Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Conservation and Management of Genetic Resources

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 4
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsible
  • Lene Rostgaard Nielsen (4-7379767547706e7535727c356b72)
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Course number: NIGK14000U

Course content

Evolution and dynamics of biodiversity:
Evolution of diversity at the species, population and individual level; population dynamics and corresponding genetic processes; ecological processes and adaptation; ecotypes; resistance and co-evolution between plants and associated pests; inbreeding, genetic drift, and erosion; domestication and early improvement of crop and forest plants.

Genetic resources and their use:
Characterisation of genetic resources for domestication, breeding and cultivation; introduction to breeding methods applied in crop and tree breeding, and their implications for management of genetic resources.

Management and conservation:
Effect of land use, agriculture, forestry, breeding, and biotechnology on biodiversity and genetic resources, ex-situ, in-situ, dynamic, and static methods for conservation of genetic resources; management of gene banks and gene conservation reserves. Ecosystem restoration.

Genetic resources and climate change:
The role of genetic resources in relation to climate change. Aspects of assisted migration and increase of adaptive potential towards extreme climatic events;  new pests and pathogens. 

A broad range of genetic resources will be included in the course, ranging from wild plants and relatives of cultivated plants, landraces and old varieties. The cases include forest trees, horticultural and agricultural crops from both tropical and temperate conditions.

Learning outcome

The objectives include providing an overview of the importance of genetic resources and how natural and human-induced processes create and erode these, to discuss how loss of genetic diversity can be predicted, characterized,  measured and avoided, to discuss gene conservation as part of integrated biodiversity conservation, and to present and discuss sustainable strategies for management and conservation of genetic resources.  

After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Identify natural and human processes creating and eroding biodiversity and genetic resources.
- Describe domestication regions of major agricultural and horticultural crops.
- Overview methods to characterize, use, conserve, and manage biodiversity and genetic resources.
- Reflect about ethical values associated with biodiversity and genetic resources.

- Demonstrate an overview of the topics presented and discussed in the course.
- Present and discuss contents of selected scientific articles within the subject field.
- Participate in discussions of presentations during the course.
- Communicate in writing the results of an analysis of a selected topic within the subject field.

- Apply theory to cases of biodiversity and genetic resource concern.
- Ability to predict and assess risks of genetic degradation and develop plans for sustainable use and/or conservation. 
- Make ethical considerations related to conservation and use of biodiversity and genetic resources for present and future generations.
- Evaluate the importance of genetic resources in relation to adaptation to climate change.

Recommended prerequisites

Basic genetic course

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MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management


Study Board of Natural Resources and Environment

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


Lene Rostgaard Nielsen
Erik Dahl Kjær
Thure Hauser


1 block


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Teaching and learning methods

The course will combine lectures, presentations and discussions of scientific articles, group exercises, excursions, and project work with individually chosen topic. Students will produce a synopsis and short oral presentation on the topic of their project. Resource persons with expertise in specialized topics (e.g. from Nordic Gene bank and The Danish Nature Agency) will give guest lectures.


40 students (1 class of 40).




Selected scientific papers, book chapters, and case studies will read during the course.


Category Hours
Lectures 35
Theory exercises 66
Preparation 61
Project work 40
Exam 4
English 206


Type of assessment

Continuous assessment
Three examinations are held during the course:
1st examination: A 1 hour written examination.
2nd examination: A 1 hour written examination.
3rd examination: Hand-in of a synopsis, followed by an oral presentation.
The examinations each count 1/3 of the final mark.


Only certain aids allowed

Selected scientific papers and book chapters

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.

Censorship form

No external censorship
Several internal examiners.


20 minutes oral examination with 20 minutes preparation time.
3rd examination attempt to be the equal to the re-examination: 20 minutes oral examination with 20 minutes preperation time.

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