PBIO*4150 Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Plant Development

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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.

The goal of this lecture and discussion course is to familiarize students with concepts of plant development, at molecular and cellular scales, through study of current literature in these areas. 

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 WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course students should be able to:
1. Understand molecular and cellular processes of development in plants;
2. Understand how the molecular and cellular processes of plant development lead to the formation of organs and the major transitions in development and maturation in plants;
3. Understand and learn from the current scientific literature on plant development;
4. Formulate a research proposal to investigate an aspect of plant development and
5. Knowledgably discuss and present information on molecular and cellular aspects of plant development contained in current, peer-reviewed, scientific literature.  

Lecture Content:

Lecture content will cover two main aspects: An introduction to the molecular and cellular mechanisms of plant development, and an examination of the various life stages and tissues in plant development.

Basic Mechanisms and Building Blocks

  • Introduction and history of plant cell and molecular biology
  • The cell cycle and cell polarization
  • Cell signaling - chemical signals (hormones)
  • Cell signaling - physical signals (light, temperature)

Growing a Plant

  • Plant gametogenesis, fertilization and embryogenesis
  • Shoot and root meristem development
  • Leaf and flower development
  • Plant stage development (juvenility, maturity, senescence


To assist in understanding the lecture content, paper discussions will use recent studies to examine the concepts covered in the lecture. These discussions will be interactive group sessions, with the students assigned a particular portion of the paper to present and discuss with the class, under the supervision of the instructor. Students will be encouraged to ask questions regarding the papers under discussion, and can expect to receive feedback from their peers as well as the instructor.

Labs & Seminars:

Students will present seminars on a gene family involved in plant development. Students will be assigned a seminar topic during the first week of class. Details will be discussed during the first lecture.

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed



1, 2



1, 2, 3, 5

Discussion Participation


1, 2, 3, 5

Final Exam


1, 2, 3, 4

Final examination:

Please consult WebAdvisor for final exam schedule and location.

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:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students  to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

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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For more information, contact CSD at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email sas@uoguelph.ca or visit the Student Accessibility Services website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/csd/.

Course Evaluation Information

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