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Nucleic Acids and Protein Synthesis
A Graduate Course (Biochem 6763) offered by
the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
at Oklahoma State University
in Stillwater, Oklahoma USA.

CID 11211 

Prerequisite | Objectives | Outline | Grades | Texts | Drops | Literature

Class Meetings:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 11:30 am to 12:20 pm (Spring Semester 2014)

in NRC 246H

Ulrich Melcher Ramamurthy Mahalingam
NRC 354A NRC 355A
405-744-6210 405-744-6207

Please note that the d2l site has some 2012 content at this time. Updating with 2014 content will continue throughout the semester.

Please note also that revision of the 2012 syllabus is still in progress. "TBA" items will be dealt with later.


BIOCH 5753 (Biochemical Principles) or BIOCH 4113 (Biochemistry) at OSU or an introductory biochemistry course at the graduate level at another institution or a two-semester undergraduate biochemistry course at another institution. An acquaintance with DNA and RNA structure, replication, transcription, RNA processing, the genetic code, and translation will be assumed.


Subject and Objectives:

The subject of this course is the biochemistry of nucleic acids, their molecular cloning, their biosynthesis and the biosynthesis of proteins. The principal objective of the course is for students to acquire knowledge and understanding of current concepts in the subject of the course. That knowledge and understanding should be of depth sufficient to allow the student to read with ready comprehension current research articles on the subject matter area and to intelligently criticize them.

The course has secondary objectives. Students are to develop their skill at searching biochemical literature for information on a particular topic. They will develop their skill at presentation of scientific information. They will develop their critical thinking skills in the evaluation of biochemical experimentation.

Brief Outline for 2014:

I. Molecular cloning (14 sessions)

II. Structures in nucleic acid and protein synthesis (5 sessions)

III. Synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins, (20 sessions)

Detailed Outline


Grading and Examinations:

There will be three examinations. The third examination will be half over the third section and half comprehensive. It will be held during finals week at the university assigned time. Three kinds of assignments will also contribute to the overall grade. See separate pages describing these.

PLAGIARISM WARNING! Any material copied from another source (book, paper, website, catalog, fellow student, etc) used in your writings must be identified appropriately as such and the source identified. Failure to do so risks failure for the assignment (zero credit). If caught, reports will be filed (see OSU policy (pdf file) for definitions and procedures) ! Any quoted material will not be regarded as your intellectual contribution to the assignment and will thus be ignored in grading the assignment.

% of total grade
Due dates (2014)
Reading report 1
Seminar summary 1
Cloning report 12 TBA
Exam 1 16 17 February
Web Pages
Exam 2
28 March
Paper Review
TBA, 5 p.m.
Final Exam 
9 May, 10:00-11:50 a.m.

Past examinations are available by ftp as "pdf" or text files.

Letter grades for the course will be assigned according to the following scale:

to 80 B
to 70 C
to 60 D
The scale may be lowered (i.e. >75 may be A) if the difficulty of the examinations so dictates, but the scale will not be raised.  In the past six offerings of this course (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006) 41% of the 125 students received "A" grades, 45% received "B" grades, and "C" grades were given to 14%. In 2008, there was a 50-50 distribution between 'A' and 'B' grades.


Mode of Instruction:

The objectives will be attained by a combination of lectures, readings and web page preparation. The principal activity at each class meeting will be an informal lecture. Students are expected and encouraged to interrupt the instructor with relevant questions, comments or discussion. Students will make progress towards the secondary objectives by preparing several reports and web pages, details of which are provided separately (see links in grade table).

There is no required text for the first part of the course (Molecular Cloning). However, students may find the following useful.

Gene cloning and DNA analysis : an introduction Sixth Edition by T.A. Brown. (2010) available on OSU Library reserve 572.8633 B881g 2010

Introduction to Genetic Engineering by Desmond S.T. Nicholl, Third Edition (2008) Cambridge University Press. First edition (1994) available on reserve in OSU library 575.10724 N959i

One non-required textbook that satisfactorily covers the remainder of the material is:

Fundamental Molecular Biology by Lizabeth Allison (2012) Blackwell Publishing Co.OSU Library has ordered the book. Will be on reserve.

Students are encouraged to read other relevant material independently.


Other Information:

See the OSU pages for information on dropping or adding courses, special accommodations for students, etc. 

For more information contact U. Melcher or R. Mahalingam
or write us at
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, NRC 246
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater OK 74078-3035
If you need a conversation, call 405-744-6210 or to send a document by wire, 405-744-7799.

Last Updated: 6 January, 2014