PLANT BREEDING NEWS
An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant
Sponsored by FAO and Cornell University
Clair H. Hershey,
Editor’s note: The problems with the internal newsletter
hyperlinks in the past several issues (intended to allow readers to jump
directly to specific topics) are the result of a programming glitch in the
current version of the e-mail program used by Cornell. Based on advice from
Cornell’s IT unit, I am using a series of procedures to activate the links in a
way that should work with most e-mail systems. I am interested in knowing if it
works for you. Please let me know at email@example.com.
issues available at: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/AGRICULT/AGP/AGPC/doc/services/pbn.html
(NOTE: cut and paste link if it does not work
1. NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH
1.01 Agriculture in the developing world: Connecting innovations in plant research to
1.02 The way forward to strengthen national plant breeding and
biotechnology related capacity: links between plant breeding and seed
1.03 ICRISAT efforts yield better chickpea
1.04 Philippines to develop
varieties restart pigeonpea cultivation in China
1.06 A word about the
Global Crop Diversity Trust and its future
1.07 Central Americans save plant
diversity through local cultivations
1.08 A single evolutionary origin for
the cultivated potato
1.09 Soy set to withstand exotic aphid
1.10 Resistance gene for potato late
1.11 Disease-resistant rice lines identified
discover new pathway into cells
1.13 Newly recognized gene mutation may reduce seeds, resurrect
1.14 Elicitation of defense
related enzymes and resistance by L-methionine in pearl millet against downy
mildew disease caused by Sclerospora graminicola
1.15 Computer simulation previews MAS
discover how crops use the length of the day to decide when to flower
1.17 Update 11-2005 of FAO-BiotechNews (Excepts)
2.01 A new online journal
“Communications in Biometry and Crop Science” calls for
3. WEB RESOURCES
4 GRANTS AVAILABLE
4.01 Opportunity for plant breeding
funding for a specific type of program
6 MEETINGS, COURSES AND
7 EDITOR'S NOTES
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES
Agriculture in the developing world: Connecting innovations in plant research
to downstream applications
Deborah P. Delmer,
Food Security, the Rockefeller Foundation
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of
the United States of America
productivity in those areas of the world bypassed by the Green Revolution will
require new approaches that provide incentives and funding mechanisms that
promote the translation of new innovations in plant science into concrete
benefits for poor farmers. Through better dialogue, plant breeders and
laboratory scientists from both the public and private-sectors need to find
solutions for the key constraints to crop production, many of which center
around abiotic and biotic stresses. The revolution in plant genomics has opened
up new perspectives and opportunities for plant breeders who can now apply
molecular markers to assess and enhance diversity in their germplasm
collections, to introgress valuable traits from new sources, and to identify
genes that control key traits. Functional genomics is also providing another
powerful route to the identification of such genes. The ability to introgress
beneficial genes under the control of specific promoters through transgenic
approaches is yet one more stepping stone in the path to targeted approaches to
crop improvement, and the new sciences have identified a vast array of genes
that have exciting potential for crop improvement. For a few crops with viable
markets, such as maize and cotton, some of the traits developed by the private
sector are already showing benefits for farmers of the developing world, but the
public sector will need to develop new skills and overcome a number of hurdles
to carry out similar efforts for other crops and traits useful to very poor
1 November 2005
The way forward to strengthen national plant breeding and biotechnology
related capacity: links between plant breeding and seed
Editorial views by Elcio
Perpétuo Guimarães, Senior Officer - Cereals/Crop Breeding, Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Promotion of sustainable use of plant genetic resources
for food and agriculture (PGRFA) was urged by the contracting parties of the
International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT).
special nature of PGRFA, the contracting parties were concerned about the
continuing erosion of these resources. Article 6 of the IT includes a range of
suggestions as to how PGRFA can be used in a sustainable way through
strengthening research and plant breeding to meet the needs for increased food
production and improved rural livelihoods.
