General information on the Unit
Contact hours: 100 (40 lectures, 60 practicals)
Personal work hours: 75
Venue: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza, Department of Genetics and Plant Production of the Experimental Station of Aula Dei of CSIC, and Fruit and Vegetable Production Unit of the Agro-food Research and Technology Centre of the Autonomous Government of Aragon.
- Developed during the first academic year of the Master, at the end of the second semester.
- The assessment of this Unit is made through a written exam and the direct assessment of certain work in groups and practicals, during the second semester.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites
Combination of theoretical and practical classes, individual and group study and work, and technical visits.
Lecturers may deliver the course in Spanish, English or French. In the last two cases, simultaneous interpretation into Spanish is provided. The documents supplied by the lecturers may also be written in Spanish, English or French.
Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus
The unit studies 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. Practical laboratory and field work is carried out and technical visits are organized for viewing the different crops. Finally, the unit deals with the future prospects of plant breeding. The crops studied are alternated in the different editions of this Master.
- SC7 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.
- SC8 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.
- SC9 Integrating the knowledge of plant physiology, biochemistry and pathology in a plant breeding programme.
- SC10 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.
- SC11 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.
- SC12 Assessing and comparing the processes of obtaining certified seeds and plants, and seed processing. Knowing the functioning of the seed marketing sector, as the final part of the breeding process.
- GC4 Making decisions and generating new ideas and knowledge in complex systems.
- GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.
- CG7 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.
- GC8 Writing presentations and synthesis, preparing and presenting oral communications, and defending them in public.
The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:
- 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.
- Contrasts the possible differences between strategies used in breeding conducted by public organisms and that carried out by private firms.
- Maize breeding
- Wheat and barley breeding
- Pepper breeding
- Fruit tree breeding
- Future directions of plant breeding
Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with case studies
Percentage of contact: 40%
Learning activity 2: Work in groups (groups of five)
(1) Maize breeding
Reading of a series of scientific papers in order to develop the student's skills regarding their analysis and criticism. Each group prepares a pwerpoint document and an oral presentation in front of the class, and every group's results are discussed with the lecturer and the other groups.
(2) Fruit tree breeding
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.
ECTS: 0.7 [(1): 0.2; (2): 0.5]
Hours: 17.5 [(1): 5; (2): 12.5]
Percentage of contact: 80%
Learning activity 3: In-field, lab and computer room practicals
(1) Maize breeding. The practicals are carried out in groups of four-five members.
The practical is performed in the laboratory of the Department of Genetics and Plant Production of the Experimental Station of Aula Dei of CSIC. Each group gathers morphological data on the maize cob (height, colour, type, etc.) in a maize germplasm from the Experimental Station of Aula Dei Collection. With those data, and with the help of the software, the students carry out a series of multivariate analysis to group the varieties which are most similar in their morphological traits and to interpret the results relating to the origin of these varieties. Each group prepares a powerpoint document and an oral presentation in front of the class, and the results are discussed with the lecturer and the other groups.
(2) Barley breeding. The practicals are carried out in groups of four-five members.
Students do the 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 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.
(3) Pepper breeding. The practicals are carried out individually.
The practicals take place in the greenhouse of the Fruit and Vegetable Production Unit of the Agro-food Research and Technology Centre of the Autonomous Government of Aragon and their goals are: the taxonomic identification of Capsicum genus; the conducting of crossings and selfings; the identification of phenotypical traits in Capsicum; the doing of various types of graftings; the practicing of different methods of inoculation of Phytophthora capsici in pepper, the inoculum preparation and the inoculation of PVY isolates in differential varieties of pepper. One week later, the material inoculated with the fungus P. capsici is assessed, and four weeks later, the results of the crossings, graftings and inoculations are assessed.
(4) Fruit tree breeding. The practicals/demonstrations are carried out individually.
The demonstrations are carried out in the experimental fields and the laboratory of the Fruit and Vegetable Production Unit of the Agro-food Research and Technology Centre of the Autonomous Government of Aragon. The goals are to appreciate the existing variability in almond tree, to practice emasculation and artificial pollination in stone fruit trees and to study the growth of the pollen tubes in order to assess self-compatibility.
ECTS: 1.8 [(1): 0.5; (2):0.6; (3): 0.5; (4): 0.2]
Hours: 45 [(1): 12.5; (2): 15; (3): 12.5; (4): 5]
Percentage of contact: 80%
Learning activity 4: Technical visit to the wheat breeding programme of the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries in Lleida.
Percentage of contact: 80%
Learning activity 5: Seminar-round table on future prospects of plant breeding, both public and private, in the developed and the developing countries. Students will be provided with background documentation to enhance their participation.
Percentage of contact: 80%
Assessment system 1: Written exam, composed by questions provided by the maize and barley lecturers. The questions are either multiple choice or concrete ones requiring a short development. The exam assesses the content of lectures and the seminar-round table, as well as the understanding of the practical/demonstration (4) not assessed separately, and the processes observed in the technical visit.
In the written exam, the questions which are not multiple choice are marked according to the technical and conceptual precision of the answer, and to the reasoning approach. In the multiple choice questions, each incorrect answer cancels a correct answer.
Weighting: 35% of the final score of the Unit.
Assessment system 2: Assessment of the work in groups (1) and (2) and the in-field and computer room practicals (1) and (2) by the lecturers in charge. In all cases, the score is based both on the powerpoint document and on the presentation and defence of the work. The score is the same for all members of the group.
Understanding of the process and the methodology, quality of the results, clarity of the presentation and quality of the reasoning provided in the defence will be assessed.
Weighting: 53% of the final score of the Unit [Work in groups (1): 3%; Work in groups (2): 30%; Pract. (1): 8%; Pract. (2): 12%]
Assessment system 3: Global assessment of the in-field and the laboratory practicals (3) by the lecturers in charge of them. Understanding of the process and the methodology, and quality of the results will be assessed.
Weighting: 12% of the final score of the Unit
José Manuel ALONSO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Marisol ARNEDO, Ramiro Arnedo Semillas, Almería (Spain)
Jean Marc AUDERGON, INRA, Montfavet (France)
Juan BARRIUSO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Paul CHRISTOU, Agrotecnio-UdL, Lleida (Spain)
Asunción COSTAR, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)
Fernando ESCRIU, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Alba FARRÉ, The John Innes Centre, Norwich (United Kingdom)
Ana GARCÉS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Pilar GRACIA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)
Patrick HAYES, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis (US)
Ernesto IGARTUA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)
Laurence MOREAU, INRA/Univ Paris XI/CNRS/INA PG, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
Rita NAVARRO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Bernardo ORDÁS, CSIC-MBG, Pontevedra (Spain)
Ignacio ROMAGOSA, IAMZ-CIHEAM, Zaragoza (Spain)
Conxita ROYO, IRTA, Lleida (Spain)
Enrique SÁNCHEZ-MONGE, Limagrain, Pamplona (Spain)
Michele STANCA, Istituto Sperimentale per la Cerealicoltura, Fiorenzuola d'Arda (Italy)