Molecular Genetics of Crops

TPSS 614


Michael Muszynski


This course provides an understanding of plant genetic mechanisms, the multiple layers of how the expression of genetic information is regulated and how this knowledge can be applied to crop improvement.  Upon completion of the course, students will be able to (1) understand and explain the mechanisms that allow regulated expression of genetic information, (2) understand and explain how various modern molecular genetic and genomic techniques function and (3) determine how to best apply them to specific crop improvement objectives. 

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Understand the molecular mechanisms plants use to regulate gene expression and how to apply that to crop improvement.


This course combines lectures, in-class discussions and problem-solving assignments. Active participation in discussions and other in-class activities is required. No textbook is required but content will be provided in class and on Laulima from primary literature. Students are expected to read the papers before class in order to effectively participate in discussions. Students should have a laptop or tablet to bring to class for web-based exercises and a paper notebook and writing implement.


TPSS 453 and MBBE 402, or consent. Studtns should have a firm understanding of transmission and molecular genetics.


Final grades will be calculated from a total of 400 points.  Points are earned from class participation (5/day = 75 total), three Problem Sets (25/each = 75 total), a Student led presentation on a case study (50) and a final, written Research Proposal (50 -1st draft, 150 final).  Since in-class discussion is required, participation from each student each class is expected.  There will be NO research proposal, presentation or problem set make-ups.  See course policies for the attendance policy.