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Master in

Plant genetics, genomics and breeding

Next edition: 1st part: September 2023 – June 2024 / 2nd part: September 2024 – June 2025

Master in

Plant genetics, genomics and breeding

General information on the Unit

ECTS: 12
Contact hours: 91 (81 lectures, 10 practicals)
Personal work hours: 184
Character: Compulsory
Venue: Organized by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (CIHEAM Zaragoza)
Scheduling:
- Developed during the first academic year of the Master, at the second part of the first semester.
- The assessment of this Unit consists of a written exam and the evaluation of practical exercise during the first semester.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites.
Learning methods
Combination of theoretical and practical classes, individual and group study and work.
Language
Lectures are delivered in English and the documents supplied by the lecturers are also in English. The exams can be taken either in English, Spanish or French.

 

Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus

This unit describes and analyzes different methods for the development of pure lines, populations’ improvement, hybrids development and clonal selection, assessing their advantages and constraints in relation with the general and specific objectives of the breeding programme. Germplasm diversity and development is being introduced with an emphasis in plant genetic resources, germplasm management and mutation breeding. Finally, the unit deals with commercial seed and plant production as the ultimate purpose of agricultural breeding programmes, and the legal aspects considering variety registration, variety protection and essentially derived varieties with FAO treaty and farmers rights and Nagoya protocol as an example of access and benefit-sharing. The Unit focuses on several special methods and techniques used in plant breeding programmes such as, in vitro techniques, double haploids and juvenility management. The unit analyses also genome editing and the different stages of plant transformation processes, reviewing the control of gene expression and the molecular analysis of regenerated plants. The breeding interest of transgenic organisms and the modified traits are assessed. Special attention is paid to risk assessment, legislation and social implications of utilizing transgenic plants.

 

Competences

Specific competences

  • SC1 Assessing the relevant methods and techniques that contribute to greater efficiency in the processes of selection and development of new varieties, particularly molecular techniques aimed at the development of marker-assisted selection programmes.
  • SC2 Planning, developing and assessing specific programmes for breeding in different situations and environments, considering the available materials, the objectives set and the agronomic, environmental and socioeconomic constraints.
  • SC3 Having a good command of the national and international legislation concerning the registration of new varieties and the protection of the intellectual property rights and, in particular, breeder's rights and patents.
  • SC4 Assessing the relevant methods and techniques that contribute to greater efficiency in the processes of selection and development of new varieties, particularly in vitro techniques and juvenility management.
  • SC5 Mastering the basis and principles of modern plant breeding, including genome editing and transgenic plants.

General competences

  • GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
  • GC2 Performing scientific and/or technical information searches and processing them selectively.
  • GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions, which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
  • GC4 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.
  • GC5 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
  • GC6 Performing scientific and/or technical information searches and processing them selectively.
  • GC7 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.

 

Learning outcomes

The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:

  • Knows the different types of commercial crop varieties and the characteristics common to each of them.
  • Knows the particularities of the processes of breeding and development of pure lines, populations, hybrids, hybrid varieties and clones.
  • Analyzes the factors determining the selection strategy to be applied to a particular breeding programme.
  • Delves into the application of molecular markers in assisted selection as a tool that helps facilitate the process of obtaining new varieties.
  • Has a good command of selection methods, including marker-assisted methods, and has criteria to determine their appropriateness according to the breeding objectives, the crop reproduction system, the traits to be bred and the environmental conditions.
  • Is familiar with the procedures of production of certified seeds and plants, with seed processing and with the functioning of the seed marketing sector, as the final part of the breeding process.
  • Knows the national and international legislation concerning registration of new varieties and intellectual property rights, and in particular, breeder's rights and patents.
  • Knows how to shorten development times of advanced genotypes in a breeding programme.
  • Can use different in vitro culture techniques, understands their application at the different stages of a breeding programme, and has gained some practical laboratory experience.
  • Assesses the advantages and disadvantages of the application of genetic transformation from a technical and socio-economic perspective.

 

Contents

  • Breeding methods
  • Germplasm diversity and development
  • Legal aspects of plant breeding
  • In vitro techniques
  • Double haploids
  • Juvenility management
  • Genetic transformation technologies

Learning activities

Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with applied examples
ECTS: 9.5
Hours: 238
Percentage of contact: 38%

Learning activity 2: Tutored individual work
(a) Session of specific examples of plant breeding programmes
(b) Emasculation and crossing of small-grain cereals
ECTS: 0.5
Hours: (a, b): 12.5
Percentage of contact: (a,b): 48%

Learning activity 3: 
(a) Laboratory practicals and individual work
Preparation of culture medium. Culture initiation in Prunus. Adventitious organogenesis in leaf sections of Saintpaulia ionantha. Somatic embryogenesis in olive (Olea europaea) and carrot (Daucus carota).
(b) The microspore embryogenesis in bread wheat anther and microspore culture.
(c) The greenhouse: Fast Breeding.
ECTS: 1
Hours:  (a) 12.5 (b) 7.5 (c) 5
Percentage of contact: (a) 50% (b) 30% (c) 20%

Assessment method

Assessment system 1: Written exams composed of questions provided by all lecturers of the Unit.
The questions are multiple choice, and long questions. The exam assesses the content of lectures and, the practical work, in addition to the home work exercises presented by the students.
Weighting: 90% of the final score of the Unit

Assessment system 2: Global assessment by the tutors of the individual work related to learning activities 2 (a, b) based on the reports submitted by each student about the exercises performed. Understanding of the methodology and quality of the results will be assessed.
Weighting: 10% of the final score of the Unit

 

Lecturers

Carlos ALONSO, CSIC-CNB, Madrid (Spain)
Paolo ANNICCHIARICO, CREA-FLC, Lodi (Italy)
Arancha ARBELOA, EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
Asmund ASDAL, NordGen, Alnarp (Sweden)
Ana CASTILLO, EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
Paul CHRISTOU, UdL-ICREA, Lleida (Spain)
Teresa CAPELL, UdL-Agrotecnio, Lleida (Spain)
José ELENA, Former CPVO Vice president, Madrid (Spain)
José T. ESQUINAS, Former FAO secretary, Córdoba (Spain)
Elena GARCÍA, EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
Beatriz GÓMEZ-CASTRO, SCBD, UN, Quebec (Canada)
Ernesto IGARTUA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)
Francisco LÓPEZ, FAO, Rome (Italy)
José Miguel MATÍNEZ-ZAPATER, ICV, Logroño (Spain)
Mónica MENZ, Syngenta, Toulouse (Spain)
Antonio MOLINA, CBGP, UOM-INIA, Madrid (Spain)
Concepción MUÑOZ, Univ. Córdoba (Spain)
Fernando PLIEGO, Univ. Málaga (Spain)
María Pilar VALLÉS, EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
José Miguel VILLAÚ, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Sevilla (Spain)