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  3. Plant Health and Improvement

Plant Health and Improvement (BIOL30006)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeBIOL30006
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Formerly AGRI30032

This subject outlines the methods used to identify pathogens causing plant diseases, the consequences of diseases for plant productivity; and techniques used in breeding for plant disease resistance. The links between these two areas are explored as plant breeders and pathologists seek novel genetic material capable of resisting or tolerating plant pathogens.

Topics covered include:

  • Taxonomy, identification and biology of the main groups of plant pathogens and abiotic causes of plant diseases
  • Host pathogen relationships, and the nature of disease resistance and pathogenesis
  • Methods to identify pathogens, and development of tools for diagnosis
  • Processes leading to plant disease epidemics and their evaluation
  • Principles and methodology of plant breeding for disease resistance
  • Evolutionary processes and genetic variability of plant and pathogen populations
  • World-wide distribution and conservation of plant genetic resources
  • Methods of breeding self– and cross-pollinating plants
  • Management and integrated control of plant diseases

Practical work includes:

  • Identification and diagnosis of common diseases
  • Development of skills in research techniques and methodology in plant pathology

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students will:

  • Understand the importance of genetic resources
  • Understand the principles and methodology of plant breeding and improvement
  • Be familiar with the biology and taxonomy of the major biotic causes of disease
  • Be aware of the factors leading to disease epidemics
  • Be capable of diagnosing common diseases of agricultural and horticultural crops
  • Be able to formulate a practicable approach to integrated disease control in commercial plant species

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:

  • Capacity to tackle unfamiliar problems
  • Ability to integrate knowledge from different disciplines
  • Communication skills, through written and oral presentations
  • Quantitative analysis skills
  • Sense of intellectual curiosity

Last updated: 16 June 2018