BIO244 Plant Biotechnology: Cell- and Tissue Culture and Genetic Modifications

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Trine Hvoslef-Eide

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk, engelsk

Limits of class size:24

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:The semester consists of 11-12 double lectures of 2 x 45 min each, pluss 25-30 hours exercises in the lab. The students will contribute approx 75 hours in the form of preparing for classes (esp lab classes) and writing up the lab reports.Total 125 hours work.

Teaching and exam period:Spring parallel

About this course

The course is offered through lectures and laboratory exercises. The students will have somewhat uneven hours in the laboratory exercises depending on the theme of the week. The course is coordinated with BIO245 and BIO246 regarding the dates for hand-ins.

The lab exercises will be in smaller student groups. We expect the students to have read the chapter in the lab exercise book on the goal and methods prior to the lab. The students follow their own cultures through the semester and can take their own plants home at the end (except GM plants). Lectures and practicals within: Celle- and tissue culture: In vitro propagation through adventitious and axillary propagation (different tissues), disease elimination through meristem cultures, chimeras and their importance in propagation, somatic embryogenesis, genetic modifications. , markers and gene expression (gene silencing). Lectures within the following themes: Disease elimination through meristem cultures, chimeras and their importance in propagation and breeding. Genetically modified crops: Current and potential role in plant production, potential and limitations of different types of transgenes, laws and regulations in Norway (and EU), internationally related to genetically modified (GM)crops. Gene editing (CRISPR). Use of markers and gene expression (gene silencing).

There is a possibility for the students to expand the course with a thematic essay on a chosen topic (an extra 5 ects for BIO246). In BIO246, the students can choose to write ohn a topic from either BIO244 or BIO245.

Learning outcome

Learning outcomes


• Students can account for - and have practice from - the following within Cell and tissue cultures: In vitro propagation using adventitous and axillary shoots (from different plant tissues) and somatic embryogenesis

• Students can compare the methods and know the importance for propagation of chimeras and somaclonal variation

• Students can account for both conventional gene modification and gene editing, as well as the use of e marker genes and gene expression in biotechnology experiments

• Students have knowledge of the following that are presented only in lectures: Disease free plant system in Norway (disease cleansing), Genetic modifications: Current and potential role in plant production (incl edible vaccines), potential benefits and risks in various types of transgenic plants and when using gene editing (CRISPR), Norwegian and international legislation related to gene modification (GMOs)


• Students have practical experience in various methods within plant biotechnology and their role in biological research and in the production of food and other plant products.

• Students understand how biotechnology can supplement or replace traditional methods of propagation and plant breeding

• Students can explain how legislation regulates genetically modified organisms in Norway/EU and know about other countries' approach to conventional gene modification and gene editing


• Through the writing of the lab reports, the students have knowledge of how to structure a scientific article: with an introduction on the purpose of the experiment, material and method descriptions, results and some discussion about the results in relation to expected results.

• Students can correctly refer to their sources and set up a reference list

  • There will be lectures, laboratory exercises. This will be presented in the form of a written report which will be evaluated by an external examiner and the main teacher.

    Kahoot (anonymous) is used to validate student's perception of the curriculum to aid both students and teacher.

  • We actively use Canvas for support, all lectures are placed there (old lectures in Norwegian and English). The practical teachers are available between classes in the laboratory and the main teacher is available through e-mail and by appointment.

    The lectures are video taped and are available for the students to revise when writing their lab reports

  • Basic knowledge of genetics (BIO120) and plant physiology (BOT130). It is the student's responsibility to have the necessary knowledge beforehand, or study alongside on their own.
  • Written lab report to be written according to the set up for a scientific publication within our field. No other formal exam for this course.

  • We use the external examiner actively to secure a good structure and the evaluation of the hand-in report from the practicals
  • The practicals in the lab are mandatory and important to gain full benefit from this course. The lab reports are the basis for the evaluation and hence obligatory too, even for those which you may have had a valid excuse for not attending in person.

    If you need to retake this course, you only need to attend the practicals you missed before.

  • This course is part of a package of three courses, BIO244, BIO248 and BIO246, but you may take only one or two of them.
  • There will be a double lecture and 3 hours laboratory course each week, on average.
  • Plant Sciences, Bachelor and Master, subsequently Biotechnology and Biology students, Bachelor and Master
  • Basic knowledge in Natural Sciences