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Advanced Plant Genome Editing and Selection
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5726-21-09-31There are 8 available seats 
Enrollment deadline: 17/01/2022
PlaceDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Date and timeFebruary 2022 - April 2022
Regular seats10
ECTS credits7.50
Contact personHans Thordal-Christensen    E-mail address: htc@plen.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserHans Thordal-Christensen    E-mail address: htc@plen.ku.dk
Written languageEnglish
Teaching languageEnglish
Exam formCourse participation
Exam formWritten assignment
Exam detailsOral exam. Prerequisite for examination: participation in 75% of the course and submission of both reports
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours
Practical exercises110.00
Preparation / Self-Study70.00


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 practical exercises and it will focus on two major technologies to be used for plant improvements: “genome editing” and “genomic selection”.

“Genome editing” describes site-directed genome modification methods, such as TILLING, TALEN and not least 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.

“Genomic Selection” describes the use of molecular genetic markers, genomics for allele-selection, and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 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 GWAS for gene-discovery and genomic selection for plant breeding. Laboratory exercises on GWAS for finding candidate genes behind traits will be included in the course.

The theoretical and practical 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.

The course is completed with an oral exam.

Aim and content
The course aims to introduce the newest progress in technologies to make site-specific changes in genomes (genome editing), identify genes important for specific phenotypes (GWAS) and advanced genotype selection in breeding (genomic selection).

Learning outcome
After completing the course the students should be able to:

- describe the theoretical basis for different genome editing and genomic 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
- mention major databases and literature within the area

- demonstrate laboratory experience in plant genome editing and genomic selection - demonstrate experience in bioinformatics

- construct programs for crop improvement using genome editing and genomic selection
- apply knowledge on molecular mechanisms behind selected plant characters to design demanded crop phenotypes

Lecture notes, scientific papers and reviews, laboratory protocols.

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, laboratory exercises, theoretical 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 two written reports.


Course fee PhD students (Open Market Agreement, Nova, VLAG): DKK 10.000


UCPH discloses non-sensitive personal data to course leader/speakers, if any. In addition, we will disclose non-sensitive personal data to the other participants in the course. Non-sensitive personal data includes names, job positions, institution names & addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses

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