Plant breeding is a long term
venture and its successes build up slowly and cumulatively. It cannot operate
successfully on a stop-go basis and therefore a break in continuity of effort
will have negative consequences in the future. The current situation regarding
public sector investment in agricultural research, particularly in plant
breeding, is that it is rapidly losing ground on a global basis to private
An assessment of the current status, of national plant
breeding programmes should be the starting point for considering the
strengthening and sustainable use of PGRFA on a global basis. To this end, FAO
has been carrying out a survey to assess plant breeding and related
biotechnology capacity around the world with the objective of designing
strategies to strengthen the ability to use PGRFA.
The data collected
through this survey has allowed country profiles to be prepared with information
to policy-makers on options to strengthen national capacity to use PGRFA. All
country profiles start by flagging the need for a holistic view considering
conservation, use and seed systems as integral parts of any
capacity-strengthening strategy. The survey data show that, although plant
breeding capacity exists, in most of the countries analysed it is below the
minimum required level. The survey does not ask for information related to seed
systems capacity but indirectly, by looking at the number of varieties released
and knowing the number planted by farmers, we can easily see that either the
varieties are not meeting farmers’ requirement or the seed systems have not been
able to deliver the products of the breeding programmes. This aspect stresses
the need for a holistic strategy looking at the farmer’s demand, the breeder's
product and the seed deliver systems.
A key element of the strategy to
strengthen national plant breeding and related biotechnology capacity is
sustainability. As mentioned before, plant breeding is a long term activity and
needs long term support. Thus, design of the breeding strategy to achieve this
goal needs to consider the linkage with seed systems. One of the most viable
mechanisms to achieve sustainability is through the financial recognition of the
plant breeding work. In countries where there is legislation in place promoting
private sector and/or public-private sector partnerships, investments in the
seed business flourish and help to support breeding activities. The development
of varieties that meet farmers’ demands, which are associated to seed producers
who see business opportunities, and consequently are willing to support those
activities, allow sustainability to be achieved. The same is true when linking
plant breeding with seed production in farmers’ communities in developing
countries around the world. Small and community-based seed production systems
associated to local level plant breeding activities must be seen as important
components of strategies to strengthen national plant breeding
Related web sources
- Plant Genetic Resources
for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA)
- The State of the
World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (full PDF format
version, 510 pages)
- The report on the
State of the World PGRFA (short PDF format version, 75 pages) (Français) (Español)
Elcio Guimarães can be reached at Elcio.Guimaraes@fao.org
ICRISAT efforts yield better chickpea
the world's third most important food legume, but is not easily given to
hybridization. This is especially important, since hybridization may be able to
protect the crop from the various diseases and pests to which it is
The first step to better chickpea has been taken by
scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid
Tropics (ICRISAT), whose efforts have yielded a chickpea
Researchers were able to cross a cultivated variety, Cicer
arietinum, with the wild species Cicer bijugum, through embryo rescue
and tissue culture methods. They hope that this hybrid will improve disease
resistance and boost crop yields, and make a hardy plant better protected
against harsh weather and pest attacks.
For further information, contact
Dr Nalini Mallikarjuna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more at http://www.icrisat.org.
CropBiotech Update 7 October 2005:
Contributed by Margaret Smith
Plant Breeding & Genetics
(Return to Contents)
1.04 Philippines to develop
The Philippine Rice Research Institute
(PhilRice), based in Maligaya, Nueva Ecija, is gearing up efforts to develop
rice with higher amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin E, iron, and even protein
through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in
Global Health Program.
PhilRice scientist Rhodora R. Aldemita, who is
currently doing postdoctoral research at the University of Freiburg in Germany,
said the grant was acquired through a collaborative effort with Germany-based
scientists who are working on improving the nutritional quality of
A PhilRice research team headed by Antonio Alfonso will introduce
some of the micronutrient traits to popular rice varieties through conventional
breeding. Aldemita, on the other hand, will introduce other traits through
Aside from the University of Freiburg and
PhilRice, other beneficiaries of the grant are Michigan State University, Baylor
College of Medicine in Texas, the International Rice Research Institute, and the
Cuo Long Delta Rice Research Institute in Vietnam.
information, visit http://www.philrice.gov.ph.
