About this Book

Introduction to Molecular Biology is curated from open-source materials for BIOL-L211- a core course required for students majoring in biology at Indiana University Bloomington. Students enrolled in this course have completed college-level introductory biology and chemistry. The text is tailored for a hybrid format and serves as the primary source of learning material before a class meeting focused on problem-solving. The book closely reflects the structure of the course with Molecular Biology in the News interwoven with content.

Following the principles of Universal Design for Learning, multiple means of representation are provided for students to engage with the content. Links to outside content for further exploration, instructor-endorsed videos, and animations have been paired with the text.

This book contains material from several Open educational resources (OER) with CC-BY, CC-BY-SA or CC-BY-NC-SA licensed content.

Material has been curated, modified, reworded, re-ordered, and combined to create a text uniquely aligned with the course and for my students.

I would like to thank all of the authors of the open-source texts that allowed for derivatives to be created. Chapter-level licenses and attributions have been provided for those wishing to reuse this text.

This book would not have been possible without Indiana University  Course Material Transformation Fellowship Program OER Award Program spearheaded by Sarah Hare Scholarly Communication Librarian.

Undoubtedly the in-class experience of using it in my teaching and feedback from some of the many hundreds of students that take this course will be critical, as it was for creating this resource in the first place.

To the Instructor

This document is intended to be a living text and will be updated organically as time permits. Instructors may notice some of the topics typically discussed within a molecular course are not included- such as DNA Damage and Repair, the role of regulatory RNA, and Genome Editing. Future editions will include this material, additional interactive content, and suggestions for case study teaching using molecular biology in the news examples.

In keeping with the core focus of the course on principles over facts, there isn’t a huge emphasis on definitions. Therefore a glossary has not been created at this time.  In addition, there is an intentional simplification of specific topics and a deliberate omission of gene/protein names for some processes.

A list of key terms is provided to the students separately and terms or words that students should get familiar with are highlighted in the text.

As noted above, most pages have licenses that may allow individuals to make changes, save, and print this book. Carefully consult the applicable license(s) provided at Chapter Level before doing so.

My goal in releasing it as an open access resource is to make it easier for colleagues at other colleges and universities to create versions of their own as well as provide suggestions and feedback.

Offers for collaboration , comments, critiques, and requests for access to problems/ learning activities used in class are welcome! Please reach out at





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Introduction to Molecular Biology Copyright © by Sapna Mehta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.