News and Updates

RSS feed

2014 Plant Breeding Symposium: Global Food Security

Sponsored by DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred and held at University of California Davis, the 2014 Plant Breeding Symposium is on Friday, April 11. 

The event is also available as a live broadcast.

Please check the symposium website for more information about the line up of speakers and connecting to the webinar

Upcoming Webinar - Identifying Soil Borne Diseases with Morphological and Molecular Techniques

Join us for a free webinar about morphological and molecular techniques for identifying soil born fungal and oomycete pathogens in dry bean production systems.

When: February 6, 2014 at 1:00pm Eastern Time (-05:00 GMT)
Presenter: Martin Chlivers, Michigan State University

Register now and learn more at

Four Plant Genomic Conferences in Vienna this February

We are pleased to inform you that in February 2014, four conferences will be organized in Vienna by Vienna International Science Conferences & Events Association (VISCEA).

  • Translational Cereal Genomics, Feb. 9-11, 2014;
  • Plant Transformation Technology III, Feb. 12-14, 2014;
  • Plant Gene Discovery & “Omics” Technology, Feb. 17-18, 2014;
  • Applied Vegetable genomics, Feb. 19-20, 2014.

>>VISCEA is a non-commercial and non-profit organization, consisting of academy and industry scientists from across the world, founded in 2006 to initiate and assist in organizing professional and high quality scientific conferences and events. Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, situated in the heart of Europe. More information can be found at:<<

Thank you very much for your attention.

Svetlana Ujfalusi
Eucarpia Secretary

c/o Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung WBF
Forschungsanstalt Agroscope
Reckenholzstrasse 191
CH-8046 Zuerich

News: our new Website is online now. Go and have a look at

Phone      +41 44 377 71 88
Fax             +41 44 377 72 01
E-mail to:
Visit us:

Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance: Short Course June 2-13, 2014

Colorado State University will offer a three-credit, graduate-level, field-oriented course in Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance, June 2-13, 2014. The course will be held in and around Fort Collins, Colorado, USA and is targeted to graduate students in the plant sciences, as well as to professionals in the public and private sectors interested in increasing their knowledge in this area.

Additional information on the course content, format, cost, and registration is available at For questions, pleasecontact the Program Assistant, Kierra Jewell ( Applications will be accepted through March 15, 2014 or until the class is full (20 students).

Breeding with Genomics Course at UC Davis February 11, 2014

The Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis is having their Breeding with Genomics Course on February 11 - 13, 2014.

PBG's own David Francis and our former content coordinator Shawn Yarnes are part of this event. 

Below is some information provided by the Seed Biotechnology Center. Visit their webpage to learn more and to register! The early bird registration ends this Sunday, December 15. 

The course covers the basics of DNA markers, quantitative trait loci and the transition from maker assisted selection with a highlight on breeding for disease resistance.

New for 2014!
Extended modules on genomic selection, the latest integration of genomics to breeding, and a hands-on workshop on software support to marker application in breeding including the Integrated Breeding Platform and BLUPS.

Who should attend?
The course is aimed at professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in plant breeding and germplasm improvement.  It is an opportunity for breeders who are already using these tools to expand their knowledge of new strategies and technologies and for laboratory personnel to appreciate how the marker data that they generate are applied in breeding programs.

The course is taught by experts from both industry and academia.  This is a great chance to interact with experts and technology specialists in plant breeding. They include:

Allen Van Deynze, UC Davis
Hamid Ashrafi, UC Davis
Kent Bradford, UC Davis
Jorge Dubcovsky, UC Davis
David Francis, The Ohio State University
Shawn Yarnes, The Integrated Breeding Platform Initiative
Graham McLaren, The Integrated Breeding Platform Initiative
Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Davis

December 2013

Having trouble viewing this? See it online.

Powered by

Our Events

Join the symposium live from Michigan State University by registering at the link below.

Title: Genetics of Seed Quality, Germination and Evolution
Date: Friday, December 13, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Eastern Time


9:10 - 10:00 Dr. Hiro Nonogaki, Oregon State University
“Transcriptional and Post-transcriptional Regulation of Gene Expression Associated with Hormone Signaling in Seeds.”

10:40 - 11:30 Dr. Kristin Mercer, Ohio State University
“Evolutionary Ecology Of Seeds In Crop-Wild Hybrid Zones.”

