from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life In Cold Blood: Sophisticated SerpentsSunday, 30th August 2015 08:00 - YesterdayThey get a bad rap in the Bible, but snakes are really quite wonderful Read more: Life In Cold Blood: Sophisticated Serpents
Life In Cold Blood: Sophisticated SerpentsSunday, 30th August 2015 13:00 - Yesterday
The world’s busiest railway 2015 – Mumbai Railway: Episode 1Sunday, 30th August 2015 18:00 - BBC Two
More or Less: Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes and runnersSunday, 30th August 2015 20:00 - BBC Radio 4
More or Less: Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes and runnersAvailable until Sunday, 27th September 2015 16:55More or Less investigates the Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes, engineering and how sprinters run so fast. Read more: More or Less: Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes and runners
The world’s busiest railway 2015 – Mumbai Railway: Episode 1Available until Tuesday, 29th September 2015 19:00
Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school: Episode TwoAvailable until Monday, 28th September 2015 01:55
Canals: The Making of a Nation: The Boat PeopleAvailable until Sunday, 27th September 2015 20:00
OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2015Not so much live, but with a great collection of free courses, things to watch and listen to, and... Read more: OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2015
Are our kids tough enough? Chinese schoolIn a unique experiment, five teachers from China take over the education of 50 teenagers in a... Read more: Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school
Challenges in advanced management accountingThis free course, Challenges in advanced management accounting, focuses on strategic management... Try: Challenges in advanced management accounting now
Forensic psychologyDiscover how psychology can help obtain evidence from eyewitnesses in police investigations and... Try: Forensic psychology now
Gene manipulation in plants
Genetic manipulation of crops is an issue of great current interest and controversy....
Genetic manipulation of crops is an issue of great current interest and controversy. This unit covers some of the basic science that underpins the debate and examines the hotly contested case study of the development of ‘Golden Rice’. By looking at the science 'behind the headlines' you will acquire a clearer idea of both what is possible in GM science and what may be desirable.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- understand more about the science that underlies the development of genetically modified organisms and in particular how gene transfer is brought about;
- know something of the potential benefits and uncertainties associated with gene transfer and the high levels of technical ingenuity involved;
- be better able to understand the science that underpins the development of Golden Rice and understand why the usefulness of this product has proved so contentious.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Genetic manipulation of plants and GM crops: an introduction
- 2 Genetic modification of plant cells
- 3 Common traits introduced by GM
- 4 Golden Rice: a case study
- 5 Summary
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn and track your progress. Make your learning visible!
Gene manipulation in plants
In recent years, scientists have made huge gains in their understanding of how genes can be altered and transferred from one organism to another – but that knowledge has been acquired amidst controversy and concern. The deep ethical concerns that have resulted from the emergence of genetic manipulation are explored in this unit. We begin with an examination of the basic structure and function of genes. A number of pioneering examples and techniques are explored, helping to explain why our present-day view of genetic manipulation can combine feelings of optimism and unease. Examples are drawn from both plants (notably GM crops) and animals (including Dolly the sheep), with a special emphasis on the implications of promising medical techniques such as gene therapy. Our hope is that by exploring the science ‘behind the headlines’, and its interactions with the equally complex social factors, we will acquire a clearer idea of both what is possible and what may be desirable.
This unit is an adapted exract from the course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th October 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.