Department of Molecular Biology

College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources


Maintenance and flow of genetic information: A molecular perspective. MOLB 4660—22512; MOLB 5660--22513

Prerequisites:   MOLB 3000 (Introduction to Molecular Biology) or MOLB 4610 (General Biochemistry II)

Instructor Information: 

Instructor: Jordanka Zlatanova, PhD, DrSc, Professor
Phone: 766 2982
Office: MB/AS 223
Office Hours: Wed 11 am - 12 am

Course Description:

The focus of the course will be on current research concerning the maintenance and flow of genetic information - replication, recombination, repair, transcription, and translation.  Students will be exposed to new knowledge of DNA and protein structure and function, organization of the genome, gene expression, and principles of contemporary experimental methods.


The course is designed to provide graduate and senior level undergraduate students with state-of-the-art knowledge of the main concepts and knowledge base of Molecular Biology.  The lectures will be highly interactive, and will require attention and creative thinking on the part of the students.  The new concepts will be illustrated with appropriate examples from recent experimental publications.

Text(s) and Readings:

Genes IX, Benjamin Lewin, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Ninth Edition.
ISBN: 0763740632
Optional text: Molecular Biology of the Cell, Bruce Alberts, etc., Garland Science, Fourth Edition.
ISNB 0-8153-3218-1
ISNB 0-8153-4072-9

Course Requirements/Assignments:

Each graduate student will be assigned a recent research paper from the literature to present in front of the class.  These presentations will take place during the last week of class, which will be entirely dedicated to presentations and discussions.  Only graduate students will have such assignments.  Otherwise, all requirements will be exactly the same.

Grading Standards:
Graduate students:
Midterm and final
40% each
Presentation of paper
Active class participation
Undergraduate students:
Midterm and final
45% each
Active class participation

Attendance/Participation Policy:

I do not believe in forced attendance, especially for advanced level university students.  However, since I intend to create a very special course (for which I will be writing my own textbook, to be published by Pearson Benjamin Cummings),  the textbook suggested will only serve as a rough guide to the material.  There will be significant deviations from that textbook, and lots of discussions and examples from the recent literature.  I think it will be in the best interest of the students to attend the lectures as much as possible.  Because active class participation contributes to 10% of the grade, attendance will clearly affect this portion of the grade.

Course Outline:

The cell: prokaryotes, Archaea, eukaryotes
Basics of Mendelian genetics
Nucleic acids and protein structure
  • DNA structure beyond the B-form double helix (alternative non-B structures and their functional significance); DNA superhelicity and its physiological relevance.
  • RNA molecules
  • Proteins, protein motifs, protein folding.  Protein post-synthetic modifications and their roles
  • Protein-NA interactions
The genome and its organization; Chromatin: structure and dynamics; Chromosomes
The proteome; protein interaction networks
Concepts of the major methods used to study nucleic acids, proteins, and their complexes; the advent of single-molecule biology
Maintenance of the genetic information:
  • Replication
  • Recombination
  • Repair
Flow of genetic information:
  • Transcription; Regulation of transcription
  • Translation

The instructor may make changes to the syllabus as the course proceeds.  If necessary, these changes will be announced in class.

Contact Us

Department of Molecular Biology

University of Wyoming

Department #3944

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3300

Fax: (307) 766-5098


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