CropBiotech Update 14 October 2005:
Contributed by Margaret Smith
Plant Breeding & Genetics
(Return to Contents)
1.05 ICRISAT varieties restart pigeonpea
cultivation in China
Pigeonpea is an essential
ingredient in Indian cooking. However, in the neighboring China, for centuries
it was used for rearing lac insects. And when the lac industry collapsed,
pigeonpea cultivation had disappeared from Chinese farmlands, till improved
varieties from the International Crops Research
Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) restarted cultivation.
Interestingly, even the re-introduction of pigeonpea in China was not
primarily for its value as a food legume. Instead, it was valued for conserving
soils in sloping mountain regions, so that it could support the cultivation of
other crops. In 1997, the ICRSAT-bred new pigeonpea material was tested for the
first time in China. After the initial trials at several locations, Yunnan and
Guangxi provinces were selected to conduct research on the role of pigeonpea in
various cropping systems, especially for controlling soil erosion and
rehabilitating degraded and eroded soils.
In the last few years
pigeonpea is being grown on a large scale in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces. Apart
from organized seed distribution, there has been a lot of farmer-to-farmer
spread of the seed. According to informal sources, the area under pigeonpea is
estimated to be around 50,000 ha currently.
According to Dr William Dar,
Director General of ICRISAT, the impact of the institute's varieties in China
recognizes the significance of pigeonpea as a crop with many useful qualities.
It also signifies the silent revolution that ICRISAT's partnership-based
research has achieved in China.
ICRISAT's role in the re-introduction of
pigeonpea in China: the provision of suitable seed materials and production
technology packages, and training of several Chinese scientific and extension
staff. Subsequently, strong pigeonpea research programs were established by the
Institute of Resources Insects of the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Kunming,
Yunnan and at Guangxi Academy of Agriculture Sciences (GxAAS), Nanning ,
The partnership between ICRISAT and China has shown very
encouraging results and now pigeonpea crop can be seen growing on the roadsides,
hill slopes and riverbanks. At present, efforts are also being made to
popularize pigeonpea for human food, especially as green peas. Chinese food
technologists have developed a number of snacks, food items, and drinks using
dry and green seeds of pigeonpea. The preparation of pigeonpea noodles is a case
The ICRISAT pigeonpea varieties released in China are: ICPL
90008 (released in China as GUIMU 1), ICPL 87091 (GUIMU 2), ICPL 87119 (GUIMU
3), ICP 7035 (GUIMU 4), ICPL 99066 (GUIMU 5) and ICPL 87091 X 98009 (GUIMU
About 90% of the land in southern China is covered with mountains and
the ecology of the region has been damaged extensively due to lack of vegetation
cover, leading to soil erosion and frequent landslides. Each year tons of
topsoil and valuable nutrients are lost and such areas have become unfit for
agriculture and large areas are left fallow.
The high level of
adaptation of the new pigeonpea lines in the degraded and fragile soils, its
utility in environmental conservation, and its ability to produce quality fodder
have generated interest among farmers, scientists, extension workers, and policy
makers in China.
Since the rural economy relies heavily on animal
husbandry in southern China, the shortage of quality fodder is a perennial
problem, particularly in the post rainy season. The tender leaves and branches
of young pigeonpea plants make an excellent fodder. After extensive testing,
pigeonpea was identified as the most suitable fodder crop because it can grow
well under rainfed conditions and provide high protein (20-22%) fodder for
To recognize ICRISAT's role in this endeavor, the
Chinese Government honored ICRISAT scientists Dr KB Saxena and Dr LJ Reddy with
Jin Xiu Qiu Jiang Award in 2000. This was followed by country's biggest National
Friendship Award-2001 to Dr KB Saxena for his contribution in building the
agriculture in the country.
