Plant developmental biology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide the basic concepts that regulate plant development, starting from fertilization and embryo patterning, up to the post-embryonic development of all adult, vegetative (roots, leaves) and reproductive structures (inflorescences and flowers). The course will discuss the genetic and molecular processes that lead to establish specific cell identities and organ shapes. It will mostly be based on examples taken from model species. However, where possible, diversity and homology among developmental processes of terrestrial plants will be explored, in the context of evolution of the various forms and adaptations.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be familiar with the fundamental notions that govern plant development, will know the differences between plant and animal development and will be able to describe the most important genetic/molecular mechanisms that control differentiation of the main organs or tissues.
The student will also be able to discuss this knowledge in an evolutionary context, and will be able to highlight the developmental differences and the evolutionary innovations implemented by terrestrial plants.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
The lectures will be given on ZOOm or Microsoft TEAMS platform. The lectures will be recordered and available on Ariel.
On Ariel will be available all the material needed to prepare the examination.
Course syllabus
Introduction: plant development, differences between plants and animals, morphogens and positional information. Genetic and molecular tools necessary to study plant development. Model systems.
Embryo development. Development and maintenance of the shoot apical meristem.
Leaf development: positioning of new vegetative organs, determining leaf shape and polarity.
The floral transition. Environmental cues controlling flowering: photoperiod and vernalization. The evolution of plant responses to environmental cues.
Root development.
Flower and floral organ development. Evolution of the flower from ancestral forms and hypothesis on the molecular mechanisms involved. Sporophytic and gametophytic incompatibility. Seeds and germination.
Artificial manipulation of developmental processes during domestication and domestication genes.
Prerequisites for admission
A good basic knowledge of plant biology and genetics is required.
Teaching methods
The lessons will be supported by slides and videos that will be also available in Ariel. Furthermore, Scientific papers and reviews on specific topics will be discuss with the students. All the material discussed will be available in Ariel.
Teaching Resources
Slides and videos from the lessons (available in Ariel).
Scientific papers and reviews on specific topics (available in Ariel.)
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will be oral with questions on the topics discussed during the lectures. The students will have to discuss specific topics that were presented in the frame of the course.
BIO/01 - GENERAL BOTANY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours