RNA: Structure, Function and Biology

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG388

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Biology A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 14 October 2022
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

Completed courses of 120 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry, or (2) 60 credits in chemistry including Biochemistry 15 credits and 30 credits in biology including cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, or (3) admission to the Master's Programme in Chemistry, specialising in Biochemistry or Chemical Biology. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

The course shall give the student increased knowledge on the biological functions of the RNA molecule and how cell processes are regulated by RNA, RNA-binding proteins, and the ribonucleoprotein complex.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • explain the biology, chemistry, structure, and function of the RNA molecule
  • explain how the RNA molecule participates in the control of living cells
  • explain how the function of the RNA molecule is regulated by proteins and small ligands
  • evaluate and explain practical applications of the RNA molecule within medicine and biotechnology
  • explain how to solve biological problems by applying methods that are based on the properties of the RNA molecule
  • apply a scientific approach in the planning, execution, presentation, and interpretation of advanced experiments on current RNA problems within its biology, chemistry, structure, and function, and also to critically assess the results and generate testable hypotheses from these experiments
  • critically evaluate scientific literature in the area
  • present and defend summaries of published literature in the area.


The student achieves these goals by acquiring knowledge of: The biology, chemistry, structure and function of the RNA molecule in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems including their viruses. Use of RNA-based methodology in medical and biotechnical applications. The role and function of RNA in the regulation of gene expression. Interaction between RNA molecules. Interaction between RNA and proteins. Interaction between RNA and small ligands. The role of RNA in an evolutionary perspective. The characteristics of metal ions and their importance/ function for the function of RNA. Biochemical, genetic and physiological methods in the role and characteristics of RNA. Practical experiments illustrating the functional role of RNA.


Teaching is given in the form of lectures, web-based assignments, seminars, a literature symposium, and laboratory exercises.


Modules: Laboratory exercises (2 credits); Seminars and symposium (3 credits); Theory (10 credits). The laboratory exercises must be approved and presented according to the guidelines. Active participation and approved presentations are required for the seminars and symposium. The theory module has a written examination.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Other directives

The course can not at the same time be included with 1BG330 Microbial and chemical genetics.