(Return to Contents)
1.06 A word about the Global Crop Diversity Trust and its
A letter from Cary Fowler, Ph.D., Executive
Secretary, The Global Crop Diversity Trust
Dear Friends of the
In August, I joined the staff of the Global Crop Diversity Trust as the
second Executive Director in its short history. In my first letter to you - the
800 supporters of the Trust who receive this communication - I want to begin by
expressing gratitude to my predecessor, Geoff Hawtin, one of the most creative,
broad-ranging and effective figures the plant genetic resources community has
ever known. After Ph.D. studies at Cambridge, Geoff’s career began at ICARDA in
Syria as a legume breeder. He rose to the position of Deputy Director General
and from there went to IDRC in Canada where he was Associate Director of the
Crops and Animal Production Systems Program and later, Director of the
Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Sciences Division.
In 1991, Geoff was
appointed Director General of the International Plant Genetic Resources
Institute (then IBPGR) in Rome. IPGRI expanded greatly under his leadership and
spearheaded the move to formalize the status of CGIAR-held plant genetic
resource collections by bringing them under the auspices of FAO. When he stepped
down after 12 years as head of IPGRI, he moved across town to the Global Crop
Diversity Trust, taking the reins as its first director. It is through Geoff
Hawtin’s foresight and leadership that we now have in the Trust a tool that the
early giants of the plant genetic resources world - Vavilov, the Harlans,
Frankel, Hawkes, Chang, Williams, Bennett, Ochoa and others - might only have
dreamed of on a particularly starry night. Geoff would doubtless give much of
the credit for the creation of the Trust to others, including the small but
intensely dedicated staff that he assembled. And, he would be right to do so.
The Trust truly is a “community” effort and has been from the beginning. And
what a community it is, drawing as it does from the FAO, CGIAR, private sector
and NGOs, from scientists, plant breeders, government representatives,
development advocates and yes, farmers.
But, as all of us realize, much
of the credit must still go to Geoff Hawtin for his vision and for his tireless
efforts to create from scratch an institution now recognized formally by 21
countries under international law. Today, thanks in large part to Geoff, the
Trust has strong links to FAO, the CGIAR and the new International Treaty on
Plant Genetic Resources. It also has made a solid start in assembling the
financial endowment needed to realize the dream we all share. How fitting that
upon his retirement from the Trust, the Crop Science Society of America awarded
Geoff its prestigious Frank Meyer Medal for service to the international
community in the field of plant genetic resources.
And thank you.
And now a word about the Trust and its
With the Trust, we have a unique opportunity - the opportunity to
ensure the conservation of the world’s distinct crop genetic resources held in ex situ collections. Forever. We should count ourselves fortunate. How
many people working on other important global issues - climate change, or
conservation of tropical forest or endangered species, for instance - can look
you in the eyes and say with confidence “We can solve this problem.” And yet, we know we can succeed. The physical resources we need are in hand; the
required technology is well understood and available; the people are ready; the
institutions are in place; the necessary legal structure now exists. We have a
strategy; and last but not least, we have the Trust. This is a world challenge
we can tick off. I can think of no other whose solution seems so obviously
More than 6 million accessions, or samples, typically in the
form of seed, are now conserved in some 1400 collections scattered around the
world. One to two million are thought to be “distinct,” the remainder being
duplicates. At least three different surveys of scientists have come to the same
conclusion about these biological materials, namely that they represent a large
portion of the genepool of the major crops that feed the world. Ninety-five
percent of the wheat, maize, rice and potato landraces, for example, is thought
to be housed in genebanks.
