PLANT SC 7226WT - Molecular Plant Breeding

Waite Campus - Winter - 2015

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 Winter
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 24 hours per week for 3 weeks
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge PLANT SC 7225WT
    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.
    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.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Diane Mather

    Course Timetable

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

    Please see the Learning & Teaching Activities section of this course outline for a detailed schedule of learning activities for 2015. 

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Students will be able to:
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,3,4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3,4,5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-5
  • 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.
    • Garcia, M & Mather DE 2014 ‘From genes to markers: exploiting gene sequence information to develop tools for plant breeding’, In Fleury, D & Whitford, R (eds.) Crop Breeding: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology vol. 1145, Springer Science+Business Media, New York. This chapter provides essential background that you will need for the computer practical session that you will do on the first day of the course.
    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.

    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
    Date Day Start End Activity Instructor
    15 Monday 9 11 LECTURES
    Introduction to the course
    Markers in plant breeding 
    Diane Mather
    From genes to markers
    (CH Computer Suite 2)
    Melissa Garcia
    16 Tuesday 9 11 LECTURES
    Markers in plant breeding (continued)
    Diane Mather
    1 4 GROUP WORK Jessica Scott
    Diane Mather
    17 Wednesday 9 1 LAB PRAC
    Marker-assisted breeding - part 1
    Tim March
    18 Thursday 11 12 LECTURE
    Genomic selection 
    Diane Mather
    1 4 GROUP WORK Jessica Scott
    Diane Mather
    19 Friday 9 1 LAB PRAC
    Marker-assisted breeding - part 2
    Tim March
    22 Monday 9 11 LECTURE
    GM breeding: achievements and approaches
    Diane Mather
    23 Tuesday 9 11 LECTURE
    GM breeding; regulatort and commercial considerations
    Diane Mather
    1 4 GROUP WORK Jessica Scott
    24 Wednesday 9 1 LAB PRAC
    Transformation - part 1
    Darren Plett and staff
    2 3 VISIT
    Containment facility: PC2 glasshouse
    (Building 9F)
    Jan Nield
    25 Thursday 1 12 LECTURE
    From transgenic plant to transgenic cultivar: the Golden Rice experience
    Diane Mather
    1 4 GROUP WORK Jessica Scott
    26 Friday 9 1 LAB PRAC:
    Transformation - part 2
    Darren Plett and staff
    29 Monday 9 11 LECTURES
    Applications of tissue culture in plant breeding
    Next-generation mutation breeding: TILLING and eco-TILLING
    Diane Mather
    30 Tuesday 9 1 LECTURES
    Novel plant breeding technologies
    Diane Mather
    1 4 GROUP WORK  Jessica Scott
    1 Wednesday 9 10 LECTURE
    Application of biotechnology in commercial wheat breeding
    Haydn Kuchel
    10:30 11:30 LECTURE
    Application of biotechnology  in almond breeding
    Michelle Wirthensohn
    12 1 LECTURE
    Application of biotechnology in ornamental eucalypt breeding
    Kate Delaporte
    2 Thursday 11 12 LECTURE
    Biotechnology in hybrid breeding
    Ryan Whitford
    1 4 GROUP WORK Jessica Scott
    3 Friday 11 1 Review session Diane Mather
    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

    Friday 10 July

    35% LO2 - LO5
    Short assignments (on-line questions posted on MyUni) Summative To be scheduled during the course 30% LO1
    Final examination Summative Tuesday 7 July 35% LO1 - LO4
    Assessment Detail
    Short assignments
    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
    Students are assigned to work in groups, as consultants to a breeder of durum wheat. Each group will prepare a report (up to 3000 words) on whether and how a specific approach could be used to introduce the lutein esterification trait into durum wheat. Each report should include:
    1. An executive summary
    2. A brief introduction to the breeding objective
    3. An introduction to the assigned approach
    4. A realistic plan for how the assigned approach could be applied to this problem
    5. A discussion of the advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with the assigned 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 assigned approach (10 marks)
    • The scientific validity and feasibility of the recommended plan (10 marks)
    • Professional presentation and clarity of the report (5 marks)
    • Whether the recommendations are logical and consistent with the information presented (5 marks)
    • Whether the report uses references appropriately and thoroughly (5 marks)
    At the discretion of the instructors, marks for individual group members may be moderated based on inequality of contributions by group members, as assessed based on observations of instructors in combination with student input in an anonymous peer assessment survey.

    Final examination
    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
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