Summative Assessment Element 1 Element 1: Essay and Article (50 ...


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Summative Assessment

Element 1

Element 1: Essay and Article (50%)

Students will submit a 1,500 word essay comparing a key process of prokaryotic to eukaryotic cell
biology. In addition, students should also produce a 500 word article summarising a key
relating to the essay title for a non
specialist audience. The submission of the Essay and Article
should occur as a single Microsoft Word document.

Essay Title: Genes & Genomes in Prokaryotes & Eukaryotes

Deadline: 4th February 2013

Assessment 1:

Learning Outcomes

The essay comparing a key process of prokaryotic to eukaryotic cell biology will assess a student’s
ability to demonstrate their knowledge of key cellular processes (LO1), advances in the theoretical
and practical aspects of the disciplin
e (LO6), evolution of these systems (LO3) and their ability to
utilise the scientific literature (LO4). Both the essay and the article will be assessed on the student’s
ability to produce an informed debate and communicate to a specialist and non
st audience

(LO5 & 8). (Learning Outcomes Assessed 1, 3, 4, 5 & 6, 8).

Article Guidelines

Write a 500 word article summarising a specific area relating to the Genes & Genomes in
Prokaryotes & Eukaryotes. The article does not have to focus on the topics c
overed in your essay,
but does need to focus on a topic or issue which would be of interest to the general public.

The article should be written in a style appropriate for a broadsheet newspaper (e.g. The Guardian
or the Times), and hence a level at whic
h a well educated person could understand. However, the
article should be directed to lay individuals (i.e. individuals with no high level knowledge in a

scientific discipline) and therefore should endeavour to explain concepts fully and not be over reli
on technical terms. Consider using points of interest, such as the identity of the researchers, the
locations the work is taking place and direct quotations, to engage the reader. You should

ensure the article is accompanied by a title which will be

appealing and eye catching for the general
public. Citations and references are not required, since the article is not a piece of academic writing.

Essay Structure

The essay must be written in clear and concise English, normally in the past tense, and s
comprise:Title. The title should include topical keywords and allude to the interesting conclusions of
the essay. A title that emphasizes the main conclusions, or poses a question, has more impact than
one that just describes the nature of the study

Summary. The essay must include a summary (abstract) of not more than 250 words. The summary
must be clear and comprehensible in its own right. References should not be cited, and any
abbreviations used must be defined. The summary should if possible
introduce the subject in the
first sentence and present the main conclusion in the last sentence: when someone is skimming

a block of text, the first and last sentences receive the most attention.

Introduction. You should provide a brief background to
place your essay in the broader context of

microbiology as a whole. You should also provide an indication of the scope of the topics which will

be covered and the significance of these to the public.

Main Body of Text. The text should be divided into a
ppropriate subheadings (unnumbered; the

term Main Body of Text should not be included as one of the subheadings)

Discussion. Should not be too long. Excessive discussion of few facts often gives an impression


poor science. The discussion should provide a summary of the key findings. It may be helpful to

list the main conclusions at the end.

References. These should be academic books journal articles and reviews. Typically between 10

15 references should be

Journal Articles & Reviews

It is a good idea to take a look at some of the journal articles & reviews published

in your discipline This will give you a feel for

• Writing style

• Referencing & Citation

• Presentation standards

• Layout

• Sections


• Note you are mimicking the process not copying the content

Presentation of Tables & Figures

• In essays and literature based assignments tables and figures should not be exact reproductions of
those which have already been published in t
he literature. You should attempt to compile tables
and figures which draw on information present in multiple sources. As such figures should be
selfgenerated using programmes such as Microsoft Powerpoint and imported into the Word
document prior to subm

• Tables and figures should be broadly comprehensible without reference to

the text. Both should be accompanied by a title and a legend if necessary. It is

not necessary to repeat detailed descriptions of methods. Table titles should

precede th
e table. The figure title should be placed below the figure.

• In tables the symbols * † ‡ § ¶ # should be used for footnotes, rather than

superscript letters or numbers. When results are expressed as percentages, the

absolute value(s) corresponding to
100% must be stated. Figures should be

referred to in text as Fig. 1(a) not FIG 1A, Figure 1(A), etc.; or as (Fig. 1a) not

(Figure 1A). Multipart figures should be labelled (a), (b), etc., not A, (A) or B,


You are restricted to the use of one ta

and one figure in the essay

Tables sh
ould be broadly comprehensible
without reference to the text

Figures should be broadly comprehensible

without reference to the text

Using Direct Quotes

• It is permissible to use direct quotes

• Direct quotes must be placed in quotation marks

• A citation and reference in the References must be provided.

