7.16 Experimental Molecular Biology: Biotechnology II

As taught in: Spring 2005

Diagrams of processes for cell death and cell survival.

The mechanisms of DRONC and DIAP1 degradation. Adapted from Martin, 2002. (Image courtesy of Kate Stafford. Used with permission.)




Prof. Christopher Burge

Prof. David Sabatini

Dr. Marilee Ogren-Balkema

Dr. Alice Rushforth

Course Features

Course Highlights

This course features lab protocols and notes on scientific communications.

Course Description

The course applies molecular biology and reverse genetics approaches to the study of apoptosis, or programmed cell death (PCD), in Drosophila cells. RNA interference (RNAi), or double stranded RNA-mediated gene silencing, will be used to inhibit expression of candidate apoptosis-related genes in cultured Drosophila cells. Teams of 2 or 3 students will design and carry out experiments to address questions about the genes involved in the regulation and execution of PCD in this system. Some projects involve the use of DNA damaging agents or other cytotoxic chemicals or drugs to help understand the pathways that control a cell's decision to undergo apoptosis. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication are provided.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .mov.


The experiments described in these materials are potentially hazardous and require a high level of safety training, special facilities and equipment, and supervision by appropriate individuals. You bear the sole responsibility, liability, and risk for the implementation of such safety procedures and measures. MIT shall have no responsibility, liability, or risk for the content or implementation of any of the material presented.

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