Molecular Biology C


The different molecular processes that ensure the viability of a cellular unit and the main molecular components that perform these functions will be taught in the curricular unit of Molecular Biology C.              

After the frequency of this discipline, which is focused on the processes through which the hereditary information in a cell unit is duplicated, and transmitted to its offspring, and in the processes through which this hereditary information is converted into chains of amino acids that will define the different characteristics of a cell, students should be able to:

 1. Identify the different components that are found in different cell types.

2. Describe the experiments by which the DNA molecule has been identified as a determinant for hereditary information.

3. Identify the chemical composition of the DNA molecule, its structure and its organization within a cellular unit.

4. Describe the DNA replication process, the mechanisms that ensure the reliability of this process and how the different elements involved in this process can be used in the laboratory.

5. Describe the process by which the information encoded in the DNA molecule is converted into RNA (transcription) and protein (translation).

6. Identify the mechanisms that ensure the regulation of the genetic expression.

7. Describe how genetic information is organized in the genome, identifying the major differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

8. Understand Molecular Biology in the context of Biology (its distinctive features and the chronology of major milestones).

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sérgio Joaquim Raposo Filipe, Vasco Temudo e Melo Cabral Barreto


Weekly - 3

Total - 25

Teaching language



The Molecular Biology C unit has no requirements.


Molecular Biology of the Cell; Alberts et al.; 6th edition (2015). Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, New York.

Slides and documents presented in the lecture classes and in the theoretical-practical classes, including 10 classical articles in Molecular Biology.

Access to websites of associations such as the American Society for Microbiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, etc. with content related to the topics taught in class.


Additional Bibliography

Biologia Celular e Molecular; C. Azevedo, C. E.; 5th edition (2012). Lidel, Porto.

Molecular Cell Biology; Lodish et al.; 8th edition (2016). W. H. Freeman

Molecular Biology of Assemblies and Machines; Steven et al.; 1ª edição (2016) Garland Science

Teaching method

Theoretical classes with slides for presentation of contents of the curricular unit.

Theoretical-practical classes for problem solving and/or discussion, and presentation of group works (e.g., journal club or projects).

Access to contents in the Moodle page with exercises and presentations about the contents that are taught.

Evaluation method

The concepts mastered by the student in this curricular unit will be assessed through two evaluation components:

- a component of theoretical and practical evaluation of the knowledge acquired, which will be assessed by conducting two written tests with questions on the content taught in theoretical classes and in theoretical-practical classes (60% of the final classification, ie 12/20 values). Each of these assessment elements will be marked to two decimal places and will be given equal weight in the final mark of this assessment component.

- a summative assessment component, assessed through a process of continuous assessment of the student in theoretical and practical classes. This assessment, with a classification made with two decimal points, will be made through continuous assessment by the teacher of the theoretical-practical class of the work done by students during the theoretical-practical class and autonomously, the presentation of small assessment elements, submitted on Moodle, where students summarize what they did and what they learned during the attendance of practical classes associated with each work or perform procedures requested by the teacher, and also the presentation and discussion of a journal club (40% of the final classification, 8/20 values).

Subject matter

The course program, which will be taught in the theoretical classes, can be grouped into three main groups:

Topic 1: Organization of DNA/Chromosome/Genome

1. Molecular components of cells and their functions.

2. Structure and chemical composition of different nucleic acids.

3. Experiments that demonstrate how DNA is responsible for heredity.

4. Characterization of the DNA present in a cellular unit (composition, organization and packaging).

Topic 2: DNA Replication, Mutation, Repair and Recombination.

5. Mechanisms used to ensure the high fidelity of the process that duplicate the DNA (replication) in a cell unit and in the laboratory.

6. Concept of spontaneous and induced mutations.

7. Examples of mutation repair systems.

Topic 3: Conversion of the DNA code into a protein

 8. Processes that cells use, and their regulation, to read information encoded their genome: (1) from DNA to RNA (transcription); (2) RNA for protein (translation).

9. Effects of DNA modification and mutagenesis.

10. Examples of reverse transcription.

11. Control of gene expression.

Problems associated with the topics taught in the theoretical class of the previous week will be solved in each of theoretical-practical classes.