Università degli Studi di Perugia

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Teaching: Molecular biology

Degree CourseDegree course in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences [L-25] D. M. 270/2004
CurriculumBIOTECNOLOGIE - Regulations 2014
PrerequisitesInformation currently not available - Italian version
Assessment methods

Oral exam.

Examinations' grades statistics

AVERAGE MARK (7 exams) = 25.3 ±1.8 / 30.

Examinations' dates

JUNE 2014:            3 - 23
JULY 2014:               1
SEPTEMBER 2014:   1 - 29
JANUARY 2015:      5 - 30
FEBRUARY 2015:      27

Recommended optional courses

Plant Breeding and Genetics (year 1); Biochemistry (year 2).

LecturerAlessandro Datti
TypeActivities in similar or in additional educational areas
Implementation proceduresConventional
Course content

General topics (40%): Structure and function of nucleic acids. Genome organization in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. Repeated sequences, satellite DNA, minisatellites, VNTRs, and corresponding applications in forensic science. Mytochondrial and chloroplast DNA. Viruses and viroids. Plasmids. Supercoiling and packaging of bacterial DNA. DNA packaging in eukaryotic nuclei. Histones, nucleosomes and chromatin remodeling. DNA sequencing: Sanger method, pyrosequencing, and general description of second- and third-generation sequencing. Biomedical applications of DNA sequencing: diagnostic and functional significance of SNPs. Essential concepts in metagenomics, functional genomics, farmacogenomics and personalized medicine. DNA methylation and epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Classes of RNA and corresponding functions. Proteins: structure and functions. Systems biology.

Molecular mechanisms of the living cell (25%): Cell division and DNA replication. Mutations and DNA repair. Homologous recombination and site-specific recombination. Gene transcription, RNA processing and regulation of transcription. Regulation at a post-transcriptional level. Protein: synthesis, post-translational modifications and degradation.

Experimental procedures (35%): Manipulation of nucleic acids. Cloning vectors (plasmids, lambda phage, cosmids, YAC and BAC artificial chromosomes) and gene cloning. Cloning by subtractive hybridization. Expression vectors, production, purification and characterization of recombinant proteins. PCR formats and applications: inverse, RAPD, RT-PCR, differential display, RACE. Fluorescent probes. PCR-based diagnostic applications. Analysis of gene expression: Northern blotting, real-time RT-PCR, DNA microarrays, and RNA-seq. DNA-protein interactions (EMSA, DNA footprinting, and ChIP-on-chip technology). Analysis of proteins and proteomics tools: monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, Western blotting, mass spectrometry, enzyme assays, analysis of protein-protein interactions (phage display and yeast two-hybrid system), protein arrays. 


This undergraduate program fosters key concepts in Molecular Biology, including basic chemical and biological principles to understand how living organism function at a molecular level, common overlaps with genetics, biochemistry and cell biology, an in-depth exploration of mechanistic events related to major cellular processes, the analysis of recent technological and methodological advances, and current objectives in applied research and biotechnology. Topics are not presented as standalone matters, but are shown in a dynamic context with the idea to facilitate appreciation of scopes, as well as conceptual and practical connections with other areas of study, for example between genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. This course is offered to students with good undergraduate training in biochemistry and genetics. Students are expected to gain necessary knowledge to successfully tackle more advances courses in life sciences and biotechnology. 

Mode of delivery

face-to-face lectures.

Recommended reading
  • Biologia Molecolare - principi e tecniche (Michael M Cox, Jennifer A. Doudna, Michael O'Donnell) - Zanichelli (2013) (ITALIAN);
  • Genetica molecolare umana (Tom Strachan, Andrew Read) - Zanichelli (2012) (ITALIAN);
  • Molecular Biology - Second Edition (David P. Clark, Nanette J. Pazdernik) - Elsevier (2013) (ENGLISH). 
Learning outcomes
  • knowledge of key molecular mechanisms associated with living cell functionality;
  • theoretical knowledge of the most common procedures employed in molecular biology and their application in scientific research and biotechnology;
  • critical analytical ability;
  • language mastery in scientific topics.
Teaching period

February 23 - May 22  (2015).

Teaching calendar

To be decided in January 2015.

Teaching support

The instructor will provide notes, slides and articles. Test and review sessions will be offered during the course.  

Teaching languageItalian

Optional but strongly recommended.


Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences (Borgo XX Giugno , 74 - 06121 Perugia).

Individual study
Integration to teaching activity
Alessandro Datti
PeriodII semester
NotesInformation currently not available - Italian version
Consulting hours

Weekdays, time to be communicated by email messaging (alessandro.datti@unipg.ca).

Consulting location

When classes are ongoing: classrooms of the Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences (Borgo XX Giugno, 74). Alternative availability to be communicated by email messaging (alessandro.datti@unipg.ca).

ECTS code2014 - 1572

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