelements and retroviruses, role of transposons in genome rearrangements, structure and function.

Extrachromosomal (cytoplasmic) inheritance: Methods of detection, generation and isolation of organellar mutations, circular genomic DNA mapping, structure-function-organization of mtDNA and cpDNA, recombination systems, use in population genetics, fingerprinting and phylogeny with the use of molecular markers, the endosymbiotic theory.

Gene regulation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms - Epigenetics: Analysis of gene expression regulation via cis and trans regulatory elements, topology, and epigenetic effects on the genetic material (study of prototypical models).

Developmental Genetics models in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: indicative models governing differentiation or aberration of, at the molecular genetics level.

Genetic engineering: Historical background, isolation of genomic and vector DNA, mapping, cloning and expression of genes, creation and manipulation of gene libraries, gene detection,  amplification and sequencing technologies, modern applications in single-gene or high-throughput expression studies, gene replacement or deletion, transgenic technology.

Genomics: Principles in structural, comparative and functional genomics.

Molecular mechanisms in mutation generation and repair: a) DNA Damage; spontaneous mutations, the role of polymerases, environmental mutagens. b) Molecular mechanisms of DNA damage repair: direct, excision-driven, double-strand break repair, recombination repair, and repair via global inductions.

Genetics and Evolution: Mutations and genetic diversity, allelic frequencies and changes of, evolution rates, speciation, phylogeny.

Student Seminars (4 hours): Oral presentations on current research topics that fall within the course content and extend to areas such as synthetic biology, systems biology, metagenomics, molecular host-pathogen or symbiont interactions, microbiome research, microbe- or viral-vector gene therapy, new technologies, etc.

 
Practicals:
 
 

1. Molecular cloning – 2. Sequencing and genomic analysis – 3. Transcriptional regulation – 4. Horizontal gene transfer – 5. Molecular discrimination of species using gene markers

 
Instructors:
 
  Lectures: K. M. Pappas, Associate Professor of Genetics – Molecular Microbial Genetics (Coordinator) - Kl. Lamnissou, Associate Professor of Genetics - Human Molecular Genetics - V. N. Kouvelis, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Biotechnology 
 
  Practicals: K. M. Pappas, Associate Professor of Genetics – Molecular Microbial Genetics -  V. N. Kouvelis, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Biotechnology - Dr. Sotiris Amillis (Laboratory Teaching Staff) - Dr. Maria Sarika (Laboratory Teaching Staff) -Dr. Claudia Gementzi (Laboratory Teaching Staff)
 
Notes:
 
 

Prerequisites Courses: Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry

The course is offered to Erasmus students: Teaching in Greek language - Exams in English language.

The evaluation process is carried out in Greek language (there is the possibility of written exams in English for Erasmus students). The average grade of Laboratory Exercises contributes 25% to the final, total, course grade. Students that choose to present a seminar receive 15% of their final grade via the seminar (presentation and essay) and 85% from the cumulative syllabus material and laboratory practicals’ grade.

 
Contact:
 
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Ass. Prof. K. M. Pappas at: Tel: (+30) 210 727 4340 - e-mail: kmpappas[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr