About this course
Note: This course cannot be combined in an individual programme with PBR22803 Principles of Plant Breeding (online), since it largely covers the same topics.
This course introduces students to key principles of plant breeding. Plant breeding is the science-driven creative process of changing the traits of plants in order to develop new plant varieties. Several essential approaches and tools used in the process are discussed: different modes of reproduction, selection methods, the production of hybrid cultivars and some aspects of seed production. For an effective selection programme one should distinguish genotype from phenotype, since only the genotypic differences are relevant to genetically improve the crop.
After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain basic concepts and principles in plant breeding;
- summarize the advantages and limitations of plant breeding selection programmes;
- choose the appropriate selection method to breed for (certain combinations of) traits in a particular crop;
- explain important aspects for seed production and seed quality;
- apply breeding methods, taking into account the reproduction mode of the crop of interest;
- analyze observations to separate genetic and non-genetic components of variation.
Teaching method and examination
The course is examined by a closed-book computer examination, consisting of about 15 questions that are a mix and combination of multiple choice, multiple answer, and open questions requiring relatively short answers and calculations. For the practicums no marks are given, but their matter is covered by questions in the examination. Exam opportunities are offered at the end of the four-week teaching period (Period 1 and 4) and during the re-exam week in May.
Required prior knowledge
Mendelian genetics as taught in GEN-11806, textbook Griffiths [et al.], An Introduction to Genetic Analysis, 12th ed.: Chapters 1, 2, 3 (single gene inheritance, Mendel’s laws), 4 (mapping by recombination), 6 (digenic segregation patterns), and 19 (inheritance of complex traits, heritability).