Plant Genome Editing and Selection

Course content

In this course, we demonstrate how advanced technologies and strategies can be used for future modification of important cultured plants that are disease-free and meet the demands for environmentally sustainable production of food, feed, industrial raw material and ornamentals of high quality. Novel methods are presented by which plants can be modified and how the best lines can be selected. The students will see that molecular plant breeding is demand-driven, and that high creativity may be required in order to fulfill these demands.

The course will be based on lectures as well as theoretical and laboratory exercises and it will focus on two major technologies to be used for plant improvements: genome editing and genome selection.

“Genome Editing” describes site-directed genome modification methods, such as TILLING, TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9. Target genes will be selected based on prior knowledge of molecular processes relevant for plant improvements. Bioinformatics will be used to design DNA constructs for CRISPR/Cas9. A laboratory exercise using CRISPR/Cas9 site-directed genome editing is included in the course.

“Genome Selection” describes the use of molecular genetic markers and genomics for allele-selection (SSR, SNP, MAS) to explore natural variation present in plant genetic resources (mutants, landraces, wild relatives). Information from the massive amounts of data emerging from whole genome sequencing, functional genomics, and phenotyping technologies will be discussed with focus at genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for gene-discovery and genomic selection (GS) for plant and animal breeding.  Laboratory exercises on GWAS for finding candidate genes behind traits will be included in the course.

The theoretical and laboratory exercises will be made in small student groups. The results will be presented at small seminars and written reports on “Genome Editing” and on “Genome Selection” will be submitted.


MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Biotechnology

Learning outcome

After completing the course the students should be able to:


- describe the theoretical basis for different genome editing and selection strategies and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages

- describe molecular mechanisms behind the crop-related characters, e.g. disease resistance and quality traits

- characterize a number of key genes with major historic relevance in plant breeding (e.g. mlo and dwarf-8)

- mention major databases and literature within the area


- demonstrate laboratory experience in plant genome editing and selection

- demonstrate laboratory experience in bioinformatics


- construct programs for crop improvement using genome editing and selection

- apply knowledge on molecular mechanisms behind selected plant characters to design demanded crop phenotypes

Lectures, laboratory exercises, teoretical exercises, discussions, journal clubs

A mixture of lectures for overviews and two four-week practical laboratory cases for small student groups in ongoing research areas. The students will describe this in a written report. These activities are complemented by journal clubs and discussions on specifically relevant themes.

Lecture notes, scientific papers and reviews, laboratory protocols. Further information will be available on Absalon.

Prerequisites equivalent to:

Molekylær genetik LBIF10184
Plant Genomics LBIA10213
Plant Breeding LPLF10314
Tema: Plantevidenskab LPLB10328

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Written feedback on the group reports

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min.
Oral examination based on a case report randomly selected at the exam and general course content. No preparation.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

"12" is scored by the student who can demonstrate having understood the described course content, including the principles behind.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 21
  • Preparation
  • 70
  • Theory exercises
  • 70
  • Laboratory
  • 40
  • Exam
  • 5
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Hans Thordal-Christensen   (3-78847350807c757e3e7b853e747b)

Hans Thordal-Christensen
Carsten Pedersen
Mads Eggert Nielsen

Saved on the 09-12-2021

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