PBIO*4150 Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Plant Development

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2015 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 examination of the molecular and cellular processes that underlie cellular differentiation and organ formation in plants. The roles of homeotic genes, gene regulation, cell polarity, morphogens and environmental effects in development will be discussed. Subjects will be introduced by a lecture and examined in detail in discussions of pertinent research papers.

Offered in even numbered years


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 Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

Upon the successful completion of the course students will:
  • be knowledgeable about the concepts of development in plants at molecular and cellular levels
  • understand how the molecular and cellular processes of plant development lead to the formation of plant organs and the major transitions in development and maturation
  • be able to understand and learn from the current scientific literature on plant development
  • have experience in writing a research proposal  to investigate an aspect of plant development

Lecture Content:

Topics t​o be covered in lectures include:
  • Introduction and history
  • The Cell Cycle
  • Cell polarization
  • Cell signaling
  • Hormones
  • Light
  • Fertilization
  • Embryogenesis
  • Root and shoot development
  • Senescence
Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed



Lecture concepts up to the role on plant development



Ability to investigate the current literature and present the results to the class

Discussion Participation


The ability to learn and understand the current literature

Take-Home Final



Final examination:

The final exam will be in a take-home format. The students will be responsible for writing a research proposal based on the course material. Details will be discussed during the first lecture.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

The course will be based on an examination of the current literature. No textbooks are required.

Recommended Texts:

Not applicable.

Lab Manual: 

Not applicable.

Other Resources:

Not applicable.

Field Trips:

Not applicable.

Additional Costs:

Not applicable.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

For all aspects of the course (midterms, paper discussions, seminar presentation and the take home final), students will be responsible for submitting all assignments on time, and attending all paper discussions.  Only medical or other reasons deemed valid by the university will be accepted with regards to late submissions, and a score of 0 will be assigned if a student cannot provide a valid reason. Rescheduling of seminars is possible with prior approval of the instructor. As class participation is a graded portion of the course, students are encouraged to contact the instructor in advance if they will be absent.

Course Policy on Group Work:

All assignments in the course are based on individual work. Group work is not permitted for any portion of the course outside the paper discussions.

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:

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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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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Course Evaluation Information

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