MBG*3100 Plant Genetics

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2023 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.

This course examines reproduction in plants, genome organization, organelle and polyploid genetics, and analyses of mutations, genetic variation and linkage with classical and modern approaches.

Pre-Requisites: (MBG*2040 or MBG*2400), STAT*2040


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for course schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Identify and derive mechanisms that contribute to pollination biology.
  2. Identify characteristics that distinguish genome organization among plant species at the nuclear and organelle levels.
  3. Determine the genetic basis of a trait from mutant identification and analysis, to map-based cloning.
  4. Determine inheritance in polyploids.
  5. Identify applications of technological advances to plant genetics.
  6. Analyse journal articles related to plant genetics.
  7. Solve analytical problems in genetics.

Lecture Content:

Topics to be covered in lectures include:
  • Plant Reproduction
    • Sexual
    • Asexual
  • Natural Pollination Biology of Angiosperms
    • Self-pollination
    • Cross-pollination
      • Mechanisms
      • Self-incompatibility
        • Classical genetic analysis
        • Molecular analyses
  • Plant Nuclear DNA Organization
    • Chromosomal
    • Molecular
    • Genome sequencing projects
    • Synteny
  • Genetics of the Cytoplasm
    • Chloroplast
    • Mitochondria
      • Genome organization
      • CMS: cytoplasmic male sterility
  • Analysis of Genetic Variation
    • Development and testing a single gene model
    • Chi-Square analysis
    • Test of heterogeniety
  • Analysis of Plant Processes Through Mutations
    • Methods
    • Tests of allelism
    • Dominant vs recessive
    • Epistasis
    • Positive and negative regulators
    • Enhancer and suppressor screens
  • Linkage
    • Chi-square analysis
    • Recombination and map distance
    • Maps
      • Physical vs Genetic
      • Molecular mapping
    • Fine mapping
  • Variation in Chromosome Numbers
    • Aneuploidy-Case study
    • Polyploidy
      • Types
        • Autoploids
        • Alloploids
      • Genetics
        • Meiosis
        • Segregation
  • Biotechnology
    • Gene transfer
    • Gene silencing
    • Forward vs. Reverse Genetics
      • CRISPR
      • Insertion collections
    • Genomics
  • Small RNA
    • MicroRNA
    • Paramutation
Labs & Seminars:

Topics to be covered in labs include:

The laboratory session will be used for review of special topics, data analysis and discussion of journal articles which highlight concepts of plant genetics.

For journal article discussions, papers will be distributed one week in advance.

All material covered in labs is relevant for quizzes and the final exam. 

  1. Pollination Biology - Journal Article
  2. Self-incompatibility - Journal Article
  3. Organelles-Journal Article
  4. Genetic Modelling - Data
  5. Genetic Modelling - Journal Article
  6. Mutant Screens - Journal Article
  7. Linkage - Journal Article
  8. Linkage - Journal Article
  9. Polyploidy - Journal Article
  10. Polyploidy - Journal Article
  11. Review

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed
Lecture Quizzes
Problem Sets
Lab Quizzes
6, 7
Final Exam

Final examination:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:
CourseLink (Website) https://courselink.uoguelph.ca
No required text; lecture notes can be found on CourseLink
CourseLink (Lab Manual) https://courselink.uoguelph.ca
Resources posted in CourseLink
Recommended Texts:

The following are in the library and supplement lecture notes if necessary:

  1. Allard, R.W. Principles of Plant Breeding. 1965.  John Wiley and Sons.
  2. Briggs, F.N. and P.F. Knowles.  Introduction to Plant Breeding.  1967. Reinhold Publishing.
  3. Fehr, W.R. Principles of Cultivar Development.  1987.  Macmillan Publishing
  4. Griffiths, A.J.F., J.H. Miller, D.T. Suzuki, R.C. Lewontin and W.M. Gelbart.  An Introduction to Genetic Analysis.  1996. W.H. Freeman.
  5. Koncz, C. N-H Chua and J. Schell.  Methods in Arabidopsis Research.  1992. World Scientific.
  6. Stansfield, W.D.  Theory and Problems in Genetics.  1991.  McGraw-Hill.
  7. Buchanan, B. B, W. Gruissem and R.L. Jones. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. 2000. Am. Soc. Plant Physiologists.
Lab Manual:

Resources posted on CourseLink.

Other Resources:


Field Trips:


Additional Costs:


Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

All problem sets and the manuscript assignments are due at the beginning of class on the prescribed dates. Late problem sets will not be accepted and no credit will be given for completing the assignment.

Course Policy on Group Work:

All submitted work is to be an individual effort with no collaboration or sharing of answers or materials; this includes use of materials from prior years. 

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.

Texting and use of electronic devices, except for laptops, are prohibited in lecture and lab.

Other Course Information:

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:

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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