PLNT*6250 Colloquium in Plant Breeding & Genetics

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2022 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. 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.


An open discussion course designed to review and critically analyse contemporary issues in plant genetics and breeding.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Graduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Enhance their ability to explore and evaluate areas of science outside a thesis topic.
  2. Synthesize a seminar that identifies the most relevant information and shows the progressive development and understanding of a topic.
  3. Improve oral presentation skills.

Lecture Content:

Labs & Seminars:
Seminar topics which individual students may choose:
  1. Endosperm Balance Number and Interploidy Hybridization
  2. Genomes after Polyploidizaiton, Silencing and Rearrangements
  3. 2n gametes and Polyploid Evolution
  4. Triploidy
  5. Ancient Polyploidization Events, Whole Genome Duplications in the Life History of Plants
  6. Evolutionary Consequences of Autoploidy and Alloploidy
  7. Studies of Resynthesized Polyploids and Their Use in Breeding
  8. Pentaploid
  9. Homeologue Expression Bias, Divergence of Duplicated Genes in Polyploidy
  10. Gene Action in Polyploids (e.g. additive vs non-additive, fixed heterozygosity, hybrid vigor)
  11. Polyploidy Breeding with Bridge Species
  12. Endo-reduplication and Cell Size
  13. Meiosis in Newly Formed Auto- and Allo-ploids
  14. Your pre-approved suggestion

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark (%) Learning Outcomes Assessed
Preliminary Outline 10% 1
Participation 15% 1,2
Seminar 75% 2,3

Final examination:

There is no final examination scheduled for this course.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Lab Manual:


Other Resources:


Field Trips:


Additional Costs:


Course Policies:

Grading Policies: 

Late penalty for submission of preliminary outline is 10% per day unless academic consideration has been granted.

Please note that these policies are binding unless academic consideration is given to an individual student.

Course Policy on Group Work:


Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

Additional Notes
The seminar you give should be at the level of a 4th year science/genetics student who has general knowledge in the discipline but not significant depth in the specific topic. One should assume that a 4th year student can comprehend data from a scientific paper when explained well but basic concepts may need to be reviewed succinctly to refresh one’s memory for the best understanding of the topic. For data derived from new or complex methodology, an explanation of the methodology may be necessary. Students may choose a topic from the list above.
In this exercise you will identify critical papers/experiments that significantly enhanced our knowledge in a particular topic. As part of the seminar you should explain the critical discoveries and the experimentation/data that led to the conclusions. The seminar should also tell a complete story with sufficient background and general discoveries leading up to the critical experiments that will be explained. The fundamental challenge is to tell a story that balances generalities and background with some in-depth science.
The content of the seminar is up to you. Some topics may be broad; you do not need to cover everything there is to know. Rather, you can develop a focus or theme within your topic area. In some cases it may be appropriate to focus on the work in one crop to tell a complete story. Remember…this is a genetics and breeding colloquium, so a focus on genetic analysis, and where appropriate, application to breeding, are most appropriate. Seminar length- approximately 40 min.
Course requirements / logistics:
• All students will be required to submit a general outline of their talks, preliminary reference lists, and final descriptive title on February 1.
• Practice seminars will be held on Mondays of the same week the seminar is given and are meant to provide positive feedback to improve clarity and understanding of the presentation. Scientific questions will be reserved for the Friday public seminar. The first seminar is on Friday February 15.
• All students are required to attend the practice and public seminars and submit a signed evaluation sheet at the public seminar. Names will be removed before distribution to the presenting student.
• An announcement with the abstract and reference list will be submitted on Monday of the seminar week and distributed electronically to the Department by the presenting student (template attached). The title of your talk can be more descriptive than that in the original list of topics.
• Students are expected to be engaged in the question period after each seminar.
Choice of topics and dates:
At the first class meeting at 10:30 am on Monday Jan. 7, in CRSC 307, students will be asked to volunteer for a seminar date and topic. Volunteers will be accepted in weekly order, starting with the first seminar on February 15. The first volunteer will have his/her first choice of available topics, etc. If no one volunteers, a name will be pulled from a hat until all slots are filled.
If you have an interesting topic idea not on the attached list and it is unrelated to your thesis or previous term papers, you may get approval prior to Jan. 7.
Seminar Dates: Depending upon class size there may be two seminars in certain weeks. This is a preliminary schedule. If additional students register, a third seminar may be added to specific dates below. The final time slots will be available on January 11.
Seminar Date (Practice)
February 14 (Feb 10) - 3:00
February 28 (Feb 24) - 3:00
March 6 (Mar 2) - 3:00
March 13 (Mar 9) - 3:00
March 20 (Mar 16) - 3:00
March 27 (Mar 23) - 3:00
April 3 (Mar 30) - 3:00
Additional times if necessary

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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