• Class Number 7759
  • Term Code 3460
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • John Rathjen
    • AsPr Anthony Millar
    • Dr Andrew Bowerman
    • Dr Gaetan Burgio
    • Megan Outram
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2024
  • Class End Date 25/10/2024
  • Census Date 31/08/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to the principles and practice of recombinant DNA technology. It has a focus on how biological processes can be exploited and manipulated for practical purposes, rather than how they operate in nature. The course also introduces some of the main problem solving skills used routinely in molecular biology. A wide range of methods and applications will be discussed including:  polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA cloning, DNA sequencing, gene libraries, blotting techniques, expression of recombinant proteins, gene mapping, transgenic animals, and gene therapy.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Describe and apply methods and techniques used to manipulate DNA and generate transgenic (genetically modified) organisms
2. Design strategies for identifying and analysing genes and their function
3. Recognise the different requirements for gene expression in yeast, bacteria, plants and animals
4. Demonstrate practical skills used in molecular biotechnology such as PCR and molecular cloning

Research-Led Teaching

This course emphasises the technologies used in modern molecular biology laboratories, and the use of problem solving skills to solve technical challenges. Key concepts are introduced at a fundamental level so that students are completely familiar with DNA and how it may be copied, amplified, and manipulated. The course introduces important breakthroughs such as DNA cloning, sequencing, PCR, use of fluorescent proteins, and next-generation sequencing. Each discovery is put into historical and personal context. The course accesses cutting-edge researchers as lecturers, who access their expertise to illustrate important advances and the nexus between technology and discovery. Students participate in workshops where they learn to solve relevant problems. This aspect of problem solving is a core philosophy of the course. In addition, the theoretical material is accompanied by a comprehensive practical course so that students can develop their own research skills, and understand how practical observations lead to conceptual insights. Overall, students will appreciate how technological change drives biological discovery, and the important technological breakthroughs that underpin the molecular biology revolution.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required in all wet lab. Lab coat and safety glasses can be purchased from the Harry Hartog Bookshop. 

Examination Material or equipment

Students are allowed to use non-programmable calculators.

Brown, T.A. (2016) Gene Cloning and Analysis: an introduction (7th ed.) Wiley-Blackwell

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lectures 1 and 2 none
2 Lectures 3 and 4, Workshop 1, practical week 1 none
3 Lectures 5 and 6, Quiz 1, practical week 2 Quiz 1
4 Lectures 7 and 8, Workshop 2, practical week3 none
5 Lectures 9 and 10, Quiz 2, practical week4 Quiz 2
6 Lectures 11 and 12, practical week 5 none
7 Lectures 13 and 14, Workshop 3 Lab Archives due
8 Lectures 15 and 16, Quiz 3 Quiz 3, Turnitin Lab reports due
9 Lectures 17 and 18, Workshop 4 none
10 Lectures 19 and 20, Quiz 4 Quiz 4
11 Lectures 21 and 22 none
12 Lectures 23 and 24 none

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quizzes 25 % * * 1,2,4
Online Laboratory Journal 5 % 17/09/2024 01/10/2024 1,3,4
Turnitin Laboratory Report 20 % 24/09/2024 08/10/2024 1,3,4
Final Exam 50 % * * 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Attendance at Workshop Quizzes is compulsory. If you know of your absence beforehand, you must arrange with the Convenor to take the Quiz at an alternate time. If your absence is unplanned, it must be excused by documented evidence ie by medical certificate or similar. If you fail to do so you can be precluded from sitting the exam and graded NCN. Attendance at Laboratory Sessions is compulsory. Absence must be explained by documented excuse. If you fail to do so you can be precluded from sitting the exam and graded NCN.


Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4


A quiz based on the exercises studied in Workshops 1-4 and lecture material.

Due: As per class schedule

Returned: Marks are available immediately after final submission

There are 4 quizzes due over the semester held on Wattle. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 17/09/2024
Return of Assessment: 01/10/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Online Laboratory Journal

All laboratory experiments are entered into an online Laboratory Journal format known as LabArchives. This will require a brief description of each experiment and the results obtained, including Aim, Method, Results and Conclusions. Marks are given for inclusion of sufficient detail including deviations from the lab manual to enable accurate reproduction of the work. The aim of the Journal is to teach good laboratory recording practice. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 24/09/2024
Return of Assessment: 08/10/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Turnitin Laboratory Report

Write up a lab-based experiment that spans five-weeks (approximately 15 h of lab work) into one detailed lab report.

All pre-laboratory talks will be done as videos uploaded onto wattle.

Due: Tuesday 24 September at 11.59 pm

Returned: Within 2 weeks of submission

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Final Exam

A formal written examination of the material presented in Lectures 1-24. Assessment is based on factual correctness and understanding of underlying concepts. The exam comprises 50% of the BIOL2162 assessment.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) a submission must be through Turnitin

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Practical reports will be carried out on Turnitin and returned electronically.

Log book will be carried out on the online platform LabArchives and returned electronically.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Re-submission of the practical report or LabArchives is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
John Rathjen

Research Interests

Plant immunity and primary metabolism, pathogen genomics, field diagnosis of pathogens and associated microbiomes, fungal hyperparasites

John Rathjen

By Appointment
AsPr Anthony Millar

Research Interests

AsPr Anthony Millar

Dr Andrew Bowerman

Research Interests

Plant immunity and primary metabolism, pathogen genomics, field diagnosis of pathogens and associated microbiomes, fungal hyperparasites

Dr Andrew Bowerman

Dr Gaetan Burgio

Research Interests

Dr Gaetan Burgio

Megan Outram

Research Interests

Plant immunity and primary metabolism, pathogen genomics, field diagnosis of pathogens and associated microbiomes, fungal hyperparasites

Megan Outram


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions