Physical Chemistry Basics of DNA and Genetic Information
Module version of SS 2021 (current)
There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.
Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.
|available module versions|
|SS 2021||SS 2020||SS 2019||SS 2018||SS 2017||WS 2008/9|
PH2154 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.
This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.
- Specific catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
- Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
- Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
- Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.
|Total workload||Contact hours||Credits (ECTS)|
|150 h||60 h||5 CP|
Responsible coordinator of the module PH2154 is Günther Woehlke.
Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions
Energetic, thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of the following issues: information encoding in DNA; DNA topology, twist, and formation of plectonemes; topological problems during DNA replication and repair; gene expression and it regulation; genetic switches
After successful completion of the module, the participants are able to:
- judge the relevance of physical-chemical basics for storage, propagation and maintenance of genetic information
- analyze problems arising in cyclic DNA molecules and describe them in a quantitative manner
- categorize and understand current literature and problems of the field
PH2013: Physical Biology of the Cell; advanced knowledge of molecular biology and/or genetics.
Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature
Courses and Schedule
|VU||4||Physical chemistry basics of DNA and genetic information||Woehlke, G.||
Wed, 14:00–16:00, PH 3024
Learning and Teaching Methods
This module consists of a lecture and an exercise class.
Lecture: physical chemistry of nucleotides; crash course 'molecular cloning' for the understanding of primary literature; torsonal stiffness of DNA and RNA; mechansims of topoisomerases, helicases, integrases and recombinases; Crispr/Cas
Exercises: Application of theoretical background to specific, cell biologically relevant examples
Current literature in the field, in particular with single-molecule experiment background
Lecture with script; study of current literature, possibly with student presentations
R. Phillips, J. Kondev, J. Theriot & H. Garcia: Physical Biology of the Cell, 2nd ed., Taylor & Francis, (2012)
Description of exams and course work
There will be an oral exam of 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using Questions concerning physical-chemical properties of DNA, and understanding of experimental observations.
For example an assignment in the exam might be:
- Name the causes and consequences of DNA bending stiffness
- Describe the response of DNA on torsional forces
- Questions concerning the understanding of single-molecule studies on DNA and RNA
Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.
The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.