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Courses taught by Dr. Pat Byrne

SOCR 430, Applications of Plant Biotechnology, 3 credits

The course covers current and potential applications of DNA-based biotechnology at a level appropriate for upper-level undergraduates or beginning graduate students. Topics include:

  • Genetic engineering of plants: Techniques, applications, and concerns
  • Genome editing: Methods and regulation
  • Gene discovery for agricultural and adaptation traits
  • Use of molecular markers in plant breeding
  • ‘Omics’ technologies: Introduction to genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and bioinformatics

Co-instructor: Dr. Stephen Pearce

Prerequisites: An introductory genetics course (SOCR 330, BZ 350, or equivalent)

The course is offered fall semester of even-numbered years


SOCR 460/HORT 460, Plant Breeding, 3 credits

In this course students become aware of the history and current importance of plant breeding; improve their understanding of the genetic principles underlying crop improvement; learn about the different reproductive systems of plants and their influence on plant breeding strategies; learn how plant breeding programs are organized and implemented by studying several examples of agronomic and horticultural crops; and become introduced to the applications of molecular markers and genetic engineering in plant breeding.

Co-instructor: Dr. Mark Brick

Prerequisite: An introductory genetics course (SOCR 330, BZ 350, or equivalent)

The course is offered fall semester of odd-numbered years


SOCR 570, Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance (online), 1 credit

This is a completely online course available to distance learners through CSU Online and to resident students. Content is delivered via narrated PowerPoint presentations, relevant reading assignments, videos, and online discussions. The course covers

  • Defining the target environment for improving drought tolerance
  • Major elements of plant response to drought
  • Primary and secondary phenotypic traits used in selecting for drought tolerance,
  • Quantitative trait locus analysis for locating genes for drought tolerance
  • Potential benefits and limitations of using wild germplasm and landraces for improving drought tolerance
  • Successful examples of improving drought tolerance in a variety of crops (both through conventional plant breeding and transgenic methods), and

Homework assignments include analysis of a target environment for a specific crop, a report of an interview with a practicing plant breeder, and a proposal for a plant breeding program to improve drought tolerance.

Prerequisite: Introductory courses in genetics, plant breeding, and statistics, or permission of instructor.

The course is offered fall semester of odd-numbered years.


SOCR 725, Quantitative Inheritance in Plant Breeding, 3 credits

This course covers the historical development of quantitative genetics; principles and methods of traditional quantitative genetic analysis; principles and methods of molecular marker-based quantitative genetic analysis (QTL analysis and association mapping); and the uses of quantitative genetic methods in plant breeding programs. Instruction is delivered through two lectures and a computer lab each week.

Prerequisite: Introductory courses in genetics and statistics or permission of the instructor.

The course is offered spring semester of even-numbered years


SOCR 730, Topics in Plant Breeding and Genetics, 1 credit

This is a seminar course in which students read and discuss current literature in plant science and crop improvement.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

The course is offered fall semester of even-numbered years


For more information on degree programs in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, visit the following links:

Graduate Program

Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Courses


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