Molecular & Cellular Biology BSc/MSci

Plant Biotechnology 4B option BIOL4110

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Molecular Biosciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course is designed to give students an appreciation of the advances being achieved from the application of plant biotechnology to harvests and the synthesis of novel compounds. 


This option is assigned to block S2-B. There are normally 3 hours of contact on Tuesdays, as arranged. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and an in-course written submission (30%). The latter will take the form of a simplified "mock" grant proposal for support

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of the option are to develop an understanding of the biochemical aspects of selected plant science topics, and to show how this information can be used to develop biotechnology programmes for the development of higher-value plants. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Critically discuss the application of biotechnological approaches in crop improvement and their relevance to food security with reference to the scientific literature; 

■ Explain state-of-the-art technologies used in plant biotechnology; 

■ Critically discuss the approaches used to breed and genetically engineer crops with resistance or tolerance to pests, pathogens and herbicides;

■ Explain the environmental and economic impacts of planting GM crops;

■ Explain how plants can be exploited as platforms for novel biotechnological applications including the production of proteins and other chemicals of industrial, pharmacological, nutritional and medical importance;

■ Identify, debate, and critically evaluate the ethical and social issues raised by plant biotechnology. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.