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APBI 235 Biotechnology
in Agricultural Food Production
APBI 235
Section: TBA
Instructor: Dr. Vivien Measday
Office: Wine Research Centre
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule: TBA
Classroom: TBA
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

This course is an introduction to genetics, genomics, and biotechnology concepts with applications to agricultural food production and food safety. Applications of these concepts in the growing field of agricultural biotechnology will be discussed with specific examples in the fields of plant science, animal science, aquaculture, and food and environmental microbiology.

Learning Objectives

Students who enrol in this course will learn:

  1. Fundamental concepts in molecular biology (nucleic acid (DNA) and protein biochemistry, gene regulation) and genetics.
  2. Genomics and approaches to genomic studies (basic concepts in systems biology research, gene sequencing, sequence bioinformatics, gene expression analyses, and molecular mapping).
  3. Biotechnology concepts, including genetic modification (GM) and non-GM applications to agricultural food production.
  4. Regulatory and ethical issues in biotechnology, with a focus on Canadian policies.

Learning Outcomes

Students will achieve a good working knowledge of the basics in molecular biology, genetics, and agricultural biotechnology. They will be able to implement knowledge gained to understand and critically evaluate the various uses of biotechnology in the production and enhancement of animal, plant, fish, and fermented food products. Students will further be enabled to better appraise ethical and regulatory issues associated with the use of agricultural biotechnology, both domestically and abroad.

Reading List

  1. Required textbook: Introduction to Biotechnology, 2nd Edition. 2009. W.J. Thieman, and M.A. Palladino. Pearson/Benjamin Cummigs (Publisher), ISBN 978-0-321-49145-9.
  2. Various web links and media articles to follow in support of biotech learning objectives.
    • N.B.: Materials will be selected to provide balanced viewpoints towards biotechnology in agricultural food production.


See Course:APBI235/Syllabus


Assignment Percentage of Grade
Midterm Exam 40%
Final Exam 40%
Essay 10%
Group Presentation 10%

Exams. Students will be assessed on their knowledge of the material covered in the lectures through one midterm exam and one final written exam. The exam format will be multiple choice and short answer. The mark breakdown is 40% of the final score for each exam.

Assignment. Students will each write one short essay on any aspect of agricultural biotechnology related to topics covered in lectures 17 through 36. The essay is to be approximately 1000 words in length, in Times New Roman 12 point font with double line spacing. The essay is due on the final day of class, and will constitute 10% of the final score of the course. Content should include:

  1. a historical perspective of the selected topic
  2. presentation of current uses of biotechnology and associated technologies
  3. current and anticipated ethical, economic, environmental, and/or legal issues
  4. a section on the student's perspectives on the topic (your chance to make and defend your stance!)

Discussion Group. Students will work in small teams of 3 to 4. The team will summarize lecture and text information, as well as present additional information obtained from publications, websites, or other media that team members deem to be pertinent. Team members will present a 10 minute summary in class using Powerpoint slides and then lead a class discussion using prepared questions. Each team member will be evaluated on his/her presentation quality, poise, clarity, and ability to engage fellow students in discussion. The evaluation score will constitute 10% of the final score for the course.