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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Metagenomics (BITE11004)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course will provide lecture-based instruction in the field of metagenomic analysis, practical instruction in contamination-free environmental sediment sampling via a field excursion using state-of-the-art bioinformatics packages.
Course description Recent developments in the culture-independent analysis of organisms and genes from a wide range of natural environments have provided an unprecedented opportunity for biotechnology to tap into the vast diversity of the biosphere. The development of metagenomic techniques allows researchers and industry to access novel, useful functions from previously untapped resources. but also poses problems related to large-scale data analysis and screening methodologies. This course will introduce students to the concepts and potential of metagenomics, before undertaking sampling to obtain microbial communities form a variety of natural and engineered environments. These samples will then be analysed in the lab by metataxonomic Illumina sequencing-based techniques and metagenomic single-molecule sequencing to characterise the organisms, genes and functions within them and explore their potential for biotechnology.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 33, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 65 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% in-course assessment:

Report 1 - Summary and methods section (30%)
Report 2 - Contract Research Report (70%)
Feedback Individual written feedback, class oral and written feedback plus model answer for assignment 1.
Individual written feedback for assignment 2.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the importance of gene-mining and metagenomics to biotechnology.
  2. Understand how environmental samples can be collected and analysed in order to investigate their potential for the isolation of novel organisms and functions.
  3. Know how to analyse an environmental sample using molecular techniques to detect novel microbial communities, species and gene function.
  4. Understand the basis of next-generation sequencing technologies and how to apply them to marker gene and metagenomic analysis.
  5. Be able to produce a report from in the style of a final report on a programme of contract research.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills PCR and whole-genome amplification under clean conditions.
Preparation of samples for next-generation DNA sequencing.
DNA fingerprinting of marker genes.
Cloning and Sanger sequencing of environmental DNA fragments.
Analysis of next-generation marker gene sequence data using bioinformatics pipelines.
Assembly and annotation of next-generation metagenome sequence data.
Functional prediction of metagenomic potential from marker gene surveys.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Andrew Free
Tel: (0131 6)50 5338
Course secretaryMs Andrea Nichol
Tel: (0131 6)50 8643
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