|Module Title||PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Ian Scott|
|Other staff||Dr Luis Mur|
|Course delivery||Lecture||30 Hours|
|Assessment||Continuous assessment||Continuous assessment of workshop oral and written presentation||30%|
|Exam||3 Hours One 3-hour theory exam||70%|
|Resit assessment||3 Hours 3 hour theory exam (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative)|
Features of plant biology with the potential for genetic modification will be reviewed from the whole plant to the molecular levels. Developmental aspects of plant physiology will emphasize plant hormones, which have been involved in the earliest examples of plant genetic modification. A range of topics relating to stem elongation will be covered, including the mode of action of auxin in causing cell elongation. The role of gibberellins and the newly discovered brassinosteroids in stem growth will be reviewed with particular emphasis on genes and their isolation. Some of the most important breeding genes in wheat and rice, responsible for the so-called Green Revolution, are involved in gibberellin signal transduction and have recently been cloned.
The nature of senescence as a programmed phenomenon is outlined, together with a discussion of prospects for its genetic modification, for example using cytokinins. Fruit development is covered with details of the transgene approaches to the control of ripening and storage properties, which produced the first genetically modified products in UK supermarkets.
Plant responses to stresses such as heat, cold and drought have immense agricultural importance, and projections of climate change emphasize the urgency of improving crop tolerances of these abiotic stresses. Considerable research progress has been made in recent years in the isolation of genes that may contribute plant stress tolerance.
Workshops will enable students to focus on topics of particular interest in preparing an advanced essay and seminar presentation.