Module Details

BS323-6-SP-CO: Plant Biotechnology

Year: 2017/18
Department: Biological Sciences (School of)
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Lauren Headland
Teaching Staff: Prof Christine Raines, Prof Phil Mullineaux, Prof Tracy Lawson
Contact details: School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module is about the application of modern biology to problems in agriculture and plant science. It aims to provide an understanding of the environmental and biological limitations on agricultural productivity and to give an appreciation of the potential impact of transgenic technology in overcoming the restrictions of classical breeding methods. The module will explore the current understanding of plant genome structure, gene cloning technologies and the techniques used in plant transformation. Applications of plant genetic engineering to disease, pest and herbicide resistance; to water use and abiotic stress tolerance, to manipulating metabolism and development will be considered.

Learning Outcomes:
To pass this module students will need to be able to:
1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of existing and emerging technologies that are important in the areas of plant biotechnology;
2. demonstrate knowledge of gene cloning technologies and the techniques used in plant transformation and their application in plant genetic engineering;
3. demonstrate an understanding of the potential impact of transgenic technology and smart breeding technology on helping to alleviate current limitations on agricultural productivity;
4. demonstrate knowledge of specific examples of genetic manipulation of crop plants and the application of smart breeding technology;
5. demonstrate knowledge on current issues limiting agricultural yield;
6. demonstrate an understanding of how modern breeding technologies can be used to improve the production of new plant varieties;
7. demonstrate knowledge of environmental factors impacting on plant growth and yield.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lectures: 18 x 1 hr
Student managed learning: 132 hrs/module
Total: 150 hrs


100 per cent Exam Mark

Other details

Summer Exam: wks 33-36

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 during Summer Examination period.


  • Essential:
  • Plant Biotechnology (2008) Slater, A., Scott, N., and Fowler, M. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.
  • Acquaah, G. (2012), Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding. 2nd ed., (Wiley-Blackwell, publishers)
  • Plant Biology (2010) Smith, A. et al. Garland Science
  • Desirable:
  • Transgenic Plants: A production system for industrial and pharmaceutical proteins. Owen and Pen, eds. (Wiley, publishers)
  • Crispeels, M.J. and Savada, D.E. (2002), Plants, Genes and Crop Biotechnology. 2nd ed., (Jones and Bartlett, publishers)

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Dr Mark Coleman
    Institution: The University of East Anglia
    Academic Role: Director of Teaching and Learning