Full Title:Crop Biotechnology
Language of Instruction:English
Module Code:AGRI S9Z02
Credits: 7.5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2019/20 ( June 2019 )
Module Delivered in 3 programme(s)
Module Description:The aims of this module are to provide students with knowledge of the detailed principles of crop biotechnology, with particular emphasis on genetically engineering crops for biotic stress tolerance, crop productivity and quality improvement. In addition, an interactive learning environment will be created to encourage students to develop an appreciation of using innovative biotechnological approaches relating to bioenergy crops, forestry and applications of crop biotechnology to human and animal health. This module offers a combination of interactive practical classes, field trips and lectures that will cater for a wide range of cognitive abilities on highly pertinent and legislative topics that will integrate information from various agricultural, environmental and ethical disciplines.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Critically assess and evaluate advanced and innovative technologies utilised in crop biotechnology.
  2. Investigate, appraise and constructively criticise the ethical, social and biosafety implications raised by genetically engineering crops.
  3. Interpret outcomes of previous crop biotechnological investigations and legislative actions, and demonstrate an ability to formulate hypothesises, determine associated risks and inform change based on the information obtained.
  4. Perform lab practicals effectively and efficiently and demonstrate an appreciation of the relationship between current and developing biotechnological techniques and their creative application in crop production systems.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Introduction to soil and crop science
Land utilisation; Soil nutrient management; Soil biology; Yield formation; Current and future biostimulants in agriculture; Production and application of biofertilisers; Molecular and systems biology of plants; Integrated pest management (Legislation, health concerns, biotech alternative to traditional chemistry); Entomology; Biopesticides; Ecological plant physiology; Molecular phytopathology.
Genetic engineering
Plant protection and bioengineering; Gene editing; Molecular breeding; Tissue culture methods for crop improvement; Plant metabolic engineering; Plants as bioreactors. Bioinformatics for plant biotechnology. Methods of genetic engineering for; Manipulation of the rhizosphere (enhancing plant roots, symbiotic relationships); biotic stress tolerance (insects, viruses, weeds); crop productivity (manipulation of nutrient uptake); quality improvement (food nutritive value, protein, lipids, carbohydrates).
Forestry biotechnology
Breeding technologies and genetic engineering technologies; Lignin-modified transgenic Trees; Fungal strategies for lignin degradation; Fibre modification, lignin reduction and extraction, and sterility; Forestry productivity; enhancement of bio-based products; gene flow and introgression.
Non traditional crops
Bioenergy crop production; Fibre, hemp, flax, algae and fibre modification. Barriers to bioenergy development; Energy crop models; Production of valuable proteins for food supplements and pharmaceuticals; Alternative protein sources for fuel and food sources.
Ethics of crop biotechnology industry
Risk analysis; International regulation of crop biotechnology; Case studies: GM event integration into established agricultural systems.
Possible field site visits
Alltech; Teagasc; DAFM
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work40.00%
End of Module Formal Examination60.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Other Practical skills/evaluation and report. Practical classes on plant pathology and key biotechnological techniques in crop protection. 1,4 20.00 0 0 Sem 2 End 0
Written Report Students will conduct an assessment of the risk associated with novel GM techniques similar to the considerations of legislative bodies. 2 20.00 0 0 Sem 2 End 0
No Project
No Practical
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam End of semester exam 1,2,3 60.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 0

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Weekly lectures relating to various aspects of crop biotechnology and the possible applications. 2.60 Every Week 2.60
Practical Two master classes (laboratory practicals) 3.00 Twice per semester 0.40
Directed Reading Directed reading on all aspects of crop biotechnology 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Independent Study No Description 5.00 Every Week 5.00
Online Contact Online Discussion Forum 0.50 Every Week 0.50
Total Weekly Learner Workload 11.50
Total Weekly Contact Hours 3.50
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • A. Altman, Paul M. Hasegawa 2012, Plant Biotechnology and Agriculture: Prospects for the 21st Century
  • Jennie S. Popp, Marty D. Matlock, Molly M. Jahn, Nathan P. Kemper 2012, The Role of Biotechnology in a Sustainable Food Supply
  • Lindsay M. Grover 2011, Genetically Engineered Crops: Biotechnology, Biosafety and Benefits
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Khalid Rehman Hakeem, Parvaiz Ahmad, Munir Ozturk 2013, Crop Improvement: New Approaches and Modern Techniques
  • Gabriela Pechlaner 2012, Corporate Crops: Biotechnology, Agriculture, and the Struggle for Control
  • Eric Lichtfouse 2011, Alternative Farming Systems, Biotechnology, Drought Stress and Ecological Fertilisation
  • Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips, David Castle 2014, Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
  • Wuger, D. and Cottier, T. 2013, Genetic Engineering and the World Trade System: World Trade Forum
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
752 Certificate in Environmental Biotechnology 1 Mandatory
DK_SAGBI_9 Master of Science in Agricultural Biotechnology 2 Mandatory
DK_SAGPD_9 Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Biotechnology 2 Mandatory