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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 31 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.
  • 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...
  • 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
    Yet another excellent biology course from MITx.

    This course is not easy. You can't simply memorize your way through it, instead you need to actually understand the topics in order to be successful with the problem solving required in the quizzes. Reason why I take these courses is that I feel they prepare me for the future challenges, no matter how hard they will be (within reason of course).
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  • Anonymous
    Great opportunity attending real MIT Microbiology Classroom. Rewarding experience as a bystander, sharing State of the art technologies. This course 7.28.2x is very demanding but largely gratifying. Having a computer to do some tests is a must for Dragging items. Graduate Biology level is mandatory
  • ‪Omar Elsayed‬‏
    this course encloses enormous content related to biology with easy and outstanding explanations and real applications that relate the course content to the actual practical work in research, but the quizzes are somehow difficult.
  • 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 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...
  • Anonymous
    fabulous course. I am personally very interested in the intersection of autoimmunity and gene expression and would love to do this course if can be assembled. Thank you for the hard work in getting this course together
  • Anonymous
    This course provides me with not only the uptodate conceptions of transcription and transposition, but also the experimental design and data analysis practice. It is really worth the time to learn.
  • Anonymous
    course is very good, however tests contain data and lab methods not covered as much in depth. Also the speed of the course seems too rapid for distance learners
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course very much. My goal was not to remember the names and details of everything, but general understanding of the mechanisms behind it.
  • Anonymous
    great course, very interesting and rigorous. i definitely recommend taking the courses in the order of the three.
  • 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.
  • 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
    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.

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