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DNA and RNA Biology

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DNA and RNA Biology

Coordinator
Cecília Arraiano

Objectives
After this curricular Unit the students will be able to:
a) Identify the Principles in which Molecular Genetics is based and understand how nucleic acids can regulate gene
expression. b) Delineate strategies to control gene expression. c) Be familiar with the different types of RNAs and RNases and interpret them in face of the very recent discoveries in RNA Biology. d) To know the fundaments and
general technologies used in the study of nucleic acids.
To expand the knowledge obtained and see the application of what was learnt in this Unit in face of the recent advances in the study of nucleic acids and its applications in Medicine and Biotechnology.

Syllabus
The structure and function of nucleic acids: molecular mechanisms responsible for the transmission and expression of genetic information both in prokaryotic and eukaryotic model organisms – replication, transcription, translation and regulation of gene expression;
The RNA World. Different types of RNA including the study of non-coding RNAs. Mechanisms used by RNAs with riboswitches, thermosensors and ribozymes.
Nucleases. Maturation, quality control and degradation of nucleic acids.
RNA interference and its applications in Medicine and Biotechnology.
Principles of isolation, purification and quantification of nucleic acids; visualization of nucleic acids by electrophoresis; Polymerase chain reaction (PCR); hybridization methods; methods for manual and automatic DNA sequencing; Utilization of informatic programs for the analysis of DNA and RNA sequences. Rationale and applications of gene expression technologies (Microarrays or RNA seq). Mechanisms that can regulate gene expression.

Evaluation
Summary report and oral seminar on a topic chosen from the classes (70%). Continuous evaluation based on the participation of the student in the classes of this Curricular Unit (30%).

Main Bibliography

  • O Mundo do RNA" Novos desafios e perspectivas futuras, Coordenação Cecília M. Arraiano e Arsénio M. Fialho, Editora Lidel 2007
  • Nucleic Acids: Structures, Properties, and Functions Victor A. Bloomfield (Author), Donald M. Crothers (Author), Ignacio Tinoco (Author), John E. Hearst (Author), David E. Wemmer (Author), Peter A. Killman (Author), Douglas H. Turner (Author), University Science Books 2000

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