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Laboratory diagnostics: Molecular biology

Molecular diagnostics includes, by definition, all tests and methods used to identify a disease (or the predisposition for a disease) or pathogenic disease agent by analysing the DNA- or RNA of an organism.
Researchers in veterinary science increasingly need to make use of molecular biological techniques in their studies. Knowledge of an organism at the molecular level is required for many applications, for example:

  • Identification and characterization of pathogens
  • Development of molecular diagnostic tests
  • Molecular phylogenetics
  • Development of recombinant vaccines
  • Characterization of genetic diseases
  • Parentage analysis

Complete genome sequences of many pathogens are now available and will allow tremendous advances in studying their biology and in improving the diagnosis and control of parasites.

This module will familiarize you with some of the basic techniques used in molecular biology, with the aim of providing the knowledge (and hands-on experience) to allow you to get started in your own laboratory and use these techniques in your own field of veterinary research. The module is subdivided in the following submodules:

  • General theory
  • Blotting / Hybridization techniques
  • Conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Cloning and DNA sequencing
  • Real-time PCR

Following completion of the online module or parts thereof, practicals will be scheduled to allow you to acquire the necessary skills.