Genetically Modified Organisms

Subject BTCH90010 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

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:

170 hrs





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


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.

Learning Outcomes:

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:


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 Biotechnology

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