Trends in Plant Reproduction Biology: from Flowers to Seeds


About this course

The evolutionary success and enormous diversity among flowering plants is mainly the result of the sexual reproduction process, which starts with flowering and results in the formation of fruits and seeds. This key process is under tight genetic and molecular control, but is also adapted to the environment. How such a conserved process can show flexibility remains an intriguing question. In this advanced course the latest breakthroughs and trends in plant reproduction research will be discussed with a focus on molecular and genetic mechanisms and the impact of 'omics' - technologies. Included topics:

  • flowering time control;
  • flower organ formation;
  • evolution of reproductive processes;
  • gametophyte development and fertilization;
  • fruit set;
  • seed development.

Students will not only get insight in the complex molecular and genetic networks underlying plant reproduction, but will also get acquainted with writing of a research proposal, how to design a well-thought and focused research question, and how to address this research question. Note that this course has a maximum number of students.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • distinguish and describe the latest trends in plant reproduction research in their own words;

  • design an approach to answer a research question related to the molecular regulation of plant reproduction;

  • critically read and evaluate a scientific paper and implement the extracted information into a research plan;

  • design a well-thought, realistic and focused research question;

  • write and present a research proposal on a selected biological topic in a small team.

Teaching method and examination

The final grade is based on a written exam (50%) and a group research proposal (50%). The minimal required pass mark for each individual component is 5,50. Participation in the literature discussions, which are part of this course, is compulsory (pass/fail). The grades for the written exam, the group research proposal and 'literature discussion pass score' are valid until and including the academic year following on the year in which they were obtained.

The written exam is based on the provided information in the lectures and the papers and consists of mainly open and case-based questions. The research proposal writing is a group assignment and depending on the total number of students registered for the course, done by three to four team members. Re-submission of an improved version of an insufficiently graded group proposal is possible in the resit period.

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
This is an advanced master course and therefore, a good basic knowledge of molecular biology and genomics is essential. We strongly advice to follow first at least one of the following courses or equivalent: GEN-30306 (Genetic Analysis, Tools and Concepts), MOB-20803 (Mechanisms of Development), MOB-30806 (Regulation of Plant Development), MOB-31303 (Molecular Development), MOB-31812 (Toolbox Molecular Biology), PPH-30306 (Plant Cell and Tissue Culture), or PPH-30806 (Plant Plasticity and Adaptation). Affinity with plant reproduction and plant developmental concepts is advantageous.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 oktober 2024

    • Ends
      20 december 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment starts in 49 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University