Genetically Modified Organisms

Subject BTCH90010 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr David Tribe


Subject Overview:

This subject investigates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their potential benefits for humankind in the 21st century, against the background of controversy and public concern triggered by the release of transgenic plants and animals into the food chain. The course examines the contrast between (i) the established use GMOs for many years in drug synthesis, getting limited negative attention, and (ii) the environmental release of agricultural genetically modified plants and animals, which has been accompanied by much public concern regards to safety and societal implications.


At the completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • appreciate the broad economic consequences of technological innovation in biology, and the global context of public policy on agricultural biotechnology;
  • recognise the similarities and differences between DNA transfer and rearrangement as it occurs in nature as compared to deliberate genetic manipulation the laboratory; and
  • be able to articulate the opportunity costs and human welfare benefits of public policies concerning biotechnology.

One 2000 word essay, due mid-semester (50%); a two-hour end-of-semester examination (50%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

None (selected reading from the literature and general media will be provided during the course).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject students should gain:

  • experience in examining critically, synthesising and evaluating knowledge across a range of disciplines;
  • expanded analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences relating to public policy and technological risk assessment; and
  • knowledge to be active global citizens and accept social and civic responsibilities, and be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment based on comprehensive and open-minded consideration of evidence.

Students undertaking this subject will be expected to regularly access an internet-enabled computer.

Related Course(s): Master of Science (Biotechnology)

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