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GENE223 Developmental and Applied Genetics

Developmental genetics of bacteria, yeast, animals and plants; mutant screens to investigate gene function; applications of genetically engineered plants and animals in biotechnology; safety and regulation of GE organisms.

GENE223 provides an overview of the genetic basis of development in a broad range of organisms - from microorganisms to animals and plants. Development specifies the morphology of these organisms. The paper includes examples of how genetic engineering and genome editing are used to understand development and how genetics can be in a broad range biotechnology applications, including food production and medicine. The lecture course is complemented by a laboratory course that gives hands-on experience of methods that are used in developmental genetics and biotechnology.

Paper title Developmental and Applied Genetics
Paper code GENE223
Subject Genetics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CELS 191 and 90 further points
Recommended Preparation
GENE 221 and BIOC 221
Schedule C
The paper is appropriate for students majoring in biological sciences (including Genetics, Zoology, Botany), applied sciences or biomedical sciences.

Teaching staff

Convenor: Associate Professor Tina Summerfield

Other teaching staff:

Professor Clive Ronson

Dr Tyler McInnes

Associate Professor Caroline Beck

Associate Professor Stephanie Hughes

Professor Richard Macknight

Professor Peter Dearden

Dr Gillian MacKay

Associate Professor Phil Wilcox

Paper Structure

The lecture course is divided into five topics:

  • Bacterial model systems (3 lectures)
  • Yeast as a model eukaryote (1 lecture)
  • Animal development (10 lectures)
  • Plant development (4 lectures)
  • Biotechnology (12 lectures)

The practical sessions of the course will provide the opportunity to experience some of the methods used in developmental genetics and biotechnology and to learn skills required for the interpretation of results. This includes genetic analysis of yeast, embryonic development in animals and plants (including chemical manipulation of zebrafish development), the use of commercial kits for detecting genetically modified organisms and discussion of the ethical, economic and environmental issues around the use of genetic engineering.

Teaching Arrangements
There are six weeks of laboratory classes, in three 2-week blocks. Students are assigned to one of two lab streams.

Introduction to Genetic Analysis, Griffiths, 12th Edition. Earlier editions of this book are also satisfactory if you have access to a copy.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will understand:

  • The complexity of developmental genetics in bacterial model systems.
  • The use of yeast as a simple model of eukaryote development.
  • The diversity of animal models for development; signalling in animal development.
  • Sex determination as a developmental cascade.
  • Genetic screens as tools to build genetic pathways.
  • Production and use of transgenic plants to understand development.
  • Genetic control of flowering.
  • The use of genetically engineered organisms as chemical factories.
  • Manipulation to improve quality and yield.
  • The production of transgenic foods and the associated health, safety and regulatory issues.
  • Biotechnology applications for human health.

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 36-41
D1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41
E1 Friday 12:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 28
Friday 14:00-17:50 29, 32-33, 37-38
A2 Monday 14:00-17:50 29-30, 33-34, 38-39