ŸTo introduce the students to plant genetics, beyond the fundamental level taught in basic biology and basic genetics undergraduate courses. ŸTo acquaint students not familiar with the principles of plant genetics with this topic in a comprehensive manner. ŸTo review basic genetics concepts, at a higher level of detail, paying attention to the molecular level. ŸTo introduce students in the main facets of modern plant genetics, including transposable elements, molecular markers, genetic engineering, principles of genomics, population genetics/genomics, principles of gene and QTL mapping, association mapping, MAS selection and epigenetics.  


General Biology, General Genetics, Plant Structure and Function

Learning Outcomes

In the end of the course the student must have a comprehensive overview of modern plant genetics and be able to relate plant genetics to other aspects of plant biology, agronomy and horticulture, as well as plant-related research.  


An introduction to plant genetics 1.1.  Definitions, scope, aims 1.2.  Genetics in Horticulture, Agriculture 1.3.  The future is here: plant genomics A brief history of genetics 2.1.  Early history 2.2.  The era of Mendelism & Darwinism 2.3.  The quest for the molecules of life 2.4.  Post-genetics and contemporary problems The association of genetics and heredity; early and critical experiments in the development of genetics 3.1.  The pioneers (Griffith, Avery et al., Hershey and Chase) 3.2.  DNA discovered (Chargaff, Wilkins and Franklin, Watson and Crick) Experimental derivation of the laws of inheritance / Mendelian Genetics 4.1.  Allelic interaction 4.2.  Gene interaction The chromosomal theory of inheritance 5.1.  The chromosomal basis of mendelism 5.2.  Chromosomes in the cytoplasm 5.3.  The first notions of genomic imprinting and maternal effects The unit of heredity, the nature of gene, fine gene structure, cistrons 6.1.  DNA structure and replication 6.2.  The nature of the gene 6.3.  Fine gene structure, cistrons 6.4.  Transcription Protein synthesis 7.1.  Translation 7.2.  Classical RNAs and more RNAs Maternal effects 8.1.  Inheritance, properties and effects of cpDNA 8.2.  Inheritance, properties and effects of mtDNA 8.3.  More signs of maternal effects and epigenetics Molecular markers and applications 9.1.  Biochemical markers 9.2.  Hybridization-based markers 9.3.  PRC-based markers 9.4.  DNA sequencing 9.5.  Molecular marker “scientific” and “technical” properties Principles of population genetics and genetic diversity estimation 10.1.        Introduction to population genetics 10.2.        The panmictic model 10.3.        Parameters of genetic diversity, structure and differentiation 10.4.        Relaxation of the panmictic model- I: genetic drift, effective population size 10.5.        Relaxation of the panmictic model- II: mutation, mutation types in a population genetics context 10.6.        Relaxation of the panmictic model- III: migration, gene flow and mating systems 10.7.        Relaxation of the panmictic model- IV: natural selection and selection schemes 10.8.        Interactions and co-existence of evolutionary forces in a population 10.9.        Evolution: a synthesis of forces Linkage analysis and gene mapping 11.1.        Marker linkage analysis and gene mapping 11.2.        Mapping functions, interference 11.3.        LOD scores 11.4.        Map construction Principles of QTL mapping and MAS selection 12.1.        Introduction, biometrical genetics 12.2.        Elements of quantitative genetics 12.3.        Partitioning of phenotypic variation and its components 12.4.        Models with one or two genes and two alleles 12.5.        Dissection of quantitative variation in progenies 12.6.        Positioning QTLs on genetic maps 12.7.         QTL mapping: single marker analysis, multiple regression methods, interval mapping, selective genotyping 12.8.        Comparative mapping 12.9.        Marker assisted selection (MAS) Epigenetics 13.1.        An overview of dynamic molecular memory 13.2.        RNA effects 13.3.        Histone modifications and re-modelling 13.4.        DNA methylation 13.5.        The epigenetic code and its consequences Societal impact 14.1.        Genetics, genomics and society 14.2.        Genomics and agriculture

Content Delivery

Lectures, "in-house” small tutorials, problem solving (during the lecturing period).  

Coursework And Assignment Details

  Participation: 10% Assignments: 25% Final Exam: 65% Final exam entails: (a) multiple choice questions, (b) short answers, (c) short problem solving, (d) judgment questions.