The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Thinking Allowed 2016: 'Queer' wars, Nigerian beauty pageantsMonday, 30th May 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4Laurie Taylor and guests looks at the international polarisation over sexual rights and beauty contests in a... Read more: Thinking Allowed 2016: 'Queer' wars, Nigerian beauty pageants
The Educators: Series 2: Character LessonsMonday, 30th May 2016 23:30 - BBC Radio 4
Life - with David Attenborough: Creatures of the DeepTuesday, 31st May 2016 09:00 - Eden
Life - with David Attenborough: PlantsTuesday, 31st May 2016 10:00 - Eden
Old School With The Hairy Bikers: EPISODE 3Available until Sunday, 26th June 2016 20:00With only four weeks left at the Oxford Academy, we look to see how the old and young have learned from each other. Read more: Old School With The Hairy Bikers: EPISODE 3
Thinking Allowed 2016: 'Queer' wars, Nigerian beauty pageantsAvailable for over a year
All in the Mind - Summer 2016: Exams and the mental health of children, a community approach to suicide preventionAvailable for over a year
Thinking Allowed 2016: Glasgow gangs - Russian gangsAvailable for over a year
Life - with David AttenboroughDavid Attenborough explores the vibrant mix of life found on our plant - where it comes from, and... Read more: Life - with David Attenborough
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Una lengua en movimientoThis free course will develop your knowledge and understanding of the societies and cultures of... Try: Una lengua en movimiento now
Organisations and management accountingThis free course, Organisations and management accounting, examines the nature of organisations,... Try: Organisations and management accounting now
Genetic manipulation of crops is an issue of great current interest and controversy. This free course, Gene manipulation in plants, 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 considered desirable.
After studying this course, 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
- understand more 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
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. 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 course. 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 OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course S250.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Biology courses or view the range of currently available OU Biology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016
- 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 and our FAQs 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.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (2.4 MB)
- PDF (3.5 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (2 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (2 MB)
- Kindle (747 KB)
- RSS (248 KB)
- HTML (1.6 MB)
- SCORM (1.6 MB)
- OUXML Package (33 KB)
- OUXML File (102 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.