1:35 - 2:25 pm Dr. Chris Richards, US National Center for Genetic Preservation
"Genetic Dynamics in Conservation Collections"

3:05 - 3:55 pm Dr. Oswald Crasta, Leader, Genomics Assisted Breeding, Dow AgroSciences
"Next-generation breeding"

Publications of Interest

Plant breeding can be broadly defined as alterations caused in plants as a result of their use by humans, ranging from unintentional changes resulting from the advent of agriculture to the application of molecular tools for precision breeding. The vast diversity of breeding methods can be simplified into three categories: (i) plant breeding based on observed variation by selection of plants based on natural variants appearing in nature or within traditional varieties; (ii) plant breeding based on controlled mating by selection of plants presenting recombination of desirable genes from different parents; and (iii) plant breeding based on monitored recombination by selection of specific genes or marker profiles, using molecular tools for tracking within-genome variation. The continuous application of traditional breeding methods in a given species could lead to the narrowing of the gene pool from which cultivars are drawn, rendering crops vulnerable to biotic and abiotic stresses and hampering future progress. Several methods have been devised for introducing exotic variation into elite germplasm without undesirable effects. Cases in rice are given to illustrate the potential and limitations of different breeding approaches.
Neglected and underutilized species (NUS) are those to which little attention is paid or which are entirely ignored by agricultural researchers, plant breeders and policymakers1. Typically, NUS are not traded as commodities. They are wild or semi-domesticated varieties and non-timber forest species adapted to particular, often quite local, environments. Many of these varieties and species, along with a wealth of traditional knowledge about their cultivation and use, are being lost at an alarming rate. Yet NUS present tremendous opportunities for fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition. And they can help make agricultural production systems more resilient to climate change. Not least, acknowledgment of the value of NUS in traditional foods and cultures can empower indigenous communities (women in particular) and reaffirm their identity. The time for action on NUS is now. There is a growing realization that agriculture must diversify. NUS have an important role to play in advancing agricultural development beyond the Green Revolution model of improving and raising the yields of staple crops.
Most methods for next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analyses incorporate information regarding allele frequencies using the assumption of Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) as a prior. However, many organisms including those that are domesticated, partially selfing, or with asexual life cycles show strong deviations from HWE. For such species, and specially for low-coverage data, it is necessary to obtain estimates of inbreeding coefficients (F) for each individual before calling genotypes. Here, we present two methods for estimating inbreeding coefficients from NGS data based on an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. We assess the impact of taking inbreeding into account when calling genotypes or estimating the site frequency spectrum (SFS), and demonstrate a marked increase in accuracy on low-coverage highly inbred samples. We demonstrate the applicability and efficacy of these methods in both simulated and real data sets.


Reminder: Lattice Designs Webinar This Week

Join PBG for our webinar this week:

Title: Lattice Designs

When: Thursday, November 14 at 12:30 pm ET (New Time!)

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Kling, Oregon State University

Registration Link:

Hope to see you there!

Find us on eXtensionGoogle+, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube



November 2013

Plant Breeding and Genomics News

News from Plant Breeding and Genomics on


Shawn Yarnes, the PBG Content Coordinator, to Join the Generation Challenge Program's Integrated Breeding Platform

My time with the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice on has been a fantastic opportunity to see plant breeding from a multi-crop and multi-trait perspective. It has been a privilege to be involved in plant breeding extension through the development of open-source tutorials ( and Plant Breeding and Genomics News ( I look forward to applying this experience in my new position as Genotyping Support Scientist with the Generation Challenge Program. Thank you to everyone who contributes to the Plant Breeding Community of Practice.

Shawn Yarnes

Other Events






Recent Publications



Plant Breeding and Genomics News, 25 September 2013

Plant Breeding and Genomics News

Upcoming Events from eXtension

This webinar is the second in a two part series on high throughput field phenotyping. This presentation describes how to handle data generated by a field-based sensor array.

Publications from the Past Month



Plant Breeding and Genomics News: Special Edition Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture , 22 August 2013

Plant Breeding and Genomics News

Upcoming Events from eXtension









Animal Health Science. Plant Breeding and Genetics. Crop production and Management. 

These fields of study don’t receive the glitz and glamour of other programs in many schools, but training experts in these areas is crucial for the future of agriculture. That’s why, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Dr. Catherine Woteki will answer questions in a Twitter chat this Friday at 2pm. EST to discuss how we all can keep the pipeline filled with promising students.

Please join us on Twitter tomorrow and use the hashtag #StudyAgScience to keep up with conversation. Please use the #StudyAgScience hashtag in all of your tweets. You can tweet questions, comments or just follow along. We will answer as many as we can in one hour from the @ScienceAtUSDA Twitter account. We hope to see you tomorrow at 2pm EDT.


Other Event Announcements


Publications from the Past Month














Sustainable Agriculture Research 
Intersection of Plant Breeding, Climate Change, and Food Security

Research Publications from Last 6 Months


Sustainable Agriculture Intensification Policy Recommendations

Policy Publications from Last 6 Months