NBIK20002U Principal Subject in Molecular Genetics

Volume 2023/2024

MSc Programme in Biochemistry


The course demonstrates the use of molecular genetics as tools for understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms in eukaryotes. Topics are based on original scientific research articles and include, but are not limited to, DNA replication, transcriptional regulation and epigenetics, DNA damage and repair. The purpose of the course is to enable the student to read, understand, and discuss research literature on molecular genetics and to write referee reports of research papers or manuscripts. Classes are based on student presentation of papers selected by the teacher. Students in the audience are expected to have read the presented article and to ask questions to the points in the papers they want discussed. A significant amount of time is used for in-depth, student driven, discussion of articles and development of peer-reviewing skills. Therefore, in addition to training and feedback of presentation skills, students acquire training in critical thinking and writing of referee reports of manuscripts. Hence, mandatory assignments include preparation of referee reports of research manuscripts.

Learning Outcome

The student will have obtained knowledge of specific research areas including different experimental and theoretical approaches.

Based on original research literature, the student will be able to explain, evaluate and critically analyse the results, the methods used and the conclusions drawn and compare with other relevant literature. In addition, they will be able to present and explain the background literature for peers.

The student can demonstrate a capacity to critically understand original scientific research papers dealing with subjects in molecular genetics, including knowledge and understanding of the specific problem to be analyzed, the experimental set-up, the methods employed, the experimental results and the conclusions drawn from these, and discuss this understanding with fellow students under the guidance of the teacher.

In this phase the students shall primarily have learned to
1) appreciate the efforts of scientists without an a priory opinion of the scientific subject of the paper
2) demonstrate the ability to ask questions of procedures and conclusions
3) to individually prepare referee reports of research manuscripts and review referee reports prepared by fellow students. 

The student will be capable of understanding the basis for specific conclusions in a field and will therefore understand the consequences of technical or experimental future developments when they occur.

See Absalon.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The teaching takes the form of student colloquia and discussions based on reading of original research articles and data. Individual assignments include preparation of referee reports of research manuscripts and review in groups of referee reports prepared by fellow students.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 48
  • Preparation
  • 348
  • Study Groups
  • 12
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Total
  • 412
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
During the exam the students must produce a referee report of a research paper (manuscript) not known to the students beforehand.

The course has been selected for ITX exam
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX)
Exam registration requirements

To be allowed to the final exam the student must fulfill the following requirements:

1) the student has satisfactorily presented at least two seminars to fellow students during the course
2) has participated actively with relevant questions/comments in at least 80% of the sessions
3) has individually prepared three referee reports (and participated in peer reviewing of referee reports).



Only certain aids allowed

PC (offline)

As the exam is an ITX-exam, the University will make computers available to students at the exam. Students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets, calculators, or mobile phones.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

Same as ordinary exam.

If the student has not fulfilled the requirements for presentation of at least two seminars, the student can present a seminar of 45 minutes in a subject decided by the teacher.

If the student has not fulfilled the requirements for active participation in at least 80% of the sessions or have not prepared the required number of referee reports and peer reviews, the student must take the course again next year.

Criteria for exam assesment

1) See 'Learning outcome'

2) Active participation. See 'Type of assessment'.