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Semester 1

The Green Planet 2 (BILG08016)







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Course Summary

The course is an introduction to modern plant biology that emphasises how plant science can be applied to improve crops and other useful plants, and how plants interact with other organisms. It contains a mix of basic plant biology, molecular biology, and whole organism biology. The course also includes an introduction to fungal biology and plant fungi interactions. Topics covered include plant hybridisation and evolution, nitrogen fixation, plant biomass exploitation, plant genetic manipulation, crop evolution and breeding, plant hormones and cell signalling, plant disease resistance. The Green Planet is not an ecology course, but does include significant whole organism content.

Course Description

Earth is a planet dominated by green plants, which form 99% of the biomass on earth. About half the world's population are directly concerned with the production of useful plants. Plant science has undergone a revolution during the last thirty years, with the advent of molecular genetics and genomics technologies, and is now at the forefront of many key research areas, including biodiversity and biofuels. The two major themes of this course are how plants interact with other organisms, and the relevance of modern plant science and technology to a sustainable future for humanity. It contains a mix of basic plant biology, molecular biology, and whole organism biology. Note that the Green Planet is not an ecology or taxonomy course and that it contains significant molecular biology content, however it does also include whole organism content.Seven sets of lectures, by specialists in the following fields, make up the body of the course: (1) Plant evolution and hybridisation, (2) Plant Anatomy (3) Evolution of crop plants, plant breeding systems and crop improvement (4) Plant-microbe interactions, plant disease and its resistance, (5) Plant genomes and their manipulation, (6) Mechanisms of plant growth and biomass exploitation and (7) Plant responses to their environment and hormone signalling. We also include a series of guest lectures, typically from Plant Scientists working in industry or the applied sector, to illustrate the practical relevance of plant science and possible future careers. Three hours laboratory work is scheduled per week, and one essay is selected (from a choice of five). There is usually the chance of a field trip (one afternoon) early in the course. The Green Planet 2 is recommended for the third year courses Molecular & Synthetic Plant Biology 3 and Evolution & Ecology of Plants 3. It is required for Plant Science Honours, and provides valuable background material for students specialising in ecological subjects, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, developmental biology or molecular biology.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 50%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Assessment Information

Exam, essay and in course assessments.

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