PLANT SC 7226WT - Molecular Plant Breeding

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

This course involves teaching sessions that may be attended by both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. Plant molecular biology can be incorporated into crop improvement programs via plant transformation (gene technology) and/or via the application of genetic marker information. Plant cell and tissue culture is used in plant transformation and has other applications in plant breeding. This course considers the scientific basis for the application of plant transformation, molecular markers and cell and tissue culture in plant breeding.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 7226WT
    Course Molecular Plant Breeding
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 12 hours per week for 6 weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge PLANT SC 7225WT
    Restrictions Available to Biotechnology (Plant Biotechnology) students only
    Assessment Final exam, tutorials, assignments, reports
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Diane Mather

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1 Understand and explain scientific principles behind plant cell and tissue culture, plant transformation, molecular markers and genome mapping.
    2 Analyse information from plant molecular biology research and recognize its potential applications in crop improvement.
    3 Synthesize information from plant molecular biology and plant breeding to design plant molecular breeding strategies.
    4 Evaluate the relative merits of plant transformation, marker-assisted breeding and conventional phenotypic selection for particular situations.
    5 Demonstrate skills in collaborative group learning processes, emergent technologies and the ability to apply these principles to a specified project.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lab coats and closed-in shoes are required for laboratory work.

    Prior to the course, students should read
    • Tester, M & Langridge P 2010 ‘Breeding technologies to increase crop production in a changing world’ Science 327: 818-822. This article provides a short introduction to a range of molecular breeding technologies.
    Recommended Resources
    For additional background on molecular markers and marker-assisted selection, students may wish to read sections 20.1-20.5, 20.11 and 20.12 and Chapter 22 of the following book:
    • Acquaah, G. 2012, Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding, 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing, Malden.
    For additional background on genetic modification, students may wish to read the following book chapter:
    • Xu, Y. 2010 'Gene transfer and genetically modified plants' Pp 458-500 In Xu, Y. (Ed.) Molecular Plant Breeding, CABI.
    Online Learning
    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website. MyUni will be used extensively by academic staff and students .
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course includes a series of lectures, complemented by practical sessions and problem-based group learning sessions.

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

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

    A full-time student in a 3-unit course should expect to spend a total of 156 hours on their studies. This includes both the formal contact time required in the course (e.g. lectures, group work, practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g. reading, writing and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    This course comprises of lecture, practicals and group work. It is delivered in intensive mode across six weeks, starting in the second half of the semester.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The group problem-based learning project is a small group discovery experience.
  • 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 Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Group learning project Summative TBA 30% LO2-LO5
    Active participation (mark to be assigned by course coordinator based on active participation in group work and other aspects of the course, taking into account the results of a peer assessment process for the group project) Summative TBA 5% LO2-LO5
    Short assignments (0n-line questions posted on MyUni) Summative TBA 30% LO1
    Final examination Summatvie TBA 35% LO1-LO4
    Assessment Detail
    Short assignments (30%)
    During the course, students will be expected to answer short questions related to the course content. Questions and due dates will be posted on MyUni. One purpose of these assignments is to encourage students to keep up with the reading and lecture materials.

    Group project (30%)
    Students are assigned to work in groups, as consultants advising a client on the application of biotechnology to achieve a specific objective in plant breeding. Each group will prepare a report (up to 3000 words). Each report should include:
    1. An executive summary
    2. A brief introduction to the breeding objective
    3. An introduction to the approach
    4. A realistic plan for how the approach could be applied to this problem
    5. A discussion of the advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with the approach
    6. A list of recommendations that will be helpful to your client.
    7. A list of references cited in the report

    The group report will be assessed based on
    * The extent to which it demonstrates a thorough understanding of the problem and the approach
    * The scientific validity and feasibility of the recommended plan 
    * Professional presentation and clarity of the report )
    * Whether the recommendations are logical and consistent with the information presented 
    * Whether the report uses references appropriately and thoroughly 

    Active participation (5%)
    A mark will be assigned by course coordinator based on active participation in group work and other aspects of the course, taking into account the results of a peer assessment process for the group project.

    Final examination (35%)
    The final examination will be a three-hour written examination, with questions designed to assess students' understanding of the concepts covered in the course.

    All written work is to be submitted via MyUni.
    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.

  • Student Feedback

    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 ( 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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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