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July 21, 2000


Text book suggestions for Plant Biotech Course


To the Members of the Listgroup,
This is intended primarily to those members who are involved in

courses on plant biotechnology on the undergraduate level. Below,

I include my correspondence with C.S. Prakash. Your suggestions

and comments on the questions raised are much appreciated.

Imre Tamas

Biology Department

Ithaca College


Dear Dr. Prakash,

I am planning to offer a new course on plant

biotechnology as it relates to food and environmental

issues. The course is intended for students in our

recently established environmental studies major

who will enroll in the course after completing

two semesters of introductory biology and one semester

of chemistry. The environmental studies major (in

contrast to our biology and biochemistry majors)

offers training primarily in the social and policy

aspects of environmental issues, while intending to

provide a firm base of biological science for these

non-science majors.

I know of your work on transgenic crop plants

intended for developing countries. I wonder if you could

give me references on your research for use in

my new course?

Also, in case you are involved in teaching courses

on plant biotechnology on the undergraduate level,

I would appreciate comments on source materials

that you might use.

Presently, I am considering Sheldon Krimsky's

Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment

(University of Illinois Press, 1966) possibly as my

main text. Can you suggest anything more recent?

For recent material on plant biotechnology and food,

I plan to rely heavily on the last several issues of

NABC Reports. Also, Gordon Conway's The

Green Revolution
seems to be a good ancillary source

as it relates to global food issues.

The course will include a unit on the basics of plant

molecular genetics, the technology of gene transfer,

and the properties of transgenic plants. For this, I

will use: D. Wong, The ABCs of Gene Cloning,

Chapman & Hall, 1997. This is a short book covering

the basics of genetic technology intended for a general


These sources cover much of what I want to cover.

A key gap seems to relate to the use of biotechnology

in improving food production in the developing world.

Any information on this would be much appreciated.
Imre Tamas
Biology Department
Ithaca College