PLANT SC 7225WT - Foundations of Plant Biotechnology

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course involves teaching sessions that may be attended by both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. In this course, students will explore the basic concepts central to understanding how genotype contributes to phenotype in plants. The emphasis will be on how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation, and how plant breeding can be used to exploit genetic variation to develop and/or select genotypes that are superior for specific purposes. The course will provide an introduction to plant physiology, molecular biology, basic genetics and plant breeding. Students will learn how to use biotechnology to study genotypic and phenotypic variation with particular reference to the impact of the environment on resource capture, growth, development and reproduction in plants. Case studies for plant breeding strategies, gene expression/regulation and post-translational modification will be provided. The course will also include a description of appropriate biometrical methods needed to design, summarise and analyse experiments and an introduction to the different forms of scientific communication available to present results to different target audiences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 7225WT
    Course Foundations of Plant Biotechnology
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 17 hours per week for 6 weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible PLANT SC 7220WT
    Restrictions Available to GradCertPHB, GradDipPHB, MHB students only
    Course Description This course involves teaching sessions that may be attended by both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students.
    In this course, students will explore the basic concepts central to understanding how genotype contributes to phenotype in plants. The emphasis will be on how factors at the cellular level contribute to the expression of genotypes and hence to phenotypic variation, and how plant breeding can be used to exploit genetic variation to develop and/or select genotypes that are superior for specific purposes. The course will provide an introduction to plant physiology, molecular biology, basic genetics and plant breeding. Students will learn how to use biotechnology to study genotypic and phenotypic variation with particular reference to the impact of the environment on resource capture, growth, development and reproduction in plants. Case studies for plant breeding strategies, gene expression/regulation and post-translational modification will be provided. The course will also include a description of appropriate biometrical methods needed to design, summarise and analyse experiments and an introduction to the different forms of scientific communication available to present results to different target audiences.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Amanda Able

    Course staff include Professor Amanda Able, Dr Chad Habel, Jessica Scott, Dr Olena Kravchuk, Professor Diane Mather and Professor Mike Wilkinson. Guest lecturers who are active researchers in plant biotechnology on the Waite Campus provide case studies.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Students will be given details of each session at the start of classes.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Successful students will be able to:
    1. explain the basics of the physiological and molecular processes that occur during plant growth and development
    2. understand and explain the structure of a gene and the role that genome structure plays in gene expression
    3. evaluate the ability of genomes to evolve and the impact on phenotype
    4. use basic biotechnological techniques to explore molecular biology of plants
    5. use basic biometric and statistical methods to design and analyse experiments
    6. communicate effectively using oral and written means for both scientific and non-technical audiences
    7. cooperate and work effectively as a member of a team to solve problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 5-7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6,7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 4
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 6
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lab coats and closed-in shoes are required for laboratory work.
    Recommended Resources
    The lecturers use various textbooks as a guide but rely heavily on scientific journals and bioinformatics databases/websites for their lectures. Details will be provided in class. TURNITIN is also used as an educational tool. The DVD ‘Introduction to Molecular Techniques: Theory and Practice’ is also useful (see www.moleculartechniques.com.au). 
    Online Learning
    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website. MyUni will also be used extensively by academic staff and students through the use of blogs, wikis and online discussion forums.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This short intensive course combines elements of biometrics and professional development skills with scientific learning by using problem-based learning. Traditional practical and lecture exercises are also used. Full details will be provided at the start of the course.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit 6 week contact-time course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 48 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week 1
    Lectures: Plant resource capture; basics of molecular biology techniques
    Practicals: Plant anatomy and function
    Class Exercises: Concordancing; phenotypic variation in plants; personal learning and leadership styles and groupwork; deconstructing scientific text and argument mapping; finding scientific information

    Week 2
    Lectures: Phenotypic variation in plants; plant reproduction and genetic variation; generation of genetic variation; genome structure and roles
    Practicals: Biometrics, phenotypic variation in plants
    Class Exercises: Deconstructing scientific text; finding scientific information; basic genetic principles in plants

    Week 3
    Lectures: Gene structure, gene expression, protein expression and regulation
    Practicals: Biometrics; practical project (RNA and protein extraction)
    Class Exercises: Writing and critiquing a scientific paper; interpreting figures; presentation of a scientific poster; using endnote; molecular biology techniques

    Weeks 4 & 5
    CONTACT BREAK except meetings scheduled to provide feedback on critical review drafts.

    Week 6
    Practicals: Bioinformatics (introduction to internet resources for use in transcriptomics, designing primers); Practical project (protein quantification); Biometrics
    Class Exercises: Effective oral presentation

    Week 7
    Lectures: Genome maps; genetic improvement of plants
    Practicals: Practical project (RNA quantification, measuring RNA expression and cDNA, measuring protein activity); Biometrics

    Week 8
    Lectures: Introduction to regulation and ethics; case studies of plant biotechnology
    Class Exercises: Assessment of group oral presentations, How to do an exam and exam revision

    Week 9
    Final Exam 

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment will be by written examination and project work based on group activities, individual projects and practical exercises. The project and practical work will use a problem-based learning approach. 

    Assessment task

    Type of assessment

    Percentage of total   assessment for grading purposes

    Hurdle (Yes/No)

    Outcomes being   assessed

    Critical   review and experimental design

    Formative/Summative

    25%

    No

    1-6

    On-line submissions

    Formative/Summative

    10%

    No

    1, 2, 4

    Biometrics

    Formative/Summative

    10%

    No

    5

    Group   powerpoint presentation

    Formative/Summative

    20%

    No

    1-7

    Practical   report

    Formative/Summative

    15%

    No

    1-7

    Exam

    Summative

    20%

    No

    1-4

    Assessment Detail
    The critical review will be prepared by the students in conjunction with a number of professional development exercises to develop their work. Formative feedback will be provided prior to the submission of the summative assessment. The on-line submissions and biometrics exercises will be a mixture of open-ended and multiple choice questions which will need to be answered within a certain timeframe. The prac report will use data from the practical project exercises and will require the student to write a short scientific paper style report about their data. They will also need to analyse that data. Students will also work in groups to analyse a given set of plant biotechnology data and then present that data as a group to their class mates. The final exam is a 3 hour summative examination held at the end of the course.
    Submission
    Submission is generally via email to the academic responsible or through TURNITIN.

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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