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New Learning Modules Available

PBG is pleased to announce publication of two new learning modules

The 15 part series of forest tree breeding learning modules can be accessed from:

To receive regular updates from the Plant Breeding and Genomics (PBG) Community of Practice, sign up for pbgnews at

Explore additional PBG training resources at and

Mapping & QTL Analysis: Curriculum Page & Webinar

Want to learn more about mapping and QTL analysis? If so, visit the Plant Breeding and Genomics Mapping and QTL Analysis Curriculum page for links to learning modules, tutorials, and case studies.

To learn even more, join Dave Douches and Joe Coombs from Michigan State University for a webinar on Thursday April 5th from 1-2pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Dave and Joe will discuss the generation of a tetraploid map for potato using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in the Solanaceae Coordinated Agricultural Project (SolCAP). They will demonstrate high-throughput SNP calling in a tetraploid and introduce some of the issues inherent in tetraploid genetics and mapping.

To register for the webinar, go to or and click on the webinar title to follow the link to the registration page. Advanced registration for the live webinars is required. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

All webinars are recorded and available for later viewing at and

To receive updates about Plant Breeding and Genomics, sign up for PBG News at

NAPB Annual Meeting, August 6-8, 2012 in Indianapolis

The National Association of Plant Breeders will hold its annual meeting August 6-8, 2012 in Indianapolis, with the theme of “Sustaining Life through Plant Improvement”. The annual meeting is an opportunity for breeders and allied scientists to stay updated on recent innovations in plant science and to discuss public policy issues relevant to plant breeding. The meeting also provides an important venue for graduate students to present their research, meet with potential employers, and become acquainted with plant breeding graduate students from other universities. This year’s meeting will be hosted by Dow AgroSciences.

More information and registration for the meeting is available at Early registration ends June 1.

NAPB is an organization of public and private sector individuals associated with or interested in the science or business of plant breeding. It is a strong proponent for maintaining and enhancing public plant breeding and plant breeding education programs.

This message is brought to you by the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice -

Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Symposium

Colorado State University researchers are hosting the second biannual Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Symposium

When: June 21-22, 2012

Where: Fort Collins, CO


The meeting will consist of stimulating presentations on plant breeding, genetics and physiology of drought stress by invited speakers. Keynote speaker John Passioura, Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Division of Plant Industry in Canberra, Australia


  • John Passioura, CSIRO, “Phenotyping for drought tolerance: when is it useful to plant breeders”
  • John Boyer, DuPont Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware, “Water deficits and yield in maize”
  • Tom Juenger, University of Texas at Austin, “Exploring physiological and genomic responses to soil drying in switchgrass”
  • Amelia Henry, International Rice Research Institute, “Root traits behind major-effect drought-yield QTLs in rice”
  • Eduardo Blumwald, University of California at Davis, “Cytokinin-induced modifications of source-sink relationships lead to enhanced crop stress tolerance”
  • Sean Cutler, University of California at Riverside, “Targeting the ABA signaling pathway for improved plant stress tolerance”
  • Jill Deikman, Monsanto, “Developing corn with improved yields under water deficit stress using biotechnology”
  • Andy Pereira, University of Arkansas, “Systems level analysis of drought stress response interactions with growth and yield”
  • Mark Cooper, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., “Breeding for drought tolerance: Taking aim at target environments”
  • Louise Comas, USDA-ARS, “Root dynamics and functioning governed by biological and environmental factors”
  • Dave Des Marais, University of Texas, “The genomic basis of local adaptation to climate in Arabidopsis”
  • Lisa Donovan, University of Georgia - Discussion leader

This message is brought to you by the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice -

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Hands On Association Analysis

Have you been thinking about running an association analysis, but don't know where to begin?

The Plant Breeding and Genomics community has published learning modules and tutorials with sample data sets to help you plan and conduct association analysis.

Learn more about the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community and sign up for pbgnews at

UPDATED LINK: UC Davis Plant Molecular Breeding Symposium: Modern Tools in Plant Breeding

Graduate students at the University of California, Davis have organized a plant breeding breeding symposium.

Date: Friday April 20th

Details & Registration:

Topics & Speakers:

  • "Genomics and Epigenomic Variation Among Maize Inbreds" - Dr. Nathan Springer, University of Minnesota.
  • "Next-Generation Tools for Studying Genomics of Wheat Evolution and Improvement" - Dr. Eduard Akhunov, Kansas State University.
  • "Engineering Rice for Disease Resistance and Submergence Tolerance" - Dr. Pamela Ronald, University of California, Davis.
  • "Comparative Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Specificity" - Dr. Richard Michelmore, University of California, Davis.
  • "Genomic Selection in Plants: Empirical Results and Implications for Plant Breeding" - Dr. Mark Sorrells, Cornell University.
  • "Genetic and Epigenetic Diversity of Maize From a Plant Breeding Perspective" - Dr. Antoni Rafalski, Pioneer Hi-Bred.

