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Courses

WACCI Course Offerings and Academic Requirements

Year 1

SEMESTER 1

 

Core Courses

 

WACI 711 Statistics and Experimental Design   

3 Credits

WACI 713 Population and Evolutionary Genetics

3 Credits

WACI 715 Genomics and Bioinformatics

3 Credits

 

 

Elective Courses (students should take a minimum of one elective)

WACI 709 Plant Pests and Integrated Pest Management

3 Credits

WACI 717 Plant-Microbe Interactions

3 Credits

WACI 719 Plant Molecular Biology

3 Credits

WACI 721 Environmental Stress Physiology

3 Credits

WACI 725 Advanced Plant Genetics

3 Credits

 

 

SEMESTER 2

 

Core Courses

 

WACI 706 Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants

3 Credits

WACI 714 Advanced Statistics

3 Credits

WACI 716 Advanced Quantitative Genetics

3 Credits

 

 

Elective Courses (students should take a minimum of one elective)

WACI 708 Plant Cell Tissue Culture

3 Credits

WACI 712 Plant Virology

3 Credits

WACI 718 Genomics for Accelerated Plant Breeding

3 Credits

WACI 722 Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition

3 Credits

 

 

SEMINARS AND THESIS

 

WACI 700 Thesis

45 Credits

WACI 710 Seminar I Research Proposal

3 Credits

WACI 720 Seminar II Experiential Research Learning

3 Credits

WACI 730 Seminar III Thesis Progress Report

3 Credits

WACI 740 Seminar IV Provisional Thesis Findings Report

3 Credits

 

Year 2

WACI 720: PhD Seminar 2 

3 Credits

WACI 700: Thesis

 

 

Year 3

WACI 730: PhD Seminar 3 

3 Credits

WACI 700: Thesis

 

 

Year 4

WACI 740: PhD Seminar 4 

3 Credits

WACI 700: Thesis

 

 

 

Semester 1

 

WACI 711: Statistics And Experimental Design

The objective of this course is to upgrade students’ knowledge in the application of statistics to the explanation and solution of biological problems. The areas covered in the course include methods for collecting and summarizing data, evaluating the accuracy of sample estimates, and techniques for making statistical inferences. Data analysis will involve one-sample and two sample tests; analysis of variance for balanced and unbalanced experimental designs; mean separation procedures; simple, multiple, linear and non-linear regression, and correlation; The R and other statistical packages are used.

 

WACI 713: Population And Evolutionary Genetics

This course will provide students with an advanced understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, the evolution of complex traits and the genetic inference of evolutionary histories above and below the species level. The areas covered are: review of basic genetics; building blocks of evolution-mutation, natural selection, recombination, genetic drift and population structure; evolutionary biology-genome evolution, evolution of sex, speciation, and phylogeny inference, population genomics, population genetics and genetic variation; mathematical theory of population genetics-estimation of gene frequencies, Hardy-Weinberg principle, mating systems, quantitative inheritance.

 

WACI 715: Genetics And Bioinformatics

This course equips students with the principles of genomic characterization and bioinformatics analysis of eukaryotes, including an overview of analytical platforms, computational tools, experimental design, analysis methods and databases used to study DNA sequence, gene expression and protein levels. Topics covered include nucleic acids and protein sequences, sequence databases and information retrieval, pairwise sequence comparisons, BLAST, FASTA and advanced BLAST, protein sequence and structure analyses, multiple sequence alignments (MSA), molecular phylogenetic analyses, next-generation sequencing, genome browsers.

 

WACI 709: Plant Pest And Integrated Pest Management

This course is intended to give students a broad overview of plant pests associated with field crops in West and Central Africa. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts in integrated pest management and its application as a pest control strategy. They will also be trained in the design and implementation of IPM programs.

 

WACI 717: Plant-Microbe Interactions

This course is intended to give students a broad overview of plant pests associated with field crops in West and Central Africa. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts in integrated pest management and its application as a pest control strategy. They will also be trained in the design and implementation of IPM programs.

 

WACI 719: Plant Molecular Biology

The course aims to provide insights into advanced concepts and practical applications in modern plant cell, molecular biology, and plant biotechnology. The course will provide concepts and techniques of plant molecular genetics application to solve biological problems, for crop improvement. The practical component will cover a broad spectrum of techniques relevant to advanced plant research and biotechnology, and also include different genetic model organisms. Special emphasis will be placed on topics involving gene regulation, plant growth and development, plant cell signaling under biotic and abiotic stresses, genomes, plant genes, transgenic plants, and epigenetics.

 

WACI 721: Environmental Stress Physiology

This course equips students with current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms governing the response of plants to various types of abiotic stresses. Topics covered include: Environment as a source of stresses in plants. Nature of climate change and their main factors. Plant cell as a sensor of environmental changes, role of cell membranes in signal perception; Water stress, Mineral nutrition stress, Temperature stress, Radiation stress, Salinity stress, UV stress. Biotic stress. Use of knowledge on mechanisms of abiotic and biotic stresses in plants for improvement of crops by means of physiological breeding and biotechnologies.

