MEDFL5225 – A molecular approach to genetic and epigenetic gene regulation, from basic research to the clinic

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Course content

In depth understanding of molecular methods used for addressing genetic and epigenetic phenomena in basic research and in the clinic.

The understanding of the bases for genetic and epigenetic inheritance has been improved tremendously over the last decades. While Gregor Mendels results completely revolutionized the basic understanding of genetic inheritance with his discoveries in garden pees more than 150 years ago, the understanding of inheritance has recently been challenged by the many dynamic chemical modifications on histones, DNA and RNA that regulate gene expression. Such modifications are able to switch on and off genes without changing the coding sequence of DNA. The very fast switches of individual or group of genes being expressed following fertilization and during development can now be studied in model organisms. What is more, these rapid switches in gene regulation that is required for cellular homeostasis and normal development can also be incorrectly regulated and lead to dysregulation of the cell cycle and cancer.

This course provides an introduction to the various phenomena of genetic and epigenetic inheritance, an updated presentation of novel aspect of epigenetic regulation and examples of epigenetic analysis, including diagnostics and chemotherapeutic agents that have entered the clinic.

Studying genetic and epigenetic regulation in the laboratory is challenging and requires state-of-the-art methodological insight. There will be a particular focus on novel molecular methods used to address these phenomena that includes; analysis of modified bases in DNA and RNA and histone modifications, base-specific DNA sequencing, CHiP sequencing, CRISPR technology, mutant organisms and clinical samples.

Learning outcome

  • Basic understanding of genetic inheritance
  • Overview of epigenetic inheritance “coded by” proteins, DNA and RNA

  • Insight in molecular methods used to address the two above mentioned regulatory mechanisms.

  • Novel insight in recent publications on:

  • Histone modifications

  • DNA modifications on cytosine and adenine

  • RNA mediated epigenetic phenomena

  • Reversible modifications on protein, DNA and RNA

  • Epigenetic regulation following fertilization and development

  • Epigenetic regulation in disease

  • Diagnostics and chemotherapeutic epigenetic


The course is restricted to students at the Medical Student Research Programme at the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry, UiO.

Students apply in StudentWeb

Enrollment to this course is automatically registered in StudentWeb. Applicants will be notified immediately if their application to the course is granted.

The courses MEDFL5225 and MF9225 have common admission.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The candidates need basic knowledge in genetics and molecular biology.


The teaching will start with overview lectures of genetics and epigenetics and continue with more specific introduction to novel principles of epigenetics. During the last 2/3 days of the course, students will present recent findings of epigenetics with a focus on molecular methods.

You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance will be registered.


A home exam will be given at the end of the course.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

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Autumn 2019

14.10. - 18.10.

Application period

1.6. - 1.9.2019



Every autumn

Teaching language