If we can manage to conserve these resources,
we will have also made a huge contribution to economic development, food
security, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation, and to future efforts
to cope with climate change, energy supply constraints, and a growing world
population. In fact, imagine achieving food security, imagine adapting
agriculture to the changes brought on by climate change, or imagine protecting
the world’s forests and parks from encroachment in a world without the crop
diversity the Trust will help conserve.
Crop diversity provides
insurance. But, as most of us understand, paying the insurance bill brings
little immediate satisfaction. Other interests scream for attention. Politicians
talk about “future generations” but, too often, it’s the costs, not the
benefits, that are pushed into the future and onto the next generation. In 1996,
150 countries adopted the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and
Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources. Central to that plan was the
call for a rational and efficient system for the conservation of the resources.
The implication was clear - the current system is not particularly rational,
efficient, or sustainable. But, we are paying for it, inefficiencies and
irrationalities included. We can do better. And we can do it with less
expense. The Trust can be and must be a tool for adding value and actually
saving money, helping to conserve targeted resources securely and efficiently.
No such mechanism exists today to encourage, monitor and essentially guarantee
Short term benefits? Real and concrete.
benefits? Absolutely incalculable.
What then must we do if we are to
realize the historic opportunity that lies before us? We must articulate our
dream. We must remain true to our principals and goals. We must, of course,
raise the requisite funds - tiny in the context of other global issues. We must
manage those funds responsibly. And we must dispense them wisely. Very wisely.
These things cannot be done without you, the friends and supporters of
the Trust. This is not the Secretariat’s Trust. It is yours. And, uniquely, it
really does belong to future generations as well. In the days ahead, we will ask
for your participation and help. In the meantime, if you see an opportunity to
promote or assist the Trust, please take it. Feel free as well to contact us
with your suggestions, criticisms and ideas. We need them.
let me thank you for your support and cooperation in the past. And in the
Cary Fowler, Ph.D.
Global Crop Diversity Trust is an international fund whose goal is to support
the conservation of crop diversity over the long term.
2 November 2005
Central Americans save plant diversity through local cultivations
By Jennie Iverson
In a refreshing twist, humans have been shown
to be part of the solution to the issue of decreasing genetic diversity in our
world rather than part of the problem. Global genetic diversity is being
eradicated through any number of human-driven activities, the removal of large
scale forests key among them.
Now researchers at Washington University
in St. Louis report that farmers and families in Central America actually have
saved genetic variation in the jocote (ho-CO-tay), (Spondias purpurea), a
small tree that bears fruit similar to a tiny mango. And they've done this by
taking the plants out of the forest, their wild habitat, and growing them close
to home for family and local consumption.
Allison Miller, Ph.D., a
post-doctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, and former graduate
student at Washington University, and Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology
Barbara Schaal, Ph.D., from Washington University, in conjunction with Peter
Raven, Ph.D. Engelmann Professor of Botany and Director of the Missouri
Botanical Garden, have shown multiple domestications of the jocote in Central
America in the midst of large-scale deforestation, a practice that endangers
Weeding out genetic diversity
of modern-day agriculture is the eradication of genetic diversity, as growers
select hardy plants that grow vigorously, and continually "weed out" genetic
diversity through the selection process.
"Many of the crops are so
highly domesticated that they don't have much genetic variation, and we are kind
of looking at them after they've been highly domesticated and produced these
elite varieties," Schaal explained.
In a paper published in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2005, Aug. 26), Miller
identifies the various wild and cultivated jocote species and indicates that
cultivation of the jocote has preserved genetic diversity. Genetic diversity has
been estimated to have decreased by as much as 80 percent in cultivated
populations through the last century, so it's quite a remarkable occurrence when
domestication is identified as being a process for preserving genetic diversity,
rather than limiting it.
