Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Animal Biotechnology

Course unit code: 569701

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Jose Julio Chillaron Chaves

Department: Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology

Credits: 5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 125


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Group tutorial





-  Special practices





-  Student presentation and discussion





-  Cultural trip





-  Seminar




Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


The student will learn: 

a) The applications of biotechnology to improve the production of animal species and their use as food and as biofactories. 
b) Technological aspects of the induction of reproduction and gene transfer to introduce desirable characteristics. 
c) Technological aspects of improving animal production. 
d) Ethical and biosafety issues relating to animal biotechnology. 





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

Animal biotechnology combines knowledge of biological sciences with the properties of animal organisms, their cells or molecular components in order to generate products and services using molecular and reproductive tools and techniques. Its applications are mainly in the areas of food and medicine. Animal biotechnology is a developing scientific area that advances in parallel with our knowledge and tools, as applications are found for new combinations of the elements available.



Teaching blocks


1. Subject 1. Introduction

Introduction. Food applications (animals that are more resistant to disease or have more rapid growth, higher fertility or better nutritional characteristics). Medical applications (animals that produce therapeutic proteins or replacement tissues).

2. Subject 2. Reproductive and molecular technology.

Ovulation induction techniques and collection of semen in mammals and fish. Assisted reproduction techniques (cytoplasmic sperm injection, nuclear transfer). Techniques for gene transfer to zygotes and embryos. Embryo culture and transfer techniques. Applicability to the conservation of species.

3. Subject 3. Technology for improving the production process through genetic selection.

Mass selection. Heritability. Selection limits. Other selection methods. Precision of selection. Selection index. Selection for more than one characteristic.

4. Subject 4. Applications of production improvements based on genetic selection.

Race structure: improvement in closed and open nucleus. Specific and rotational crossing. Introgression. Synthetic populations. Qualitative and quantitative characteristics of economic interest. Heritability of quantitative characteristics of economic interest. Special features of the improvement in different animal species.

5. Subject 5. Technology for improving the production process through gene transfer.

Applications of transgenesis. Factors that determine the transgene expression. Structure of the transferred gene constructs. Genes for increasing growth rates, improving the utilization of nutrients and raising resistance to diseases and vaccines.

6. Subject 6. Applications of production improvements based on gene and chromosome manipulation.

Applications in livestock. Applications in fish: chromosome manipulation for induction of polyploidy. Gynogenesis and androgenesis. Economic interest.



Teaching methods and general organization


As far as possible, the gender perspective will be incorporated in the subject syllabus.

Theory classes  

Master classes will be taught. Appropriate tools will be used for the explanations (Power Point presentations, videos, image collections, etc.). Lectures will be published on the campus virtual campus. The agenda, study materials, bibliographic sources and other tools required for the course will also be posted on the virtual campus.

Practical classes

These will consist in a visit to a Transgenesis Unit (Parc Científic de Barcelona, UB).

Student work

Students must prepare a report to meet the following objectives:

a) Learn the concepts taught in the lectures and practical classes.

b) Prepare work for the presentation and viva.

This will be prepared in pairs or groups of 2-3. It will describe, analyze and discuss an animal biotechnology topic and should be presented both as a written text and orally, with the aid of presentation software (e.g. PowerPoint). The subject will be proposed by the coordinators, students may also suggest topics. The text should not exceed 10 pages of 11-point font size, single-spaced text. The report has to be loaded into the virtual campus at least 48 h before its oral presentation in order to be available in advance to the audience of the course. 

Students are asked to raise questions in the sessions of presentations of students’ works. To keep track of the activity, afterwards the student has to write in the virtual campus (at the suitable place to this end) the questions posed in class. 



Official assessment of learning outcomes


A written test will be held, which may include short-answer and true-false questions. The questions will deal with the content of the lectures.

The students’ reports and oral presentations will be evaluated.

Attendance at lectures is obligatory. If a student is absent over 20% of the lectures, unless formal justification is provided, a mark lower than 0.5 will be added to the overall mark.

The overall mark is broken down as follows: 55% for the test result, 40% for presented work (the oral presentation and text), and 5% for two questions posed in the sessions of presentations of works by students. To this mark a maximum of 0,5 points will be added as a function of attendance. However, bearing in mind that evaluation procedure must ensure that the student has acquired a sufficient level of knowledge, an essential minimum grade of 4 out of 10 is marked as rating in test to pass the course.