Special topics

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Course Code: 
Course Outline: 


An-Najah National University

Faculty of Science–Biology and Biotechnology Dept.

Course title & number

Special Topics 24481

Instructor(s) name(s)

Dr. Raed Alkowni

Contact information

ralkowni@najah.edu, office : 14F1170

Semester & academic year

Fall Semester 2013/2014

Compulsory / Elective

Department Elective Course


24102 & 24108

Course Description (Content)

Various up-to-date topics on biology and biotechnology

Course Objectives

To provide well understanding with the recent advances on molecular biology, genetic engineering; plant pathology and advances on molecular diagnostic technologies. At the end the each session students will be able to critically evaluate recently published research papers on abovementioned topics.

Intended learning

Outcomes (ILO’s) and



At the end of this course student will be able to:

1.      illustrate the principle and function of immune system warm blood animals;

2.      apply different serological techniques for diagnostic purposes.

3.      contrast up-to-date molecular tools for diagnosis and advanced genetic sequencing techniques to reveal molecular diversity of organisms

4.      clarify and compare gene transfer methodologies in transgenic organisms

5.      explain how various bio-techniques can be used for molecular profiling of organisms as well as for forensics.

6.      argue the ethical issues related to GMOs use

7.      clarify virus’ replications with special focus on phyto-viruses.

8.      explain how Genes are expressed; regulated and technologies that can be used as a tool for measuring that.

9.      List the available opportunities in biotechnology as a career

10.  Present, evaluate and discuss independently research papers on topics of cell biology as apoptosis and oncology in the class.

Textbook & References


·         Analysis of genes and genomes. 2004. Richard J. Reece. Ed. Wiley.

·         Cell and molecular Biology, Concepts and Experiments, 5rd Edition. 2007. Gerald Karp.  John Wiley and Sons, Ins.

·         iGenetics: A Molecular Approach (3rd edition) 2010. Peter J. Russell.

·         Introduction to Plant biotechnology 2nd Ed. 2002. Chawla. Science Publishers, Inc. USA.

·         Molecular Biotechnology: principles and applications of recombinant DNA 3rd Ed. 2003. Glick, B.R. and Pasternak, J.J. ASM Press, Washington DC. 

·         NCBI handbook. 2003. The national library of Medicine.

·         Plant Biotechnology in Agriculture. 1989. K. Lindsey and MGK Jones. Milton Keynes: Open University Press (1989),

·         Molecular Biology of the Gene (5th ed) - JD Watson – 2004

·         Up-to-date research papers

Teaching Methods

-          Interactive presentation

-          Individual reflection and writing

-          Small group work

-          Large group discussion

Assignment Criteria


Percent (%)

Discussion groups


First Exam


Second Exam


Final Exam






Course outline

Week no.

Selected Topic


The Immune system


Serology as a diagnostic tool

-Monoclonal Production

-Polyclonal Production



Advanced DNA-based diagnostic techniques [i.e: Real time PCR; Taqman; Low density PCR; nested PCR; IC-PCR,RT-PCR]

First Exam


Deep sequencing techniques


Molecular Markers for measuring genetic biodiversity


Advances in Forensic applications


Gun (Biolistic method) as a technique for genetic transformations; Bioethics and legislation related to the use of genetic modified organisms

Second Exam


Virology: virus replications, ssRNA viruses, Plant viruses, Sanitation


Natural enemies and biocontrol


Expressed genes profiling (Microarrays)




Career in Biotechnology


Final Exam