cod. 1004397

Academic year 2024/25
3° year of course - Second semester
Giovanna VISIOLI
Academic discipline
Biologia applicata (BIO/13)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Organisms, their morphology, their history, their activities, their potentialities are the product of complex interactions between their genetic background and the environment. If the environment changes, also the characteristic of the organisms change. The main objective of the course is to understand, from the molecular point of view, the response of the organisms, in particular plants, to different biotic and abiotic stresses.
The competences that the student will acquire will be theoretical and methodological (II Dublin descriptor). Starting from these knowledge we will analyse some biotechnological approaches in agronomic field to obtain cultures more resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses and in the environmental field to utilise organisms as biosensors for the environmental pollution.
This course is based on new and evolving knowledge’s in the field and at this purpose it will give to the students the instruments (such as scientific papers showing recent experiments in the fields) to be able to acquire confidence in the different subjects (Dublin descriptors III, IV, V). The student will also be encouraged to perform researches by himself on a specific subject of interest to implement its knowledge capacity in the field.


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Course unit content

Molecular studies of the interactions between living organisms and the environment. Phenotypic plasticity and genetic variation. Molecular response to biotic and abiotic stress in plants. Biotechnological approaches for enhancing crop resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Living organisms as bioindicators of environmental pollution.

Full programme


1. Adaptation to the environment and stress response in eucariotic organisms: Adaptation and phenotypic response; Adaptation and genetic response (DNA and chromosomes, genetic, genomic and chromosomic mutations, polyploidy); Epigenetic variations and phenotypic response

2. Plant response to stresses: Biotic stress; Abiotic stress (water deficit; heat; freezing; metal stress)
3. Biotechnological approaches in the agronomic field: selection of plants resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses; production of transgenic plants resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses
4. Environmental biotechnologies: organisms as bioindicators of environmental perturbations (mutagenicity tests; eco-toxicological tests)


Since no specific text is available comprehensive of all the arguments treated in the course, the professor will give the student all the material necessary for the preparation of the exame, such as slides and articles written in English.

Teaching methods

The course will comprise frontal lessons on different subjects:
In particular for each subject bibliography will be given to the student to implement its knowledge on a specific subject.
The different subjects will be linked by continuing reminders of the teacher in a way that the student can have a huge overview of all the subjects considered in the course.
When it is possible for some subjects some examples will be taken to explain better the theory
The course is also enriched by monographic seminars by invited speakers experts in different sectors. This fact will help the student to understand the practical problems evidenced during theoretical lessons
During the frontal lessons the teacher will verify the level of knowledge by address specific questions.

Assessment methods and criteria

During the frontal lessons the teacher will verify the level of knowledge by address specific questions.
Final oral examination will consist in the preparation of a written elaborate of one argument treated during the frontal lesson. The student will explain orally the elaborate. From this point the teacher will perform other question related to the different parts of the course.
The evaluation of the exam will take in consideration (Dublin descriptors 1,2):
- the capacity to explain the elaborate
- the capacity to link the presentation of the elaborate with other arguments of the course
- the level of knowledge of all the arguments treated during the examination considering both theoretical and technical aspects
The final exam will be passed if the student reached the sufficiency in at least two of the four parameter considered

Other information

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