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CH40230: DNA in the modern world

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 3 [equivalent to 6 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 60
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Exam (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take CH20149 OR take CH20150
In taking this module you cannot take CH30230
Learning Outcomes: On completing this unit, students should be able to: write out and critically evaluate the sequence of reactions for the synthesis of a short section of single stranded DNA; design primers for a polymerase chain reaction; critically evaluate the mechanism for the polymerase chain reaction; list the causes of DNA degradation; critically evaluate the procedure for obtaining a sample of DNA from an ancient source; interpret both modern and 'historical' DNA fingerprints; critically evaluate the strategy for obtaining a modern DNA fingerprint; explain how DNA can be used to store information and compute, and highlight DNA's current limitations in these fields; explain how a DNA machine works; give an example of a DNA machine that has not been covered in lectures, and explain how that particular machine works; detail a process for creating structures from DNA.

Aims: The aim of this unit is to show the impact DNA research has had and may have on modern society.

Skills: xx

Content: Chemical synthesis of DNA; the polymerase chain reaction; ancient DNA and its implications for human evolution; modern and 'historical' DNA fingerprinting; storing information in DNA; DNA computers; artificial structures ('DNA origami') and machines derived from DNA.

Programme availability:

CH40230 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry
  • USCH-AAM03 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USCH-AAM06 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USCH-AKM03 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 4)
  • USCH-AKM02 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry with Industrial Placement (Year 4)
  • USCH-AFM07 : MSci(Hons) Chemistry with Management (Year 4)
  • USCH-AKM07 : MSci(Hons) Chemistry with Management with Industrial Placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.