Methods in Biotechnology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: BIO 230

       Course Name: Methods in Biotechnology

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

BIO 121 with a minimum grade of C or consent of the department chairperson

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Laboratory course on biotechnology focusing on the molecular and genetic principles and processes involved in biotechnology. The course covers the theory and practice of commonly used techniques in recombinant DNA technology. Content includes separation techniques of biological macromolecules such as nucleic acids and proteins, growing bacteria, isolation of DNA, DNA cloning, and PCR.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should understand and be able to:

  1. Describe different types of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
  2. Manipulate and grow different microorganisms
  3. Describe the DNA structure and the flow of genetic information.  This includes DNA replication, gene transcription, and protein translation.
  4. Describe the roles of microorganisms in disease, environmental cycles, industrial applications, and biotechnology.
  5. Describe and perform molecular biology and genetic engineering techniques with particular emphasis on restriction digests, cloning, Southern blotting, Western blotting, PCR, and DNA typing.
  6. Describe the applications of molecular biology and genetic engineering techniques in human health and welfare, medicine, agriculture and the environment.
  7. Describe the use of the human genome project, gene therapy, molecular diagnostics, forensics, transgenic plants and animals, animal cloning, microorganisms in industrial biotechnology.
  8. Describe in theory and the different genetic sequence databases
  9. Demonstrate the use of good laboratory procedures
  10. Describe issues related specifically to biotechnology industry, such as understanding the product development process, ethical, legal and social concerns

Learning Outcomes

By the completion of your biology courses at Oakton, you will have gained the experience to.....

  1. Think critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.
  2. Communicate – communicate ideas, concepts, and information through written and oral means. Collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
  3. Demonstrate literacy – demonstrate the ability to read critically within content areas. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and communicate data, information, ideas, and concepts. Assess, critique, and select from a variety of information resources.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility – demonstrate an understanding of personal responsibility and ethical behavior in one’s own academic and civic life.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

WeekLecture topicsLab topics
1 Introduction & biotechnology overview Biotech Lab Equipment and Safety Quiz Metric System and calculations for preparing solutions
2 Cell structure, function and organization. Nucleic Acids- their importance and function, enzymes, protein structure and function Dimensional Analysis and Volumetric Determination and Error; Serial Dilution practice Solution Preparation: Media preparation (LB agar plates), Molarity and Dilutions/Concentration
3 Microbial growth & metabolism. Aplication of metabolites/enzymes to biotechnology processes Lab Notebook and Formal Lab Write Up Explanation / perform serial dilutions of the soil and plating Aseptic techniques/ primary screening for Antibiotic producing bacteria or fungi
4 DNA/RNA Antibiotic screening results/grow and study the model organisms like bacteria and yeast Sterile Techniques, Tissue Culture and Cell Counting : (cell transfer: CT) hemocytometer, viable cell ID
5 DNA to protein/protein structure Extraction of DNA from strawberries/ cheek cells/CT/Gel Electrophoresis and DNA Fingerprinting Lab/DNA digest set-ups and agarose prep, CT: E.coli for competent cells/ Gel Electrophoresis and DNA Fingerprinting Lab Factors affecting gel quality and molecular mass determination. Coat LB agar plates with ampicillin/kanamycin separately
6 Gene Expression in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes Preparation of competent cells Transformation: Genetic Engineering (with pAMP/ pAmp and pKan) Transformation: Genetic Engineering (with pAMP/ pAmp and pKan) Discuss results of transformation. (repeat if necessary) Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) Colony propagation and purity validation/CT for plasmid minipreps
7 Microbial genetics GFP: Plasmid Mini Prep and Validation Gel. Protein Standard Curve/(Colorimetric Assay using Spectrophotometer)/CT
8 Exam-2 Lab –Midterm exam
9 Recombinant DNA techniques-1 Protein GFP: P-glo protein isolation and purification (affinity chromatography) Protein (P-glo)Estimation and Concentration Determination
10 Recombinant DNA techniques-1 Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis/Staining Western Blots set up Run Western Blots/protein transfer
PCR: ALU Insert Lab:
Theory of PCR:
  1. URL review
  2. Tissue sample preparation and PCR reaction set up
11 Plant and animal Biotechnology Western Blots results/PCR ALU Insert: Run gel and discuss lab results Inoculation for plasmid miniprep (pAmp and pKan) Plasmid minipreps/ Restriction Enzyme digestions set-up PCR ALU Insert Southern blot set up(with non radio active material)
12 DNA fingerprinting and Forensic Analysis Restriction Enzyme digestions of Plasmid DNA (pAmp and pKan)

Results of Southern blot for PCR ALU fragments
Agarose gel electrophoresis of the plasmid digestions/ determine vector: insert DNA ratios/set up O/N ligation
13 Bioremediation DNA transformation Fermentation lab set up ( grapes inoculated with yeast for Alcohol production) Inoculate to select the clones/ genome analysis using NCBI data base
14 Brief overview of Immunology Plasmid miniprep and R.E digestions Agarose gel electrophoresis and discuss the results
Fermentation lab results
15 Practical Applications of Immunology/vaccines Enzyme linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA), Multi-channel micropipettor practice and ELISA theory. ELISA lab: Probing serum for rabbit antigens.
Spectrophotometric analysis for maximum resolution
16 Gene Therapy and stem cell research lab reports and presentations Lab reports and presentations
17 FINAL week exam exam

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture material is presented in lecture-discussion format.  Students are expected to participate by asking questions, by responding to questions asked of them, and by performing problem-solving exercises.  Visual aids are often used.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

May vary depending on instructor, but may include:

  • mandatory attendance during lectures
  • active participation in class and satisfactory completion of written assignments
  • satisfactory performance in written lecture tests or quizzes
  • Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

INTRODUCTION TO BIOTECHNOLOGY, (2nd Ed. William J. Thieman & Michael A. Palldino) Benjamin Cumming (2009) ISBN: 0-321-49145-9

OCC Customized Biotechnology lab manual

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

May vary depending on instructor, and may include:

  • objective and/or essay lecture exams
  • written assignments or projects
  • lecture quizzes

XI.   Other Course Information

Additional course information may vary but may include:

  • information concerning group and/or individual reviews scheduled during class time or outside of class time
  • information concerning biology tutors
  • suggestions for success in class (i.e. careful note-taking by students)
  • use of study sheets to aid in preparation for lecture or laboratory exams

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at