Course code BIO351

BIO351 Genetically Modified Plants - Case Study

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Trine Hvoslef-Eide
Teachers: Odd Arne Rognli
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: EN, NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2007-2008
Preferential right:
all students at NMBU welcome to participate in this course
Course contents:
The course is focused on problem-based learning, where only a few lectures will be given. The students will spend most of their time working in pairs using material supplied through Canvas and web links. The first part of the course will be spent writing a proposal to the authorities for deliberate release of a particular GMO. Then the students swap cases and evaluate each others proposals, as if they were the authorities. Two reports will be made during the course, one of which will also be given as an oral presentation to the class.
Learning outcome:

This course gives you insight into how applications for the release of genetically modified organisms are processed by the authorities in different countries. You receive training in acting as an authority after having made an application together in an interdisciplinary group of students.

The students shall learn something about the techniques used to create genetically modified plants. Through group wise case studies, they are to consider all aspects of GMOs how could it affect health and the environment? Is this a product/project that is useful for society? Will it lead to a more sustainable development? Is it ethically justifiable? By going through these case studies, they will acquire knowledge and qualifications to enable them to participate in the public debate on GMOs. They will also be aware of Norwegian and international law within the field and the international agreements and conventions applicable.

Learning outcomes


  • The student can write an application for release of a selected genetically modified plant
  • The student knows the regulations for GMOs in Norway and the EU and some insight beyond that


  • The students can read EU directives and Norwegian legislation
  • The student can interact with other students who have other backgrounds
  • The student can present his application
  • The student can evaluate another application and justify their answer


  • The student can present his work together with others
  • The student can participate in the public debate about GMOs
Learning activities:
Lectures on topics depending on the background of the students who attend the course that particular year, group work, evaluations, presentations.
Teaching support:
Canvas and guidance by teacher.
Adrian Slater, Nigel Scott and Mark Fowler (2003). Plant Biotechnology - the genetic manipulation of plants. Oxford University Press, UK. Thomas R. Mikkelsen (2001) Bioteknologi. Nucleus, Danmark. Material on Canvas. Web links.
Students of different backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the group work. there will be videos available on Canvas to help those who have no science background.
Recommended prerequisites:
The teacher would like to encourage different student groups to attend the course to provide different backgrounds and values for good discussions. Students from social sciences are welcome.
Mandatory activity:
Write an application of deliberate release of a chosen GM plant. Participation in the oral presentation of the case at the end of November. Prior to the presentation: Evaluate another group's application as the Competent Authority on GM in the country that application was "submitted" to. Give a very brief comment orally on the day of presentations.

Portefolio assessment with 2 reports: the first (application for deliberate release) accounts for 70% and the second (evaluation by the competent authority) counts 30%. Presentation for the class. Both parts have to obtain a pass.

Grading: Pass/failed

Nominal workload:
125 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Type of course:
2 lecture hours each week, either lecture, video lectures or self-study depending on the students' needs.
The external examiner will be used for the assessment.
Examination details: Portfolio: Passed / Not Passed