This course is not offered in the Fall 2021 semester. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.
This course studies the molecular genetics of plants. The topics include: plant genome diversity and synteny; Arabidopsis thaliana genome, hormonal, environmental and developmental regulation of gene expression; chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes; and gene expression and silencing in transgenics. The course will be delivered using a lecture and paper discussion format. Students will learn and use a variety of computer techniques to search and analyze plant genome databases.
Plants are immobile, autotrophic and multicellular: How do genes and gene regulation make immobility possible? How are plants and plant molecular genetics unique compared to animals (mobile, heterotrophic), microbes (unicellular) or fungi (immobile, heterotrophic)? In this course, you will be given weekly background lectures (one per week) in plant molecular genetics including guided tutorials using online genetics, genomics, molecular biology, proteomics and metabolomics databases. Topics will include plant proteins and proteomics, evolution of plant proteins and plant genomes, coordination of nuclear and chloroplast genomes, plant gene regulation, and the molecular genetics of primary and secondary metabolism, biotic and abiotic stress resistance and plant development. In addition, the class will be divided into small tutorial group sections which will each meet once per week with the course instructor. The purpose of the tutorial section format is to solve problems in plant molecular genetics using independent problem-based learning. In the problem-based learning component, students will learn about the practice of being a critical scientist, which involves understanding what is truly known and unknown, designing logical experiments to test hypotheses, creating and defending grant proposals and peer reviewing of the proposals of others. The course will also include formal career mentoring.