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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Molecular Biology - Part 2: Transcription and Transposition

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


In Part 2 of this Molecular Biology course, you’ll explore transcription of DNA to RNA, a key part of the central dogma of biology and the first step of gene expression.

Did you know that transposable elements, the genetic information that can move from location to location, make up roughly 50 % of the human genome? Did you know that scientists have linked their movement into specific genes to the causes of certain diseases? You’ll also learn how these “jumping genes” work and how scientists study them in Molecular Biology: Transcription and Transposition.

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 and elements involved in transcription and transposition to cutting-edge assays that apply the power of genome sequencing. 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 transcription machinery and mechanisms of transposition. If you are up for the challenge, join us in 7.28.2x Molecular Biology: Transcription and Transposition.


Week 1 : Machinery and Promoters of Bacterial Transcription

Week 2 : Bacterial Regulation of Bacterial Transcription

Week 3 : Machinery and Promoters of Eukaryotic Transcription

Week 4 : Regulation of Eukaryotic Transcription I

Week 5 : Regulation of Eukaryotic Transcription II

Week 6 : Transposition

Week 7 : CRISPR

Taught by

Tania A. Baker and Stephen P. Bell

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4.7 rating, based on 23 reviews

Start your review of Molecular Biology - Part 2: Transcription and Transposition

  • Anonymous
    In this course you go through the details of experiments at the level of publications in Nature. What is most appreciated are the highly professional and respectful answers of the staff (and other learners who often are also professionals in the domain), no matter what is your degree of experience or understanding. It becomes increasingly interesting as you advance, especially because of the filling of the connectedness with the front end research community.
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  • Anonymous
    I reached the middle of this course. It is one of the highest quality courses I have followed. Before taking this course, you must take the 7.28.1x course. Prof. Bell is an excellent lecturer and describes the subject in a pleasant and nicely structured...
  • Peter Mayr- Obitsch Phd ScD

    Peter Mayr- Obitsch Phd ScD is taking this course right now.

    After completing the first course of DNA Transcription and Repair it was satisfying that this course has the same high quality as well.
    Although I'm performing this after a completely different study due to pure interest without currently existing professional background, it's feasible to succeed if you have at least some basic knowledge about the matter and apply methodical learning procedures.
    Anyway one should have performed the first course mentioned above before.
    The parallel script file is helpful for a non-native speaker like me.
    Summary: Highly recommendable because this matter represents the future - I'm gladly looking forward to the third course after finishing this one.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent in-depth course with an emphasis on experimental assays to apply your knowledge of the underlying mechanisms taught in the lectures.

    Occasionally, the effort to make sure students are apply problem-solving skills stretches to a point where a lack of molecular biology lab experience is really what determines your grade. In other words, it is more than knowing your genetics and chemistry. The lectures are thorough, but since the grading relies so heavily on experimental design using assays which receive cursory coverage in the course, you'll need to either research heavily or have hands-on experience.

    Nonetheless, you'll definitely learn in this course!
  • The lectures and test yourself are useful. Unfortunately, the Quiz's heavy bias on experimental results and their interpretation is debilitating.

    The required precedents for courses already taken is not sufficient to provide the necessary background for students who need more exposure to the course assumed knowledge of experimental methods, techniques and interpretation. Without that level of prior knowledge, it is difficult to receive passing grades on the Quizzes.

    In the best interest to those who are taking the course for credit/ certificate, a preliminary lecture series should be provided for those who have not had requisite experimental experience.
  • Eric Smith

    Eric Smith is taking this course right now, spending 15 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    Very good course lots to enjoy. The focus on Quizzes is really good but and sorry there is a but without significant lab experience students will find it more challenging. Experimental design thinking to tackle specific problems isn't really happening...
  • Anonymous
    A very good follow-on to the initial course in this series (728.1x). It's necessary to take these courses in order, but if you do, the problem sets are excellent and tell a continuous story while promoting active learning, not just regurgitation of material. Lectures are clear and full of information, and the discussion boards are helpful for clarifying questions.
  • Anonymous
    I am a high school teacher and I am getting tired just asking my students to memorize these concepts. I was wondering if there is another teaching method which could bind the textbook to the proceeding research and prepare students to be future scientists. When I was watching the introduction of this class, I said to myself, this might be my dream class.
  • Anonymous
    One of the best Molecular Biology courses. The classroom-like lections make the learning more effective and convenient. The content of the course is very structured and intelligible. Thank you! Now I understand the aspects of molecular biology quite more deeply then I used to.
  • Anonymous
    I am actually just auditing at the moment and completing this review otherwise the course is not allowing me to move on to the next section. However, from everything I have seen and heard from the friends who took it, it looks great for anyone in molecular biology.
  • Anonymous
    I'm a little rusty on the subject so I find it very useful. I would like to have more exercises to practice before the quizes but I still managed to passed them, although the quizes are also a part of the learning experience and it's very interesting what they bring.
  • Anonymous
    The lectures, the videos accompanying them, the test yourself exercises, and the quizzes are made with an incredible care. The attention paid to the design of the exercises made each question a piece of jewelry work.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Similar to the first part of the course. S. Bell is wonderful and the insight I have gained is very encouraging. However, the course is very demanding and challenging (but worthwhile). This course is not an introductory course! Be ready to invest time unless you have excellent grasp on molecular biology. I would recommend this course for experienced junior scientist as well, since this course takes the analysis of experimental data to a next level - everything is under scrutiny.
  • Profile image for Carl Krasniak
    Carl Krasniak

    Carl Krasniak is taking this course right now.

    Demanding but satisfying. Good use of graphics. Typical MIT problem sets that assume grasp of class presentations and are designed to further explore new concepts. Heavy on analytic techniques and evaluation of lab results.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I would highly recommend this course for deepining the knowledge about Geneexpression. Professor Bells presentation style is incredible, i really enjoyed that he was writing on the blackboard, which made it very easy to follow the complex content. The quizzes were tough but doable and very useful for a career as a future scientists.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is quite helpful for me to understand the concept of Transcription and queries I have in my mind. As I have deep interest in this process, these lectures gave me enough knowledge so that I can do further research work in this field.
    The way professor teaches is amazing.
  • Vandana

    Vandana is taking this course right now.

    This is the best course I ever took as it clears my all the queries regarding the topic Transcription. I want to do my further studies in this field and the mentor makes this topic very easy to understand by the way of his teaching. I really want to thank him for this.
  • Malvina Pushkova completed this course, spending 28 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very hard.

    This is a worthy continuation of "Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair". Don't try to pass this course if you are not well familiar with the material of the first part, otherwise you will be lost in unknown terms and techniques.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This course is quite helpful for me to understand the concept of Transcription. The process of transcription is the concept I took deep interest while studying in my universiry.

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