BIOSCI 754 : Plant Genomes and Gene Expression


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The analysis of plant genomes and regulation of gene expression in plant biology. Includes: inferences from whole plant genome sequences, transcription factors, transcriptional control of flowering time and post-translational control of hormone receptors by ubiquitination and degradation. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 354 or 340 or equivalent is assumed.

Course Overview

Plants, unlike animals, are sessile (sitting) organisms and cannot run away to escape stressors. Instead, they have a series of cellular and molecular (gene expression and hormonal responses) that enable them to best adapt to the environment they find themselves in and maximise yield and productivity. We will discuss the physiological and molecular processes of plant development and maturation, branching, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and nitrogen uptake, and sugar metabolism and its regulation as examples and the practical applications of understanding the mechanisms that control them. Different species of plants have different responses to the environment, thus we also examine the structure, diversity and function of plant genomes. The aim is to explore how genome diversity and conservation between plants can be used for practical aims and to understand evolutionary processes. Students interested in plant science, genetics and biotechnology should take this course, which will prepare them for plant orientated research projects in Crown Research Institutes such as Plant and Food Research, AgResearch or Scion or for further Postgraduate study doing a Honours or MSc thesis research project. The course BIOSCI 354 or 340 or equivalent is recommended preparation for this course. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the molecular pathways that plant development and plant response to the environment (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Explain the findings of journal articles in student seminars (Capability 4 and 5)
  3. Identify gaps in our knowledge of selected plant processes (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  4. Interpret data sets (Capability 3 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 1, 2 and 3 15% Individual Coursework
Discussion and lightning presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Seminar presentation or paper summary 1 10% Individual Coursework
Seminar presentation or paper summary 2 10% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 55% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Quizzes 1, 2 and 3
Discussion and lightning presentation
Seminar presentation or paper summary 1
Seminar presentation or paper summary 2
Final Exam

Learning Resources

Presentations and selected papers

Special Requirements

Attendance and punctuality required at all sessions; a roll will be signed.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 8 hours of lectures, 6 hours discussion, 6 hours of presentations, a 2-hour tutorial, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 01/07/2020 11:41 a.m.