Introduction to Molecular Techniques

Module code: MB7001

Searching for novel cancer-causing genes researchers requires methods for manipulating the genetic material. For example, molecular cloning allows us to study the function of a gene and how cell behaviour is affected when that gene is altered in cancer.

This module will introduce you to some of the key concepts and experimental techniques in molecular biology and cancer biology. It covers techniques for genetic manipulation including:

  • Restriction enzymes
  • Ligation
  • Bacterial transformation
  • Screening transformants
  • Hybridisation
  • Probes and blots
  • PCR
  • RT-PCR
  • Agarose gel electrophoresis
  • DNA sequencing

We will look at how these techniques are applied in recombinant protein expression (in both eukaryotes and procaryotes), trangenics/knockouts, RNAi, genome projects, microarrays and ‘omics’ studies (genome, proteome, interactome, metabolome etc).

You will also apply some of these techniques to identify a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a cancer-related gene -the total number of SNPs in the human genome is estimated to be more than 10 million! With recent advances in genomics, great effort is being directed towards the search for genetic variants (i.e. SNPs) that influence cancer susceptibility and outcome (Erichsen and Chanock, 2004).


  • 13 hours of lectures
  • 4 day practical
  • 8 day practical


  • 2 x practical reports (40% each)
  • Exam, 2 hours (20%)