This message is brought to you by the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice -

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Plant Breeding and Genomics Online Resource Reaches Milestone

Plant Breeding and Genomics Online Resource Reaches Milestone

Growth in the global population is placing an increased demand on the world's resources to sustain our society for food, feed, fuel, fiber, and environment, underscoring a need for safe and efficient crop production systems. To date, traditional plant breeding methods have served well to meet increased demands.  Projected increases from 7 billion to 9 billion people in the next 40 years will require continued progress. Improvements in the efficiency and cost of DNA sequencing technologies are providing vital information on the genetics and genomics of crop plants. This information is paving the way for new plant breeding strategies to meet global food demands.

Earlier this year, a group of researchers and educators from America’s land-grant universities, government agencies, and industry banded together to create the first-ever internet resource aimed at quickly putting basic research on crop genomes into practice. The resource is housed at eXtension (pronounced E-extension) at Less than one year from its launch, the resource reached a milestone of 100,000 views this month.

Researchers and Extension personnel regularly contribute webinars, videos, informational articles, reviews, blog entries, and tutorials to the resource. The effort is led by the Solanaceae Coordinated Agricultural Project (SolCAP), a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-funded program. SolCAP recruited a community of experts from a wider range of Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs). Members of the Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN) partnered with SolCAP to publish a multi-part series of online learning modules that cover topics from introductory genetics and genomics to the applied use of genomics tools in tree breeding and ecosystem management. Content previously supported by the NIFA funded Barley CAP are now supported by the Institute of Barley and Malting Sciences (IBMS) at North Dakota State University. Other educational materials include modules developed by the Rosaceae CAP (RosBREED), a project funded through NIFA's Specialty Crop Research Initiative.

Plant breeding professionals, researchers, educators, students, and the general public are encouraged to follow development of this resource by subscribing to PBG’s newsletter (PBG News) at

David Francis, The Ohio State University,
Heather Merk, The Ohio State University,
David Douches, Michigan State University,
Karen Hertsgaard, Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, North Dakota State University,
Glenn Howe, Oregon State University,
Lynette Spicer, Iowa State University,

Watch Plant Breeding and Genomics Webinar Recordings!

If any of the above statements piqued your interest, watch plant breeding and genomics webinar recordings today!


Webinars from the SolCAP Workshop at the 2011 PAA Meeting Now Available on eXtension

Did you miss the SolCAP workshop at the 2011 PAA meeting?

Would you like to hear David Francis talk about breeding in the genomics era again?

If so, check out the recordings on eXtension

You can also watch the videos on our YouTube channel

Subscribe to pbgnews today at!

Please contact Heather Merk ( if you have questions or concerns regarding this newsletter


Genomics in Tree Breeding and Forest Ecosystem Management – A Suite of Online Teaching Modules.

Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN) team members are pleased to announce the roll-out (publication) of a suite of new on-line teaching modules that cover topics from introductory genetics and genomics to applied use of genomics tools in tree breeding and ecosystem management (association genetics, genomic selection, landscape genomics). CTGN is an Integrated Coordinated Agricultural Project with the goal of bringing marker-informed breeding (MIB) to application for tree-breeding cooperatives that provide over 1.3 billion seedlings annually in the United States. Forest tree breeding is particularly well-positioned to gain from marker based breeding. There are several reasons for this, but the two most important are the very long timelines necessary to complete phenotypic evaluation for most important trees traits and the significant costs associated with gathering that information. Genetic tests for phenotypic evaluation require a lot of land and expensive annual maintenance. While the cost of markers is decreasing with time the cost of field tests continues to increase. In addition, mosttraits of interest in trees are highly polygenic and of low heritability. If markers are able to account for a large proportion of genetic variation for a trait then marker selection will be more precise than phenotypic selection.

Offered as part of the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice with eXtension (pronounced e-Extension), the modules are designed to serve as complementary teaching aids for University instructors or as stand-alone lessons for students, practitioners, or curious laypeople. The full list of modules can be found at or on the CTGN webpage.

The modules are offered as large format Flash videos, each with a table of contents, the ability to search the text of the slides, and complete closed captioning. Spoken commentary accompanies the slides and provides an in-depth look at the issues relating to the information. A pdf version of each module is also available for download. In addition to the full movie versions on, the modules will be made available at the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice YouTube channel.

The modules were composed by CTGN personnel and were subject to external peer review. The production of the publications has been managed in collaboration with members of the USDA-sponsored Solanaceae Coordinated Agricultural Project (SolCAP). The CTGN Project outcomes have been delivered directly to breeders and documented in databases offered at our project website. An assertive and comprehensive education and outreach program has provided widespread training for school teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, tree breeders, managers, lay-people, and other stakeholders. The teaching modules noted here represent our efforts to make a lasting outreach contribution to the scientific community.

Support for the Conifer Translational Genomics Network project and the development of the teaching modules hosted at the PBG website was provided by the USDA/NRI CSREES Plant Genomics Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) Award # 2007-55300-18603, the USDA/NIFA AFRI Applied Plant Genomics CAP Award #2009-85606-05680 and the USDA Forest Service. Development of the website was supported in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Solanaceae Coordinated Agricultural Project, agreement 2009-85606-05673, administered by Michigan State University. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the United States Department of Agriculture.

To receive regular updates from the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice, sign up for pbgnews.