Cerrar Mapa

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: 9
Contact hours: 84 (70 lectures, 18 practicals)
Personal work hours: 141
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 second semester.
- The assessment of this Unit consists of a written exam, the evaluation of practical and group work.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites.
Learning methods
Combination of theoretical and practical classes, individual study and work.
Language
Lectures are delivered in English and the documents supplied by the lecturers are also in English. The presentation of the group work is in English.

 

Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus

The Units introduces breeding crops in a climate change framework. The first part of the unit is devoted to, in particular to breeding for cereal resistance/tolerance to drought and heat tolerance. As a previous stage to their handling, the physiological bases for determining development, growth and yield are studied, in order to enhance indirect selection for improving yield under stress. Resistance and/or tolerance mechanisms, adaptive traits and selection methods used are studied. The second part of the unit deals with tolerance and resistance to biotic stress. Pest biology and the nature, sources and manipulation of resistance are tackled, as well as the factors influencing its expression. The aspects of breeding that are specific to pest resistance and the importance of the use of resistant plants as part of sustainable integrated pest management programmes are highlighted. This second part also deals with breeding for resistance to fungi, bacteria, virus and nematodes. Plant/pathogen interaction and the different resistance mechanisms are reviewed, paying special attention to their assessment and the selection methods to obtain resistant cultivars. The third part of the unit covers crop quality components, as well as the factors influencing it. The approaches to improve crop quality are reviewed considering conventional breeding and other methodologies that can increase the efficiency of breeding processes. The last part of the unit is to study different autogamous, allogamous and vegetatively propagated species, their reproductive characteristics, the sources of variation and the breeding objectives and methodology, reviewing current breeding programmes where traditional breeding is combined with the use of biotechnology tools. Finally, the unit deals with case studies such as are cereals (wheat, maize and barely), vegetables and fruit trees.

Competences

Specific competences

  • SC1 Assessing the advantages and drawbacks of using different strategies and methodologies for improving tolerance/resistance to stress conditions from the perspective of improving the productivity, safety and quality of crops, ensuring the sustainability of agricultural systems.
  • SC2 Integrating the knowledge of plant physiology, biochemistry and pathology in a plant breeding programme.
  • SC3 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.
  • SC4 Assessing the advantages and drawbacks of using different strategies and methodologies for improving tolerance/resistance to stress conditions from the perspective of improving the productivity, safety and quality of crops, ensuring the sustainability of agricultural systems.
  • SC5 Integrating the knowledge of plant physiology, biochemistry and pathology in a plant breeding programme.
  • SC6 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.

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 Making decisions and generating new ideas and knowledge in complex systems.
  • GC5 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.
  • CG6 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.
  • GC7 Writing presentations and synthesis, preparing and presenting oral communications, and defending them in public.

 

Learning outcomes

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

  • Knows the causes determining crop stresses produced by abiotic factors, particularly drought and high temperatures, their physiological and biochemical grounds and crop adaptation mechanisms for these types of stress.
  • Assesses possible breeding strategies to obtain varieties of superior quality, resistant or tolerant to particular abiotic stresses, pests and diseases, by selecting appropriate quality/resistance sources and the type of resistance to be developed, using adequate methods and techniques and incorporating genomic tools.
  • Understands the plant-pathogen interaction, the diverse resistance mechanisms developed by crops and the genetic basis of such resistance.
  • Gains practical field and laboratory experience in measuring physiological parameters related to abiotic stresses, in inoculating, in interpreting infection results and in assessing quality characters.
  • Understands, by means of case studies, the features determining crop and product quality, the components of such quality and the factors influencing it.
  • Widens the experience in the application of strategies, methodologies and techniques through the study of a series of current breeding programmes of crops of interest.

 

Contents

  • Breeding crops on a climate change framework
  • Breeding for abiotic stress
  • Breeding for biotic stress
  • Quality and novel traits
  • Case studies:
    • Maize
    • Winter cereals
    • Vegetables
    • Fruit trees

Learning activities

Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with examples
Total hours: 70
ECTS: 7
Hours: 175
Percentage of contact: 40%

Learning activity 2: 
(1) Commented virtual field practicals: Through pre-recorded videos in the field, lecturer explains how we measure the physiological status of plants in variable conditions of abiotic stress.
(2) Commented virtual laboratory practicals and group work: Through pre-recorded videos in the laboratory, lecturers explain the inoculating seedlings, measuring the extent of the injury and determining the genotype response to stress to characterize the type of resistance according to different quantitative models.
(3) Group work: Each group chooses a fruit species of interest to prepare a research project proposal with all its sections. Each group prepares a powerpoint document and does an oral presentation in front of the class. Each group's results are discussed with the lecturer and the other groups.
(4) Commented virtual greenhouse and laboratory practicals: Pepper breeding (germination, Inoculation, grafting, etc.)
(5) Oregon Wolfe Barley (OWB) practicals in the field: In-field phenotypic characterization of the Oregon Wolfe Barley doubled haploid population (obtained from Oregon State University, United States) that segregates for qualitative and quantitative traits and has been sown in the experimental fields of the Department of Genetics and Plant Production of the Experimental Station of Aula Dei of the CSIC. Each group is responsible for a set of phenotypic trait. In the IAMZ computer room, these data are entered and a genetic analysis for the QTLs related to these traits is performed. Each group prepares a written document.
ECTS: 2
Hours: 50
Percentage of contact: 48%

 

Assessment methods

Assessment system 1: Written exams composed of questions provided by different lecturers of the Unit. The questions are either multiple choice or concrete questions requiring a short explanation. The exam assesses the content of lectures.
In the written exam, the questions that are not multiple choice are marked according to the technical and conceptual precision of the answer, and to the reasoning approach.
Weighting: 90% of the final score of the Unit

Assessment system 2: Assessment of the practical work (2, (3) y (5)
Weighting: 10% of the final score of the Unit

Lecturers

José Luis ARAUS, Univ. Barcelona (Spain)
Jean-Marc AUDERGON, INRAe, Avignon (France)
Marisol ARNEDO, Ramiro Arnedo S.A., Almería (Spain)
Yuling BAI, WUR, Wageningen (The Netherlands)
Ramzi BELKHODJA, CIHEAM Zaragoza (Spain)
Neslon DAVILA, BASF, Nuhem (The Netherlands)
Fernando ESCRIU, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Ana GRACÉS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Javier HERNÁNDEZ, Univ. Oregon State (US)
Ernesto IGARTUA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)
Juan José LÓPEZ-MOYA, CRAG, Barcelona (Spain)
Bernardo ORDÁS, CSIC-MBG, Pontevedra (Spain)
Nicola PECCHIONI, CREA, Roma (Italy)
Ignacio ROMAGOSA, UdL-Agrotecnio, Lleida (Spain)
Miguel SANCHEZ-GARCÍA, ICARDA Morocco, Rabat (Morocco)
Roxana SAVIN, UdL, Lleida (Spain)
Roberto TUBEROSA, Univ. Bologna (Italy)