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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Molecular Biology - Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


You’re acquainted with your DNA, but did you know that your cells synthesize enough DNA during your lifetime to stretch a lightyear in length? How does the cellular machinery accomplish such a feat without making more mistakes than you can survive? Why isn’t the incidence of cancer even higher than it is? And, if the DNA in each and every cell is two meters long, how is this genetic material compacted to fit inside the cell nucleus without becoming a tangled mess?

Are you ready to go beyond the “what" of scientific information presented in textbooks and explore how scientists deduce the details of these molecular models?

Take a behind-the-scenes look at modern molecular genetics, from the classic experimental events that identified the proteins involved in DNA replication and repair to cutting-edge assays that apply the power of genome sequencing. Do you feel confident in your ability to design molecular biology experiments and interpret data from them? We've designed the problems in this course to build your experimental design and data analysis skills.

Let’s explore the limits of our current knowledge about the replication machinery and pathways that protect the fidelity of DNA synthesis. If you are up for the challenge, join us in 7.28x Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair.

Follow the latest news from MITx Biology @MITxBio on Twitter .

Taught by

Tania A. Baker and Stephen P. Bell

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4.8 rating, based on 82 reviews

Start your review of Molecular Biology - Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair

  • I have just finished the last quiz of this course and I must admit I really enjoyed taking this course! The animations were absolutely amazing. They really helped me understand the abstract concepts more easily. The weekly quizzes were a lot of fun...
  • I am proud of myself for completing this course and after getting a total of 86 points.

    This course was a nice challenge for me.

    Several times I had a hard time thinking about stopping this course, especially because there are deadlines for each quiz. However, I was patient and made an extra effort to complete it. And today I did the last quiz in this course and I think that I got a real assessment of the abilities that I learned during this course.

    Thanks to MIT. Now I plan to complete Part Two and Three of this series this summer.
  • The course is really inspiring and consistent, it gives you reliable tools to proceed further in Molecular biology and Biochemistry. Due to its unique structure and tasks which are challenging but fun it somehow makes you believe in your own powers and judgement, and this is extremely important for anyone seriously interested in science. It makes even the beginners bold enough to read primary literature, and even understand it (!).
  • Brett Markham
    This class takes what you learned about DNA replication before to the next level. I am reviewing this after the third week of the class and I want to give you an idea of what the first week was like. The next two weeks are structurally similar, but...
  • Javier Pizarro is taking this course right now, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    The quality course is really amazing, especially the animations, that help to understand concepts that could be quite hard to grasp any other way. Even though I'm rather familiar with the subject, the course is designed so the information flows in a way...
  • Anonymous
    I'm coming to this course after graduating with a BA and having taken no science classes since high school, except for 7.00x (Intro to Bio) on EdX a few months ago while reading through my old AP textbook. I took this course because Biochemistry was temporarily...
  • Emin Gabrielyan
    This is a top quality course. I just finished the last quiz of the last unit. It was intense but very very interesting. The staff, community members, and all other students are very responsive, respectful, and interested in what they learn. Prof. Steve...
  • Maximilian Vogt

    Maximilian Vogt is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    To put my review into context: I hold a MSc in Agricultural sciences, working in (molecular) plant breeding. That means: I am familiar with genetics and replication, mitosis, meiosis. This course is of interest for me because I wanted to get behind the...
  • Anonymous
    This is a superb course that delves deep into the mechanisms of DNA replication and explains the scientific techniques (various assays, uses of microarrays and deep sequencing etc) through which this understanding came to be. It explores differences between...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is a very good course. I withheld a star because I feel certain subjects need to be clarified more as they are explained, especially the assays. The devil is in the details when it comes to assays and every assumption needs to be made clear. Animations...
  • Anonymous
    I found the course an excellent one to dig deeper into molecular biology. You get the quality of MIT classes. I took 7.00x before this which I think is definitely needed. Chemistry basics are also highly recommended in order to understand the course, but most of it can be picked up by extra research in case you don't have that background (expect to spend extra time then on the course).

    A few more experimental videos would have helped to visualize the assays. I feel like after the course that I have a good theoretical understanding of many assay and experiments, but never really done or seen doing any of them.
  • Anonymous
    I just completed week 3 and so far it has been fascinating ! As a chemical engineering master student with no background in biology other than high school, I do have to look up a few things and invest a bit more time but everything still makes sense and the course is still exciting. I am looking forward to the remaining weeks of the course and will definitely consider taking part 2 and 3 in the future! I will also most probably purchase the certificate, since I want to support the makers of the course and especially because I think it will be beneficial for my future career.
    Thank you so much.
  • Anonymous
    I'm very happy with the larning process I went through when completing this course. The way we were evaluated in a problem-solving aspect instead of a knowledge-retention aspect was really comforting because by the end of the course one can actually notice how the congitive structures that were shaped during these weeks start consolidating inte useful tools for real-life situations. I would've liked certain videos to not be cropped when they did, but after all it was a budget-friendly way to have a little glimpse at what they teach at MIT so I think it was overall quite worth it.
  • Anonymous
    This is a great introductory course to DNA replication and repair mechanisms in molecular biology. Even though I initially thought I already had some insight into this topic, it turns out that every single lecture I learn a lot. The lectures are well-presented and clearly structured and the experiments thoroughly explained. The course takes me somewhat more hours than anticipated though: on average I spend about 6-7 hours on it each week. The quizes are very insightful and really test insight rather than just memory.
  • Anonymous
    Simply outstanding. This is the third online course that I've done, the second one from edX, and the quality of this one is just ridiculous. The contents are both extensive and meticulous, explaining with a huge amount of detail both "simple" processes and advanced assays. I strongly recommend this course to everyone who is attracted towards molecular biology.
  • Anonymous
    The course is really helpful, and the way of presentation is amazing, especially the use of animations which simplify the hard concepts and make them easy to understand. The information explained in a way that makes it very interesting.

    Thanks for Prof. Bell who clearly demonstrates an excellent teaching experience, really appreciable.

    Zainab AL-Zuabidy
  • Anonymous
    Excellent class. The focus on application of the principles to lab / research situations is a real impetus to learn the material well. You can't just remember the facts, you need to be able to integrate and apply them. The visual aids and the instructor's explanations are very clear. I'm taking the class just for fun, moving on to part 2 next.
  • Anonymous
    These MITx biology courses continue to impress me. They deliver what they promise in the course description, including the challenge.

    Even though I have graduated from a decent university, I had not previously encountered theory courses that are this good. Especially the problem sets are great.
  • Anonymous
    One of the best online courses I've seen. It is complete. Even the graded exercises are extremely fun - although it requires a lot of attention - to do. They tried to force the students through some real life laboratory experience situations, and they nailed it. It's totally worth it!
  • Anonymous
    I'm very satisfied with the quality of explanations the professor gives. I think the fact that we're evaluated in problem solving rather than concept retention is very positive because the learning experience feels very much focused towards applying the techniques taught in the course.

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