With less than two percent of the Central
American tropical dry forests remaining, jocotes would be significantly limited
if it were not for the cultivation of the species.
author on the study, collected over 96 samples of S. purpurea through
field studies in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua, and Panama. In each of eleven geographic regions, samples were taken
from wild and cultivated habitats. Polymerase chair reaction amplification of
DNA extracted from the jocote samples allowed for analysis of the chloroplast
spacer, a commonly used molecular marker in botanical studies.
authors say that, through multiple domestications in arenas such as living
fences fences made of plants like jocotes crops, orchards, trees
cultivated in backyards and forests, genetic diversity in the jocote has been
This is the "first phylogeographic evidence of multiple
domestications of a cultivated fruit tree in the Mesoamerican center of
domestication," said Miller. With at least 180 common names in various languages
for the jocote, the fact that the mature fruits can be green, yellow, orange,
red or violet, have varying lengths of a few centimeters, and varying textures
(chalky, juicy) and tastes (sweet to acidic), it can be said that there is
considerable variation in the species.
The wild fruits are generally
bright red, smaller, and more acidic than cultivated varieties. In contrast to
cultivated varieties, which reproduce through cuttings, wild jocotes reproduce
by seed, indicating that domestication has altered the species.
taking the jocote out of its natural, wild habitat and planting them in living
fences and other means of cultivation, farmers in the Mesoamerican region have
helped to preserve the jocote's diversity, the authors note.
"I think it
is really amazing to consider that the food we eat today, the foods we find in
grocery stores, originated in all different parts of the globe," said Miller.
"For me, it is interesting to think that every crop species, including even a
little-known fruit tree from Mexico and Central America, has an involved and
unique evolutionary history."
(Return to Contents)
1.08 A single evolutionary origin for the cultivated
A team based at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI),
Dundee, UK, in collaboration with a USDA scientist at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison have just published a study in the Proceedings of the National
Academies of Sciences USA (
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/102/41/14694) which, for the first time,
demonstrates a single evolutionary origin for the cultivated potato, Solanum
tuberosum ssp. tuberosum. The potato has been cultivated for
thousands of years, but there has been a great deal of scientific debate about
its’ origins. Most hypotheses have focused on a group of about 20
morphologically very similar tuber-bearing wild species, referred to as the S. brevicaule complex, distributed from central Peru to northern
Argentina. The SCRI-USDA team, led by Dr Glenn Bryan and Dr David Spooner,
performed a phylogenetic analysis of AFLP marker data generated from 261 wild
accessions and 98 cultivated potato varieties to assess whether the domestic
potato arose from a single wild progenitor or whether it arose multiple times
from species distributed across the whole length of Southern America. The
results are very clear suggesting that, in contrast to prior hypotheses of
multiple geographically-diverse origins of the cultivated potato, a single
origin from a broad area of southern Peru has been identified. The
‘multiple-origins’ theory was based in part on the broad distribution of
potatoes from north to south across many different habitats, through
morphological resemblance of different wild species to cultivated species, and
through other types of data. Moreover, the study shows a clear ‘northern’
and ‘southern’ cladistic split for the members of the S. brevicaule complex. The recent publication forms part of a long term and ongoing
collaboration between SCRI and the team in Madison. The research was
supported financially by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs
Department (SEERAD) and USDA Agricultural Research Service. For further
information contact Dr Glenn Bryan (email@example.com) or
Dr David Spooner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contributed by Glenn Bryan,
(Return to Contents)
1.09 Soy set to withstand exotic aphid
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jan Suszkiw email@example.com
A key genetic
discovery by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists opens
the door to breeding soybeans that can resist Chinese soybean aphids.
Since first being detected in Wisconsin in 2000, the soybean aphid
(Aphis glycines) has spread across the Midwest and into the Deep South, causing
millions of dollars of losses to the legume crop. Growers have fought back with
insecticide spraying, a practice that adds $12 to $25 per acre to their
ARS plant pathologist Glen Hartman and University of
Illinois (UI) collaborators at Urbana have worked to find cheaper, longer-term
alternatives. In early 2004, their efforts paid off with the discovery of Rag1,
a single gene conferring resistance to the exotic aphid in two southern
cultivars that are no longer grown.