• Direct quotes should not be used unnecessarily or over used

Over use of quotes shows you can
identify key points but are not able to synthe
sise this information into a coherent


• “The future of humanity and microbes likely will unfold as

episodes of a suspense thriller that could be titled Our Wits

Versus Their Genes” (Lederberg, 2000).

• Lederberg, J. (2000) Infectious history.
Science 288, 287

Length Penalties

Written submissions should not

exceed the maximum word limit
(including the figure and table
legends and any appendices, but not the summary or references) and/or more than the maximum

number of figures and tables.

For submissions which exceed these limits, 5% will be deducted

for each breach of the conditions outlined below to reflect the monetary penalties placed on
authors by scientific journals. The penalty will be 5% per 500 words or part thereof over
and 5% per figure or table over t
he maximum (You are restricted
to the use of one table
and one figure in the essay).

Penalties apply to both the essay and article

i.e. an essay of 1501 words and an article of 501
words will have 10% deducted


Essay Guidelines

References. These should be acade
mic books journal articles and
reviews. Typically between 10
15 references should be used.

All sources of information must be referenced and cited according
to the

School of Science & Engineering guidan
ce p
rovided in the appendix of the
module handbook or at
the following site

Biological Species Names. These should be italicised and presented in

full at first mention (i.e. Escherichia coli) and abbreviat
ed according to

scientific convention (i.e. E. coli; see Module Handbook Appendix for

further details).

Abbreviations, Units & other details: Abbreviations should be defined at

first mention in both the summary and main text (see Module Handbook

Appendix for further details).

Recommended & Preferred

Use web sites sparingly and generally focus on publically funded organisations

Do not use or cite lecture notes. Find an alternative


Annual Reviews of



in Microbiology*

Current Opinion in


Microbiology & Molecular

Biology Reviews*

FEMS Microbiological


*Journals available

Health Protection Agency

( )

World Health Organisation


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


National Institute for Allergy and Infectious

Diseases (

Genomes Online (

The National Center for Biotechnology


Society for General Microbiology

Microbe World

The Process

• Plan a structure & key

themes (mind map)

• Identify multiple sources

• Make notes & record sources

• Align notes with themes

• Produce a draft on the basis

of your notes

• Review & Edit

• Submit

• Start Early

• Use a thesaurus

• Use a biology dictionary

• Use tools such as


(see Library


• Use Turnitin

Genes, Genomes & Genomics

• Gene

The basic unit of inheritance, by which hereditary characteristics

are transmitted from parent to offspring. At the molecular level a


gene consists of DNA which exerts its influence on the

organism’s form & function by encoding & directing the synthesis

of a protein, tRNA, rRNA or other structural RNA.

• Genome

The complete DNA sequence of a
n organism, consisting of gene
encoding DN
A sequences & non
encoding DNA sequences

• Genomics

Discipline of sequencing, mapping, analyzing, and comparing



• Each team should take 5 minutes to jot down points

of comparison in relation to the themes

Genome Location

Genome Archite

Genome Size

Gene Number

Gene Structure

Gene Expression

• Each team should present their comparisons to the

tutorial group

Further Reading

• Alberts, B., Bray, D., Lewis, J., Raff M., Roberts K. & Walter, P. (2008) Molecular

Biology of
the Cell 5th Edition. Garland Publishing, London [Chapter 1]

• Bendich, A.J. & Drlica, K. (2000) Prokaryotic an eukaryotic chromosomes: what’s

the difference? BioEssays 22 (5), 481

• Lane, N. & Martin, W. (2010) the energetics of genome complexity. N
ature 467,


• Madigan, M.T., Dunlap, P.V., Martinko, J.M. & Clark, D.P. (2009) Biology of

Microorganisms 12


Edition, Prentice Hall International (UK) London [Chapter 1

& 2]

• Pace, N.R. (2006)Time for a change. Nature 441, 289

• Pallen
, M.J. (2010) Time to recognise that mitochondria are bacteria. Trends in

Microbiology doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2010.11.001

• Pennisi, E. (2010) Shining a light on the genome’s ‘dark matter’. Science 330,