Summercourse Plant Breeding and Plant Sexual Reproduction
Ghent 20-25 August 2012
Organized by faculty of Bioscience Engineering, department Plant Production, and faculty of Science, Institute Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries, Ghent University, Belgium.
The course is organized under the auspices of Ugent and financial support of the COST action Hapreci, (FA0903).
The world of today imposes various constraints on agriculture in terms of sustainability and environmental friendliness while at the same time demanding high productivity, high quality, and constant supply. The search for cultivars that combine the right traits is relentless and plays a major role in the improvement of our agriculture. Besides the traditional request for more and better, agriculture is undergoing changes in the face of climate change and a shift toward bioenergy production. To accommodate our needs in terms a sustainable production of crops, we will have to turn to innovative approaches in plant breeding.
One of the improvements in plant breeding is the implementation of selection with the help of molecular markers. As it appears these have become indispensable tools to support the classical breeding programmes and are now a routine technique for many crops. Markers are not only helping in selecting the right genotypes, but also help in analysis of quantitative traits, the identification of specific alleles in wild germplasm and determining hybrid purity.
Plant genomics also brings the promise of improving crops by providing deep insight into the genetic components that form the basis of success of a given cultivar. With the help of whole genome sequences, marker technology will further develop to more advanced applications. In particular the breeding of plants with complex genomes and polyploid genomes, the combination of whole genome sequences and markers will facilitate the commercial breeding process.
Apomixis is an asexual form of reproduction that generates progeny identical to the mother plant. The introduction of apomixis in crops can have a far-reaching influence on how breeding is done in the future. Theoretically, it would allow the fixation of heterozygous phenotypes and therefore would greatly facilitate the maintenance and production of hybrid crops. However, the implementation of apomixis is not straightforward and several difficulties need to be solved. These will be discussed during a special lecture devoted to this topic.
The main objectives of the course are the following:
- Provide complementary training for PhD students or young researchers who wish expand their knowledge of classic and modern plant breeding. The course will enable them to become engaged in the application of molecular markers, either within their own research or as advisors of breeding and nursery companies.
- Present and discuss state of the art technology that will shape the future direction of plant breeding.
More information: http://www.horticulture.ugent.be/summercourse2012/