Biotechniques in Plant Breeding


Meeting times:        MWF 12:40-1:30


Location:                  BCSC 176 (Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement) Bldg 1513

Credit hours:  3



            Dr. Stephen King                                              TBA        

            Associate Professor                                                           

            Dept. of Horticultural Sciences                          I

            HFSB 409 or:                                                 

            Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center

            120A Centeq; Research Park  

            phone: 845‑2937                                              phone:

            fax: 862‑4522                                                 

            E‑mail: srking@tamu.edu                                  E‑mail:

            Cell:  229-8746


Course Description:


HORT 689. Molecular & Biological Tools in Plant Breeding. Credit 3. Course is designed to introduce plant breeders to molecular and biological tools that can be used as part of a plant breeding program to develop improved plant varieties. Some of these techniques can be incorporated into an existing program with a minimal investment, while other tools may require a significant investment in resources or in some cases may be outsourced to other departments or to outside contractors. In any case, the ultimate goal in a breeding program is to develop improved varieties using the most economical means possible. Students taking this course will be able to evaluate all the tools available to the plant breeder and make decisions on which tools to use based on specific goals and likelihood of success, balanced with estimated costs and other special considerations.


Prerequisite: Graduate level plant breeding course and at least one introductory molecular biology course or approval of instructor. 


Course Objectives: 


Students taking this course will be able to evaluate all the tools available to the plant breeder and make decisions on which tools to use based on specific goals and likelihood of success, balanced with estimated costs and other special considerations


The course will be taught as three lecture hours/week with outside reading assignments, usually in the form of scientific literature.  Class participation in the form of discussion is both encouraged and expected.  Participation may help boost a student’s grade if he/she is near the border of a letter grade.  Some classes may be in a computer lab so the students can see first hand how to handle some of the data analysis.


Grading system:

                                                                                % of final grade           _

                         King                 TBA                 Combined

3 major lecture exams        40                  40

Comprehensive final                                                                    20  


Grading scale (% of total points):


90 ‑ 100: A             70-79: C          <60: F

80 ‑   89: B              60-69: C


Makeup Policy:

Makeup examinations will be granted only for excused absences (prior approval of the instructor for required travel, or verifiable medical doctor's excuse).  Makeups for lecture exams must be scheduled within twenty four hours of the originally scheduled exam time.  Failure to contact one of the instructors (Dr. King or Dr. Menz) within this twenty four hour period with a valid medical/travel excuse will result in a zero for that examination.

Cheating and Plagiarism:

Cheating in any form during quizzes, take-home assignments, or exams, will result in a zero for that examination and possible other disciplinary actions per current TAMU Student Rules.  Students observed giving or receiving answers during an exam or assignment will receive a zero on that examination instrument. In the event of a repeat offense, an F will be assigned for the course, and the matter forwarded according to TAMU policy for other disciplinary actions.  Copying or plagiarism (including failure to cite sources) on any assignments will result in a zero for the assignment.  Cheating and plagiarism defrauds the instructor and fellow students, is a violation of the TAMU honor code, and will not be tolerated.

Copyright / plagiarism statement:

“The handouts used in this course are copyrighted.  By “handouts”, I mean all materials generated for this class, which include but are not limited to syllabi, quizzes, exams, lab problems, in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets.  Because these materials are copyrighted, you do not have the right to copy the handouts, unless I expressly grant permission.

As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one’s own the ideas, words, writings, etc., which belong to another.  In accordance with this definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you should have the permission of that person.  Plagiarism is one of the worst academic sins, for the plagiarist destroys the trust among colleagues without which research cannot be safely communicated.

If you have any questions regarding plagiarism, please consult the latest issue of the Texas A&M University Student Rules, under the section “Scholastic Dishonesty”.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement:

"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities.  Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.  If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, services for students with disabilities in Room 126 of the Koldus Building, or call 845-1637."