BIOL06025 2020 Exploitation of Biology

General Details

Full Title
Exploitation of Biology
Transcript Title
Exploitation of Biology
N/A %
Subject Area
BIOL - 0511 Biology
LIFE - Life Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2020 - Full Academic Year 2020-21
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Stephen Daly
Programme Membership
SG_SAPMS_H08 202000 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Medical Sciences SG_SBIOM_H08 202000 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biomedical and BioIndustrial Sciences

This module considers a wide number of aspects and issues in biotechnology, sufficient to underpin and reinforce other topics in life sciences. Topics include production, commercialisation and ethics of biotechnology products and the impact of biotechnology on modern society.

Biotechnology is defined as the exploitation of biology for human benefit, and it is increasingly impacting on everyday life. It is essential that graduates in Life Sciences are familiar with the principles and processes involved in exploiting biological systems. In addition they must be able to develop an informed opinion on the ethical and moral debate surrounding biotechnological processes.

This module aims to:

1. Familiarise students with the core principles underpinning both conventional and molecular biotechnology; and

2. Provide them with detailed examples of how various organisms and their gene(s) are currently being commercially exploited.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Explain the key discoveries that have influenced the development of the biotechnology industry.


Describe the principles and technologies underpinning biotechnology and also the products associated with this industrial sector.


Form opinions on the commercial, moral and ethical issues associated with the development of biotechnological products and appreciate the impact of biotechnology on society.


Appraise an area of medical biotechnology giving rise to important products that we will hear more about in the future.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module if offered fully online. The Module tutor will provide a range of teaching and learning methods, including:

    • Online lectures, including problem based interactive tasks:
    • Directed reading: and
    • Tutor supported online activities and discussions.


Module Assessment Strategies

Written examination [60%]

A three hour examination which is structured in two sections. Section A comprises ONE compulsory exam question which all students must answer. Section B comprises five exam questions and students must answer THREE of them. All questions carry equal marks.


Essay [40%]

Students will research a biotechnology topic and then write a scientific essay with full referencing and citation according to the Harvard referencing system. The essay should be 1000 words maximum and have an introduction, main body and conclusion. A reference list (not included in the word limit) should be provided which comprises at least 6 references, and follows the Harvard referencing convention. An exemplar topic is, "Discuss ONE applications' area of medical biotechnology giving rise to important products that we will hear more about in the future. You are free to choose ONE applications' area from the following list: i) the search for new small molecule drugs; ii) pharmacogenomics for personalized medicine; iii) nanomedicine; OR iv) vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.

Please focus your essay on only ONE of the four applications' areas." Students will be provided with information and guidelines, including assessment criteria and submission schedule. Feedback will be written and detailed against each criteria as appropriate.


Two formative assessment opportunities will be given within the module for students to research and then present reflective statements in less than 400 words on the topics of "Should bioscientists aim to commercially exploit their research?" and "Present arguments for and against human cloning." Students will be provided with information and guidelines, including formative assessment criteria which cover written communication and wider reading for both, explanation of the technology transfer process in the former and the technology in the latter, and expressing own view points in the former and arguments for and against in the latter. This formative assessment will help in preparation for the written examination.

Repeat Assessments


Indicative Syllabus


    • Historical aspects of modern biotechnology.
    • Microbial Biotechnology- diversity and products.
    • Plant Biotechnology and GM crops.
    • Transgenic Animals.
    • Human Genome Project and Synthetic Biology.
    • Production, commercialisation and ethics of biotechnology products.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
40 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
60 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Coursework Coursework Assessment Essay 40 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Examination Final Exam Closed Book Exam 60 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4

Distance Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Online Lecture Not Specified Fully Online Lectures 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Distance Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Thieman, W.J & Palladino, M.A. (2013) Introduction to Biotechnology. 3rd edition. San Francisco, Pearson.



Appropriate journals within each subject area will be recommended for reading e.g. New Scientist, Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Biotechnology Healthcare, Biotechnology Journal and Biotechnology Letters. Students will also be directed to online materials and web sites, and expected to source relevant subject materials through the Ulster online library.