Learn genetic science as a foundation for breeding and managing plants. Genetics is important to plant health management, developing new cultivars and much more.

Course Code: BSC207
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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If You Want To Be A Successful Plant Breeder Or Horticultural Scientist - START HERE

Genetics is set to change the way we go about horticulture over the coming decades; and an understanding of this area of science may well be critical to being able to take advantage of developments in the industry and get the jump on your competitors in the future.

An understanding of genetics is increasingly important but it can be a difficult subject to understand if you do not have a proper grasp of the fundamentals. Grasping those fundamentals is what this course is about! Genetics is an expansive field that branches into all areas of biology. It explains how living organisms become what they are, how they differ from one another, and how they differ from other species. In this course you will learn about cellular function, traits, characteristics and heritability.

When you understand genetics, you have a foundation for understanding how new plant cultivars are created.  It is the genetic processes that cause desired characteristics to emerge in a plant. If you want plants that resist disease, produce better flowers; bear larger crops; produce tastier fruit or grow in harsher climates; you need to understand genetics. This is the first step toward achieving such outcomes.

This course cannot teach all there is to know in this vast subject area; however, with this course as a foundation, you are better placed to understand what you encounter, and continue your learning over the years that follow.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction To Genetics
    • Where Genetics Started
    • Mendel’s Experiment
    • Mendel’s Principles
    • Advances Since Mendel
    • Important Terminology
  2. Cells, Organelles & Cell Division
    • Prokaryotes & Eukaryotes
    • Cell Structure & Function
    • Genetic Structures & Materials
    • Cell Division – Meiosis & Mitosis
    • Gameotogenesis
    • Meosis 1
    • Meosis 2
    • Gamete Production In Plants
  3. Interaction Between Chromosomes
    • Sex Determination
    • Sex Linked Inheritance
    • Linkage & Crossing Over
  4. Interaction Between Genes
    • Traits & Gene Expression
    • Polygenic Inheritance
    • Gene Interactions
    • Cytoplasmic Inheritance
    • Gene Expression
  5. Genetic Chemistry
    • Nucleic Acids
    • Chromosomes, Chromatin & Chromatids
    • Understanding The Genetic Code
    • Introns& Exons
    • Reading The Code
  6. Mutations
    • Chromosome Mutations
    • Gene Mutations
    • Categories Of Gene Mutations
    • How Do Mutations Occur?
    • Effect Of Mutations
    • Repair Of Mutations
  7. DNA Repair & Recombination
    • Excision Pathways
    • Methyl Directed Mismatch Repair
    • SOS Repair
    • Photoreactivation (Light Dependent Repair)
    • Crossing Over
    • Recombination
  8. Developmental Genetics
    • Genetics Are Instructions For Structures
    • Why Study Developmental Genetics?
    • Gene Therapy
  9. Population Genetics
    • Genetic Variation Within A Population
    • The Hardy Weinberg Law
    • Evolutionary Agents & Their Effect On Population Genetics
  10. Applied Genetics
    • Genetics In Breeding Animals
    • Genetics For Breeding Plants
    • Cloning
    • Modifying Organisms Genetically
    • Genetics In Human Health Science


  • Discuss the history of genetics.
  • Explain terminology used in genetics, particularly relevant to study of plant and animal sciences, conservation of plant and animal species, agriculture, horticulture, veterinary medicine and human health sciences.
  • Understand the structures (organelles) of cells and comprehend their basic functions specifically relating to cell division.
  • Discuss the main ways features are inherited.
  • Discuss biological interactions and the significance of gene expression in heritability.
  • Describe chemical reactions involved in genetics.
  • Explain the nature and management of genetic mutations.
  • Explain DNA repair mechanisms, and recombination to understand the significance of DNA cleaving and re-joining.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of genetics to explain how variations occur in living organisms both within and beyond species.
  • Explain both the significance and dynamics of genetic variation within populations of different living organisms.
  • Describe how genetic knowledge is applied to a variety of human endeavours.

The Future - How Will A Knowledge Of Genetics Aid Your Career?

Genetics is set to be of huge significant in all areas of agriculture, horticulture, health and animal sciences over the coming decades.

If you want a career or business in any of these industries, a knowledge of fundamental genetics is likely to be at the very least important, and more likely, absolutely essential: 

  • Farmers who understand genetics will understand how to better manage crops and livestock.
  • Health practitioners who understand genetics will better understand how to care for their patients 
  • Environmental managers who better understand genetics will better understand the environments and the species they are working with.

The Next Step

This is a solid foundation course covering the basic principles and applications of genetics. It is sure to provide you with a sound knowledge of basic genetics applicable to a variety of disciplines and underpinning many biological processes. 


Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Di

Marie Beerman

Marie has over 10 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants".
Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Lds

Dr. Lynette Morgan (Crops)

Lyn has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. Her first job was on a mushroom farm, and at university she undertook a major project studying tomatoes. She has studied nursery production and written books on hydroponic production of herbs.

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