 

WACI 725: Advance Plant Genetics

This course will enhance students’ understanding of genetics and its application to plant breeding. Topics include experimental approaches in transmission genetics; causes of linkage disequilibrium; mechanisms and consequences of genetic hybridization and recombination; genetic bases of inbreeding depression and heterosis; probability and statistical testing in genetic studies; concepts of epigenetics; how polyploidization shapes genomes, selection and transposons; genetic basis of response to selection; inheritance in autopolyploids; cytogenetics; detailed studies in extrachromosomal inheritance; genetic bases of male sterility systems; incompatibility systems and their genetic bases; gene and chromosomal mutations; genetic code; genetics of interspecific hybridization; review of selected plant genetics literature.

 

Semester 2

 

WACI 706: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF CROP PLANTS

This course is designed to equip students with knowledge of concepts and principles of plant breeding. Topics include crop evolution, geographical distribution, plant genetic resources conservation, fertility regulating mechanisms, breeding methods for self and cross pollinated crops, breeding clonally propagated crops, population improvement methodologies, genotype x environment interactions, mutation breeding, breeding for resistance to disease and pests, breeding for abiotic stress resistance, breeding for end user traits, variety release and maintenance, plant variety protection, and molecular technologies in plant breeding.

 

WACI 714: ADVANCE STATISTICS

The objective of this course is to enhance the capacity of students for the construction of appropriate statistical analysis using randomization- and model-based approaches. The course targets students aiming for a professional career in plant breeding. Topics covered include: statistical methods as tools for research in plant breeding, principles of designing advanced and complex experiments and methods of analysis for various kinds of designs with complete and incomplete blocks. Emphasis will be on use of models and model diagnostics. Other topics include: analysis of categorical data and applied multivariate methods; Use of R and other statistical software for analyses.

 

WACI 716: ADVANCE QUANTITATIVE GENETICS

This course aims at describing some advanced level topics for students who wish to pursue research in Statistical Genetics. Topics covered include prediction and estimation of genetic merit; best linear unbiased prediction; use of mixed model methodology in analysis of plant breeding experiments; Estimation of genetic parameters - problems relating to computational aspects of genetic variance components, parameter estimation in variance component models for binary response data; identification of genes with large effects; use of molecular markers. Gene mapping and Quantitative Trait Loci; Molecular manipulation for genetic variability; Phylogeny and analysis of molecular variance; Association mapping.

 

WACI 708: Plant Cell Tissue Culture

The course discusses the principles, protocols and utilization of plant cell tissue culture systems.Topics would include embryogenesis, organogenesis and plant regeneration; isolation, culture genetic manipulation of plant protoplast; somatic hybridization; selection of somatic hybrid plants; transformation of plants; protoplast culture and fusion; selection of plant cells for desirable characteristics; haploid cell cultures; embryo rescue and uses; secondary metabolites production by cell suspension culture; cryopreservation and storage of germplasm; tissue culture methods in phytopathology and commercial micro propagation.

 

WACI 712: Plant Virology

This course will enable students to appreciate the interaction between viruses and their host plants. Topics to be covered include: the mechanism and evolution of plant viruses, virus purification and characterization, virus classification, structural organisation of RNA Viruses, structural organisation of DNA viruses, expression and analysis of viral genes, replication of viruses, movement of plant viruses, transmission of viruses and important viral diseases of crop in West Africa.

 

WACI 718: GENOMICS FOR ACCELERATED PLANT BREEDING

This course offers lessons on advances in DNA sequencing, plant genomes, comparative genomics, plant genome databases, techniques in phenotyping and statistics for crop improvement. Molecular markers in crop improvement is discussed with special emphasis on gene finding, linkage mapping and genomic selection. Key topics include: Mutation and Breeding, Genetic Drift, Recombination and Independent Assortment, Linkage disequilibrium, Haplotypes, Linkage Mapping, Association Mapping, Genomic Selection and Targeted Genome Editing. This course also engages students on hands on components of bioinformatics that deal with key concepts essential for data entry, data formatting and its analysis in R software.

 

WACI 722: SOIL FERTILITY AND PLANT NUTRITION

This course is designed to equip students with the understanding of plant nutrition and nutrient management. Topics covered include: classification of plant nutrients; functions, deficiency and toxicity of nutrients; uptake, transport and assimilation of nutrients; nutritional requirements of plant, nutritional adaptation. Other topics are: units in plant and soil analysis; soil as a three phase system; development of charges in soils, soil acidity and salinity; factors controlling nutrients availability in soils; role of organic matter in soil fertility management; evaluations of soil nutrient supply; fertilizers and their efficient use; interpretation of soil field and laboratory results.