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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Molecular Biology - Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


You’re acquainted with your DNA, but did you know that your cells synthesize enough DNA during your lifetime to stretch a lightyear in length? How does the cellular machinery accomplish such a feat without making more mistakes than you can survive? Why isn’t the incidence of cancer even higher than it is? And, if the DNA in each and every cell is two meters long, how is this genetic material compacted to fit inside the cell nucleus without becoming a tangled mess?

Are you ready to go beyond the “what" of scientific information presented in textbooks and explore how scientists deduce the details of these molecular models?

Take a behind-the-scenes look at modern molecular genetics, from the classic experimental events that identified the proteins involved in DNA replication and repair to cutting-edge assays that apply the power of genome sequencing. Do you feel confident in your ability to design molecular biology experiments and interpret data from them? We've designed the problems in this course to build your experimental design and data analysis skills.

Let’s explore the limits of our current knowledge about the replication machinery and pathways that protect the fidelity of DNA synthesis. If you are up for the challenge, join us in 7.28x Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair.

Follow the latest news from MITx Biology @MITxBio on Twitter .

Taught by

Tania A. Baker and Stephen P. Bell


4.8 rating, based on 96 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Molecular Biology - Part 1: DNA Replication and Repair

  • I have just finished the last quiz of this course and I must admit I really enjoyed taking this course! The animations were absolutely amazing. They really helped me understand the abstract concepts more easily. The weekly quizzes were a lot of fun...
  • Javier Pizarro is taking this course right now, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    The quality course is really amazing, especially the animations, that help to understand concepts that could be quite hard to grasp any other way. Even though I'm rather familiar with the subject, the course is designed so the information flows in a way...
  • I am proud of myself for completing this course and after getting a total of 86 points.

    This course was a nice challenge for me.

    Several times I had a hard time thinking about stopping this course, especially because there are deadlines for each quiz. However, I was patient and made an extra effort to complete it. And today I did the last quiz in this course and I think that I got a real assessment of the abilities that I learned during this course.

    Thanks to MIT. Now I plan to complete Part Two and Three of this series this summer.
  • The course is really inspiring and consistent, it gives you reliable tools to proceed further in Molecular biology and Biochemistry. Due to its unique structure and tasks which are challenging but fun it somehow makes you believe in your own powers and judgement, and this is extremely important for anyone seriously interested in science. It makes even the beginners bold enough to read primary literature, and even understand it (!).
  • Brett Markham
    This class takes what you learned about DNA replication before to the next level. I am reviewing this after the third week of the class and I want to give you an idea of what the first week was like. The next two weeks are structurally similar, but...
  • Emin Gabrielyan
    This is a top quality course. I just finished the last quiz of the last unit. It was intense but very very interesting. The staff, community members, and all other students are very responsive, respectful, and interested in what they learn. Prof. Steve...
  • Lal Ninan
    First of all I want to thank Drs. Bell and Baker, their graduate students, and MIT Biology staff for designing this wonderful course. I had completed 700.x (Intro to Biology - secret of Life) with the express goal of deep-diving into molecular biology....
  • Anonymous
    I'm taking this course to prepare for grad school and a change of career (from tech/management to bioengineering/management). Initially, I tried to take this course after getting 2/3 of the way through 7.00x, and found it challenging enough to want to...
  • Maximilian Vogt

    Maximilian Vogt is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    To put my review into context: I hold a MSc in Agricultural sciences, working in (molecular) plant breeding. That means: I am familiar with genetics and replication, mitosis, meiosis. This course is of interest for me because I wanted to get behind the...
  • Anonymous
    I just completed week 3 and so far it has been fascinating ! As a chemical engineering master student with no background in biology other than high school, I do have to look up a few things and invest a bit more time but everything still makes sense and the course is still exciting. I am looking forward to the remaining weeks of the course and will definitely consider taking part 2 and 3 in the future! I will also most probably purchase the certificate, since I want to support the makers of the course and especially because I think it will be beneficial for my future career.
    Thank you so much.
  • Anonymous
    Challenging, and very thought provoking-demanding. Some of the most intricate and interesting biology I have ever encountered. The quizzes are "fun" because you are forced to use and apply what you have learned, even into unfamiliar settings. The way learning should happen - application vs pure memorization. Be prepared to stop and start videos often to take notes (at least I needed to).
  • Anonymous
    I'm coming to this course after graduating with a BA and having taken no science classes since high school, except for 7.00x (Intro to Bio) on EdX a few months ago while reading through my old AP textbook. I took this course because Biochemistry was temporarily...
  • Anonymous
    I found the videos clear and the questions and quizzes fun. I posted one question which I hope will be answered. This course has first priority of my spare time and I intend to continue with the next courses in the sequence.
  • Anonymous
    Very informative course, also the way it is conducted is very efficient, with a focus on different assays that show how scientists discover those mechanisms and also how can we assay for different aspects of DNA replication.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoy the course. I see the effort people put in the questions. I love that the questions aren't simple recall of the facts, but some hypothetical situations from the lab experience.
  • Profile image for 杨瀚豪
    Very good course, lots of knowledge, a little bit challenging for an A-level student at the start but you just need to spend time in it and read the questions carefully in the quiz questions.
  • Anonymous
    Really nicely explained (from the perspective of a PhD student in the field of biology with only some basic knowledge on DNA damage and repair)
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is a very good course. I withheld a star because I feel certain subjects need to be clarified more as they are explained, especially the assays. The devil is in the details when it comes to assays and every assumption needs to be made clear. Animations...
  • Profile image for Kees Pauw
    Kees Pauw
    I have just finished the last quiz of this course and I can only say I have learned a lot by taking this course!

    I enjoyed the lectures with video animations. They were great! What would be helpful if slides were made from the blackboard and video’s which go along with lectures. But overall the course enhanced my knowledge on DNA replication. What I found most interesting was that prof Bell elaborated much on assays. This enhanced my understanding of how to do the lab work, without actual being in the lab. It would help if videos’s of real lab work on the assays are done on a practical level. Overall this made this course not a solely theoretical course.
  • The class was informative. However, the virtually complete dissociation of lecture presentations and materials from the laboratory driven application questions in the quizzes was disturbing. If I want to be an experimentalist, I will take classes that...

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