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Best of All-Time Online Course

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 60 reviews

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

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Very intense but extremely interesting! I loved the way not only the cool parts about the biological mechanisms were taught, but also all the assays to find out about these mechanisms. Biology has a lot of logic and I liked this clean aspect of it that MIT reveals. I'm excited for Part 2!

    - Just one small remark: why can't all 3 Parts of Molecular Biology be open all the time (or most) like with 7.00x? I would have liked to continue on instead of waiting for the next part to open... (unless the course is new and I just haven't realised) :)
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I just want to request one thing. Please, add videos for experimental assays also. Education in my place is shit. I am a zoology majo(almost completed) and I have never even seen the gel used in electrophoresis , I can't explain how left out I felt when I saw Professors Bell saying to students that you all have worked with endo/exo-nucleases and gels.
    At least people like me will be able to see what experiments look like in real life. Please!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Being a biology major, this course is helping me a lot regarding understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in events happening in the cell nucleus or with bacterial DNA. The better part is the exposures to different assays used in different labs. This creates a proper conceptual understanding of the assay techniques and how to troubleshoot them. Thus it is great for both theoretical studies and for being a researcher.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I've just completed Week 3 of this 8 week course and so far I'm impressed. The lecturer, Prof Bell, is very good and I'm learning more about DNA replication than in any other course I've taken. However, this is not an introductory course in DNA replication and anyone who is new to this area is advised to learn some of the basics before venturing into this course.
  • Profile image for Richard Slama
    Richard Slama

    Richard Slama is taking this course right now.

    This course is wonderful for me. I took the MIT edX Intro Biology course, and found the lesson plan, homework and quizzes to be optimized for learning. Continuing my biology studies here has kept up the rigor in a way that really seems to trick my brain into understanding. MIT's professors really do a great job of making the subject interesting.
  • 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...
  • Profile image for Maria Ayub
    Maria Ayub

    Maria Ayub is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    It is a must sought course for those with a background in Biotechnology or other Life Sciences. Very informative and thought-provoking course.
  • Javier Pizarro

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a stellar example of just how much an online course can teach. They've got lectures broken into
  • Peter Mayr- Obitsch Phd ScD

    Peter Mayr- Obitsch Phd ScD is taking this course right now, spending 14 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Had no professional knowledge about biology but was always interested in Genetics, so with some basic knowledge it appears feasible to make it (I'm still underway after passing 3 quizzes out of 8). The parallel available text of the videos is helpful...
  • The class was informative. However, the virtually complete dissociation of lecture presentations and materials from the laboratory driven application questions in the quizzes was disturbing. If I want to be an experimentalist, I will take classes that...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I have found this course to be fast moving but very clearly explained. I particularly like the videos of live lectures where the students in the lecture hall ask questions and the lecturer gives answers from actual experimental experience. Authentic comments...
  • Profile image for Emma Lee
    Emma Lee

    Emma Lee is taking this course right now.

    This course continues to build on my understanding of molecular biology - I cannot wait to continue the other two sections for transcription and translation! I really enjoy Professor Bell's lectures and the animations are a great touch. MIT is one of the few institutions on edX that allow auditors to take graded assignments, which is great because they approach the content in an experimental way that tests critical thinking. I also love all of the open source literature throughout the course - I find it really exciting to read the papers for myself! The two things that I would change about this course are the 11AM deadlines (11PM EST, perhaps?) and more short videos about the various assays covered to supplement lectures.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    It is a very brilliant course, the professors are amazing and it made me really want to study with Professor Bell. Although it is a bit challenging for me.
    I am a Biomedical Pathologist from Brazil and I study forensics, I studied Molecular Biology on University and still there were assays I wasn't familiar with.
    The course is very fine for not native english speakers.
    And t is not an introductory course, you must know the basics before taking this.
    I've seen a lot of people struggling with the difficulty of the quizzes on the discussions from the course forum, the classes gives you basis for them but you really have to work for solving it. They recommed to take the 7.00x first.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Excellent course! I work in a lab and I have some experience with molecular biology techniques and I feel this course is very stimulating and inspiring. I have had many "AHA!" moments during the lectures and I appreciate the challenge the quizzes provide. I would not recommend this course unless one has already some background in molecular biology (possibly the introductory course 7.0 is enough - I don't know) or one has willingness to really invest time into the course. I personally spend roughly 8 h a week on the materials and a quiz. However, if you're interested in profound questions and techniques in molecular biology, this course is insightful and amazing way to learn!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I find the course extremely interesting. My 2 major problems are:
    First, I am a professional physicist taking the course by pure curiosity. I do understand experiments in general, but have absolutely no clue about how assays look in real life (my knowledge on biology is purely theoretical, except some gardening!). It would be very useful to describe the assays by videos rather than simply words.
    Second, even though my english is OK, I am not a native english speaker. Sometimes, the wording of questions in quizzes seems ambiguous to me. I would be more confortable solving equations than trying to guess which language subleties are hidden in the question.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I love the course material and subject matter. I am somewhat disappointed with method for testing. I seem to do well on test yourself questions and I am relatively quick to get the right answers but I struggle with some of the quiz material. I realize that the professor is using the quiz platform as a learning tool, but that does not work for me. I was sincerely hoping to get a certificate for this course for job prospects, but if I cannot do well on quiz material I cannot pass the course.

    I also reached out to ask someone at ED X what they recommended, and I did not receive a clear answer to my question. Not sure I will take another class.
  • Anonymous
    It is primordial to leave a thanks note due to the overall superb course created by the MIT team, it was an amazing learning experience that will most surely impact the way I see the world and my academic life. A special thanks to Prof. Bell to be so clear in the lectures and to the Staff that answered most of the questions made. I would like to congrats the fellow students that have reached thus far and completed the course. The weakly assignments were not easy and completing the course with more than 70% is a nice achievement especially for those that are not from biological sciences.

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