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Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Università degli Studi di Milano
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Biology - Unit 1
Code: G240TA
Teacher:  Annamaria Giorgi
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 6
Practices in laboratory:  1
Other: 1
Basic aims:  Knowledge of the basic principles regarding chemical and biological
characteristics of living organisms, particularly regarding plant
organisms. Knowledge of the morpho-functional characteristics of
plant organisms.
Acquired skills:  Managing plants on the basis of the knowledge of their morpho-
functional organization, with the ability to recognize and distinguish
plants on the basis of the complexity of their structure and
organization. Capacity of grouping and classifying plants on the
basis of the main plant Taxonomy criteria.
Course contents:  Characteristics of living organisms. The chemical basis of life, the
main molecules that make up living organisms: carbohydrates,
lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Morphofunctional organization of
cells with an emphasis on plant cells. The transmission and
manifestation of genetic information: the genotype and the
phenotype and their molecular basis. Structural and functional
organization of plants: tissues and organs. Plant reproduction: the
seed and the fruit. Introduction to taxonomy.
Program:  The main features of living organisms: - General characteristics
of living organisms. – Biological diversity. - The origin of life. -
Autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. - Role of plants in the
biosphere. The chemical basis of life: - The chemical-physical
characteristics of water molecules - Carbohydrates: structure,
functions, role in cells – Structural and storage
polysaccharides. Lignin -Lipids: structure, functions, role in cells
- Terpenes and essential oils - Lipids and biological membranes
– Amino acids and protein structure - Functional characteristics
of proteins and notions regarding enzyme catalysis -
Nucleotides and nucleic acids: structure, functions, role in cells
- Morphofunctional organization of plant cells: - General
organization of cells: prokaryotes and eukaryotes - Plant and
animal cells - Biological membranes: structure and function -
subdivision and transport - Plasma membrane: the lipid and
protein component - Cytoplasm and cytoskeleton: microtubules
and microfilaments - Endomembrane system: endoplasmic
reticulum - Golgi Apparatus, ribosomes, peroxisomes,
lysosomes - cell organelles and endosymbiotic theory -
Mitochondria: structure and functions - Plastids: Genesis and
types of plastids - Chloroplast: structure and functions - Cell
wall: genesis, structure and functions - Vacuole: genesis,
structure and functions - Osmosis, plasmolisis, relaxation -
Nucleus: structure and functions Transmission of genetic
information – DNA replication and transcription – Genetic code
- Protein synthesis - Cell cycle: mitosis and cytodieresis -
Meiosis, genotype, phenotype - Mendelian genetics, F1 and F2,
test cross - Mutations, ploidy in cultivated plants - Notions of
molecular biology methodology - Examples of genetically
modified plants - Structural and functional organization of
plants: -General organization of plants - Plant tissues:
meristematic and adult – Root apex and anatomy of the
primary root – Shoot apex and anatomy of primary shoot
structure - Structure and secondary growth - structure of
annual rings: omoxilo and eteroxilo wood - The leaf: formation,
connection to the stem, structure – The flower: formation and
organography – Micro- and macrosporogenesis, micro- and
macrogametogenesis - Fertilization and formation of the seed
and the fruit - Types of seeds and fruits - Seed structure,
germination and formation of seedlings - Harmonic growth and
physical and chemical mediators - Introduction to systematic
Botany: Taxa and nomenclature; taxonomic systems.
Metagenetic cycles in algae, fungi, bryophytes, pteridophytes,
spermatophytes. Introduction to plant diversity: thallus and
corm. Eukaryotic algae: general information, morphology,
organization, reproduction and cycles. Systematics:
Rhodophyta, Phaeophyta, Chrysophyta, Euglenophyta,
Clorophyta, Charophyta. • Emancipation of plants from the
aquatic environment - Terrestrial plants: general taxonomics. •
Embryophytes: differences between bryophytes and
tracheophytes • Bryophyta: general information, morphology,
organization, systematics reproduction and cycles •
Pteridophytes (vascular cryptogams): general information,
morphology and organization, reproduction and cycles of
isosporous and heterosporous pteridophytes • Spermatophyta:
general characteristics; ovule and seed, pollen. •
Gymnosperms: general information, morphology and
organization; reproductive organs, reproduction and cycle;
Cycads, Gingkophytes, Coniferophytes and Gnetophytes. •
Angiosperms: general information, morphology and
organization; reproductive organs; flower, inflorescences; fruit;
reproduction and cycle; Dicots and Monocots •
Prerequisites:  Basic knowledge of organic and inorganic chemistry. Basic
knowledge of general biology.
Preparatory instructions:  no
Learning materials:  RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Biologia delle Piante Peter H. Raven,
Ray F Evert, Susan E. Eichhorn Sesta edizione (2002) Zanichelli
Biologia. La cellula W.K. Prves, D. Sadava, G.H. Orians, H.C.
Heller Zanichelli Elementi di Biologia Vegetale – botanica
generale Oreste Arrigoni Casa Editrice Ambrosiana – MILANO.
Use of the following Photographic Atlas is recommended: -
Speranza A. e Calzoni G. L. Struttura delle piante per immagini,
Zanichelli, 1996. Other recommended texts for consultation: -
Pasqua G., Abbate G., Forni C. Botanica generale e diversità
vegetale. Piccin, 2008. - Mauseth J.D. Botanica. Parte generale.
II ed. it. Idelson-Gnocchi, 2006. Plates of vascular plant
anatomy and websites with Botany lessons:
Other info:  TEACHING METHODS Lectures make up 75% of the course;
laboratory practice, practical field activities and conferences 25%.
There are two tests, one during the course and one at the end of
the course. These are tests with open-ended and closed questions.
If students pass the tests they can access the final oral test and
pass the examination. Alternatively, students can take the exam
as a single final oral examination without having done the course
Program of Biology - Unit 1 (pdf version)
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