Normally, the sap-sucking pest
causes harm in the form of stunted growth, disfigured leaves, poor pod
formation, and the plant's eventual death. But in tests, neither wingless female
aphids nor their nymph offspring survived for long when confined to the
resistant beans' leaves. Typically, 94 to 100 percent of female aphids died
within 10 days--compared to 17 percent on "Pana," a nonresistant
variety--reports Hartman, at ARS' Soybean/Maize Germplasm, Pathology, and
Genetics Research Unit in Urbana. Nymphs suffered a similar fate, he adds.
Hartman and UI collaborators Curtis Hill, Shawn Carlson, Brian Diers and
Yan Li identified the aphid resistance after screening 800 commercial soybean
cultivars and 3,000 germplasm accessions managed by ARS in Urbana. Since
publishing their finding in Crop Science, the team has mapped Rag1's genetic
whereabouts on the resistant beans' DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). They've also
identified marker regions and devised technology to detect them so that soybean
breeders can rapidly identify resistant plants.
cultivars bred to express Rag1 could be available by 2008. Meanwhile, the team's
search for other resistance genes continues.
Read more about their work
in the November 2005 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online
7 November 2005
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1.10 Resistance gene for potato late blight mapped
blight is a disease which affects potatoes. It is caused by Phytophthora
infestans, and is controlled by chemical applications on the crop. P.
infestans, however, evolves rapidly, so that most control methods are providing
to be ineffective.
An alternative would be to incorporate the gene for
late blight resistance into potato. But where can this gene be found? Tae-Ho
Park of Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and colleagues take the first
step in identifying the gene by undertaking "High resolution mapping and
analysis of the resistance locus Rpi-abpt against Phytophthora infestans in potato." Their findings are published in Molecular
Scientists were able to narrow their search down to
Rpi-abpt, a resistance locus originating from Solanum bulbocastanum. They
then mapped and completely sequenced the locus, and found that it was similar to
a like locus in tomato. Its protein product was also found to be similar to
several disease resistance related proteins from other plants.
Breeding subscribers can read more at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11032-005-1925-z.
Other readers can view the abstract at the same site.
Update 14 October 2005:
Contributed by Margaret Smith
Dept. of Plant
Breeding & Genetics
Disease-resistant rice lines identified
Researchers Fight Straighthead Disease and Improve Grain Quality
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jim Core, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rice breeding lines that resist a costly disease, as well as lines with
desirable grain characteristics, have been identified by Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) scientists in Arkansas.
Wengui Yan, a research geneticist
at the ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Ark., leads
efforts to analyze the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rice Core
Collection. With 1,791 entries, this genebank has been estimated to contain more
than 70 percent of the genetic variation in the National Small Grains
Collection's 18,408 rice accessions.
Utilizing the core collection, Yan
and his ARS colleagues identified germplasm accessions that are very resistant,
or even immune, to straighthead, a plant disease that causes the entire rice
head to remain upright at maturity with sterile florets and reduced grain
There is no straighthead resistance in commercial U.S. rice
cultivars, but Yan has identified 26 indica and japonica rice lines that are
resistant. Breeders at the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University
have incorporated some of these germplasm lines into their
Straighthead yield losses can reach almost 100 percent if a
highly susceptible variety is planted in the wrong conditions. The germplasm
recently discovered to be resistant is diverse in origin, maturity and plant
height. According to Yan, it can be used to improve straighthead resistance in
rice breeding in the southern United States.
Stuttgart researchers are
also addressing undesirable amylose content levels in indica rice. Amylose
content is the characteristic used to describe the difference between dry, flaky
rice (which indicates a high amylose content, typical for U.S. long grain rice)
and moist, sticky rice (which indicates alow amylose content, typical for U.S.
medium grain rice).
Germplasm of foreign indica rice, the principal type
grown worldwide, usually has higher grain yields than U.S. cultivars. However,
it is considered to have poorer grain quality.
