First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP3056723, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2015/16

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
IF1839, Degree course structure A.Y. 2011/12, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 12.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge LIVIO TRAINOTTI BIO/01

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/01 General Botanics 6.0
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/06 Comparative Anatomy and Citology 3.0
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/13 Applied Biology 3.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 4.0 64 36.0 No turn
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Prerequisites: For optimal benefits from the course, the student must possess knowledge of genetics, molecular biology, morphology, physiology and biochemistry.
Target skills and knowledge: The course is divided into two modules:
Biotechnology applied to animal cells and organisms;
Biotechnology applied to plant cells and organisms.

From the Academic Year 2017-18, it will be possible to choose the modules as single courses, with the following codes: SCP7081217 (Biotechnology applied to animal cells and organisms) and SCP7081218 (Biotechnology applied to plant cells and organisms).

A) Biotechnology applied to animal cells and organisms.
In the theoretical part of the course Lectures on the most commons techniques for isolation and in vitro maintenance of cells from model animals (mouse, drosophila and zebrafish), their induction to specific fates, genetic manipulation of animals and introduction of reporter genes to follow sub cellular components.
Laboratories are aimed to present basic protocols in cell culture, stem cells manipulation and in vitro differentiation, development of living biosensors for environmental protection and drug screening.

B) Biotechnology applied to plant cells and organisms .
The theoretical part of the course deals with the description of the most common techniques for isolation and in vitro maintenance of plant tissues and cells in vitro, controlled induction of ontogenetic processes, the genetic manipulation of plants, with particular emphasis to model organisms such as carrot , tobacco and Arabidopsis . We will show examples of some of the most important applications of plant biotechnology, of molecular methods currently available to allow the detection of genetically modified plants or their derivatives in food products and current trends for the development of new technologies and products .
The practical part has the purpose to make students familiar with some basic protocols for the in vitro culture of plant cells and tissues, their controlled differentiation, the production of protoplasts, the extraction of metabolites, nucleic acids and proteins from plant tissues; moreover, transient expression by means of Agrobacteriun transformation will be carried out. DNA and proteins will be used used for the detection of genes of interest and for enzymatic assays, including those of reporter proteins.
Examination methods: The student will be admitted to the examination after attending the course activities and having submitted the laboratory report.
The exam will be a written test with questions regarding both the theoretical and practical part of the program.
Assessment criteria: The student will be assessed on its ability to explain in a clear, concise, critical, and with the necessary lexical appropriateness the topics in the program. The commitment and the results of the practical part will account for about 25 % of the final grade.
Course unit contents: Biotechnology applied to animal cells and organisms.
Cell cultures and their applications : Isolation of cells in culture. Evolution of the culture. Types of cultures. Parameters for the characterization and monitoring of cells in culture. Essential characteristics of a laboratory cell cultures. Optimal conditions for the cultivation of cells and the control of possible contaminations. Assessment of the viability and proliferation of cultured cells. Methods for synchronization of a cell culture.
Introduction of exogenous DNA in mammalian cells: Characteristics of vectors for eukaryotic cells. Reporter systems. Transient and stable transfections. Methods of transfection.
Subcellular localization of macromolecules: Techniques of cell fractionation and immunofluorescence. Use and production of mono-and polyclonal antibodies. GFP and its application in cell culture : subcellular localization of proteins , analysis of protein-protein interactions (FRET), analysis of the dynamics of the protein ( FRAP ), photoactivatable GFP .
Apoptosis: Main morphological and biochemical criteria. Characteristics of the caspase enzymes, classes and activities. Intrinsic and extrinsic pathway. Pro-and anti- apoptotic stimuli. Regulation of apoptosis. Methods for detecting apoptosis in cell cultures. Applications .
Stem cells: Sources of stem cells. Features of embryonic and adult stem cells and their classification. Induced stem cells. Maintenance in culture of stem cells: applications and prospects for therapeutic.
Genetics of domestication and selection: Domestication and related technologies (sperm freezing , AI, IVF-ET ) . Cloning.
Animal Models : Mouse , Zebrafish , Drosophila.
Mutagenesis in animal systems: random and " targeted " (homologous, Talen, ZNF, CRISPR -Cas9)

Biotechnology applied to plant cells and organisms.
The basics of plant cell culture: culture media, aseptic culture techniques and equipments. Examples of in vitro cell cultures of tobacco, Arabidopsis, carrot.
Somatic embryogenesis: the maintenance of embryogenic cultures, induction, development and maturation of the embryo in several plant model systems (carrot and tobacco). Artificial seeds. Clonal propagation. Isolation, culture and fusion of protoplasts. The conservation of germplasm: conservation of pollen; conservation of species propagated vegetatively and by seed.
Impact on world agriculture of plant biotechnology and of genetically modified plants.
Transformation of plants. Techniques for the transformation of plants (PEG -mediated transformation, electroporation, the biolistic technique, transformation mediated by Agrobacterium, transformation mediated by viruses) . Vectors used in genetic transformation of plants and their optimization. New genome editing technologies applied to plant model systems. Role of transgenesis in functional genomic studies.
Examples of the use of cell cultures and transgenic plants as bioreactors for the production of useful molecules (drugs, industrial enzymes, biofuels).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The activity is organized in lectures (4 +4 credits) and laboratory (2 +2 credits).
The lecture activity involves the use of multimedia tools and small group discussions, while the laboratory activity will be carried out using tools available in a modern biotechnology animal and plant lab (laminar flow hoods for the manipulation of tissues and cells in sterility, incubators, growth chambers, microscopes, electrophoresis systems for biomolecules, thermal cyclers, centrifuges, etc.). Laboratory activities will be carried out in groups.
Additional notes about suggested reading: A list of recommended books on animal and plant biotechnology will be available. During the lessons the teacher will indicate the various chapters of the recommended books where it will be possible to find information about the contents of the lesson. Other materials, like scientific articles, will be distributed to students, also by means of the electronic Moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Pasqua, Gabriella; Cozzolino, Salvatore, Biologia cellulare e biotecnologie vegetaliGabriella PasquaS. Cozzolino ... [et al.]. Padova: Piccin, 2011.
  • Flavia Zucco e Vera Bianchi, Nozioni di Colture cellulari. --: Lombardo editore, --.
  • Mariottini G.L., Capicchioni V., Introduzione alle colture cellulari. --: Tecniche nuove, --.
  • Jennie P. Mather and David Barnes, Animal cell Culture Methods Methods in Cell Biology Vol 57. --: Academic Press, --.