Genetics & Biotechnology Lab (BIT 161A)

CRN 47483, 6 Units, Winter Quarter, 1:00 – 7:00 pm, 101 Bowley
Lecture—2 hours; Laboratory—6 hours.

Prerequisite: PLS 152 Plant Genetics and/or BIT 160 Plant biotechnology consent of instructor

Course catalog description: This is a high intensity class, which introduces students to laboratory techniques used in molecular biology and genetic analysis. Emphasis is placed on understanding the underlying theory of the procedures as well as the safe use of chemicals in the laboratory. Experimental procedures include:

  • Agarose gel electrophoresis.
  • Principles of Polymerase Chain Reaction and troubleshooting.
  • DNA Subcloning and bacterial transformation.
  • Selection of bacterial genotypes.
  • DNA minipreps and sequencing.
  • Restriction analysis of plasmid and genomic DNA.
  • Bioinformatics analysis of DNA sequences using Vector NTI.
  • Genomic DNA extraction and analysis.
  • DNA hybridization.
  • DNA labeling by chemiluminescence.
  • Identification of DNA microsatellites by PCR.

This course is designed to prepare students for laboratory internships or employment in a molecular laboratory.

Specific learning outcomes:

  • Enhanced technical ability.
  • Understanding the theoretical basis of molecular techniques.
  • Ability to troubleshoot experiments.
  • Improved scientific writing.
  • Strategies for working efficiently as part of a lab research team.
  • Time management.

Maximum Class enrollment: 24

BIT161A: Students working in the lab

BIT161A: Classroom instruction

Plant Genetics (PLS 152)

CRN 87556, 4 Units, Fall Quarter
Lecture—2 hours M, W, 8:00 – 9:50 am

Prerequisite: Biological Sciences 2A or BIS 101 or consent of instructor

Course catalog description: Basic principles of transmission genetics, cytogenetics, population and quantitative genetics, and molecular genetics. Practical aspects of genetic crosses and analysis of segregating populations. Field trips and guest lectures are normally incorporated into this course.

Topics include:

  • Transmission genetics
  • Cytoplasmic genomes
  • Plant Genome Organization
  • Cytogenetics
  • Mating-systems

Students will also be introduced to concepts in:

  • Quantitative Genetics
  • Plant genome analysis
  • Population Genetics
  • Association Mapping

Course work: Students will be asked to complete 2 – 3 writing assignments including a research project and solve genetic problem sets.

Maximum Class enrollment: 80

2008 PLS 152 Class Field trip to a Plant Breeding Company

2006 Class trip to wheat plots at UC Davis to observe the Marker Assisted Selection breeding program led by Prof. Jorge Dubcovsky

Seminar in Postharvest Biology (PBI 293)

CRN 87556, 4 Units, Fall Quarter
Lecture—2 hours M, W, 8:00 – 9:50 am

Prerequisite: Open to Advanced Undergraduates and Graduate students in biological, food sciences and biological and agricultural engineering. A background in basic biological sciences important. May be repeated for credit. You should consider taking this seminar if you:

  • are curious about that what it takes to deliver safe, healthy produce to market.
  • wish to have a deeper understanding of how the biology of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers changes after they are harvested.
  • would like to extend and apply your textbook knowledge of biology towards understanding pressing real-world horticultural issues.
  • would like to devise novel approaches for improving produce quality and longevity.

Course catalog description: Intensive study of selected topics in the postharvest biology of fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals.

Background: Depending on the region, as much as 20 – 50% of all horticultural crops are lost after harvest. This is particularly tragic when one considers the pressing need to produce more food from less land, and to do so in a way that conserves our remaining ecological resources. However, the high water content of horticultural commodities means that they are metabolically active and deterioration (biological senescence) is rapid after harvest. The rate of spoilage can be slowed down with technological interventions like refrigeration, controlled atmospheres and appropriate packaging, and there is often a direct correlation between access to this technology and reductions in food loss.

However, long-term, fundamental solutions to reducing postharvest losses and delivering safe, nutritionally dense, flavorful produce will require integrated approaches. Enhanced technology for determining optimal harvest time, better detection and prevention of disorders, and preserving quality must build upon a sound and deep knowledge of basic plant biology, in order to truly design effective measures. Biotechnology holds much potential. A major effort is to discover the genes and gene networks that control postharvest processes and to understand how they respond to changes in storage conditions. This would permit more accurate detection and pro-active modification of the downstream biological processes that determine produce quality, safety and shelf-life. These are the overarching themes that will be explored in PBI 293 Seminar in Postharvest Biology.

Course format: The instructor varies each quarter and the topics chosen and general format is determined by the instructor, usually with input from all participants.

For undergraduates, a seminar course such as PBI 293 is a chance to see science in action: the exchanges of ideas, discussions, questions and general interactions of researchers. Active participation in seminar courses is encouraged if you are exploring research options for graduate school.

Please contact Diane M Beckles dmbeckles@ucdavis.edu for more information i.e. the quarters held, instructors.