Through hybridization and
induced mutation breeding, J. Neil Rutger, a lead ARS scientist in Stuttgart,
and Yan have developed numerous indica lines with ideal amylose content for the
U.S. rice industry.
ARS is the USDA's chief in-house scientific research
View this report online, plus any included photos or other images, at
Contributed by Elcio Guimaraes
(Return to Contents)
1.12 Biologists discover new pathway into cells
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Researchers at Oregon State University have made a
major discovery in basic plant biology that may set the stage for profound
advances in plant genetics or biotechnology.
The scientists have
identified for the first time a protein that can cross plant cell membranes,
where it functions as a toxin to kill the cell. It had been known that viruses
and bacteria can penetrate cell wall barriers and disrupt plant cells, but never
before has a protein been found that could do this by itself.
research is done, this may provide a new tool to penetrate plant cells and
possibly manipulate their behavior in some beneficial way - to grow faster,
resist disease or increase yields.
The findings were published today in
two articles in The Plant Cell, a professional journal.
considerable interest is that the biological mechanism discovered here bears
striking similarity to the way proteins can function in mammalian cells -
scientists say they may have found a characteristic that has been preserved for
more than 600 million years, when plants and animals diverged from a common
ancestor on their separate evolutionary paths.
"This is a doorway into
plant cells that we never knew existed," said Lynda Ciuffetti, an OSU professor
of botany and plant pathology. "Viruses and bacteria have been known to bring
proteins into cells, but this is just a protein by itself crossing the cell wall
barrier without disrupting its integrity. This is a significant fundamental
advance in our understanding of plant biology."
The research was done
with a pathogenic fungus that causes tan spot of wheat, a costly plant disease
that is found around the world, and in some places can cause crop losses ranging
up to 50 percent. These fungi produce multiple toxins that attack wheat plants,
reducing yields and ruining wheat used as seed. In the United States, it's a
particular problem in the Great Plains and Midwest. Ciuffetti has spent much of
her career studying these "host-selective" toxins.
"Until now, we didn't
really know exactly how the protein produced by this fungus was causing disease,
whether it was from inside or outside of the plant cells," said Viola Manning,
an OSU faculty research assistant and co-author of both publications. "No one
had ever shown before that a protein could move, without a pathogen's
assistance, from outside a plant cell to the inside. But in this case, the
protein does penetrate the cell membrane and interacts with chloroplasts,
ultimately leading to cell death."
The scientists said this mechanism
probably will be found in other cells besides wheat, and with other proteins.
And while it may lead ultimately to some way to help address this plant disease
problem in wheat, the more important discovery is the new pathway into plant
"We still don't know exactly how the protein penetrates the cell,
but it's clear that it does," said Andrew Karplus, an OSU professor of
biochemistry and biophysics. "And with work done by a graduate student,
Ganapathy Sarma, we also now have a clear understanding of what the molecular
structure of the toxin looks like. With continued research, we should not only
be able to determine how the protein is getting into the cell, but also remove
the toxic effect associated with it.
"What that would leave us with is a
type of delivery vehicle, a completely new way to deliver compounds inside of a
plant cell and target specific genes. This is a new and unprecedented insight
into how plants can work."
The process of proteins getting inside of
cells and affecting their behavior is common in animal cells, the scientists
said. For instance, that's how the AIDS virus causes its damage. But the same
process had never before been shown to exist in plant cells, which have been
evolving separately from animals for hundreds of millions of years.
a new delivery mechanism such as this, applied research could be done either to
help or harm plant cells - by increasing or controlling their growth, or
introducing new characteristics.
The research was supported by the
National Science Foundation and the National Research Initiative of the
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, an agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(Return to Contents)
1.13 Newly recognized gene mutation may reduce seeds, resurrect
West Lafayette, Indiana
A mutated plant that seems to
return from the dead may hold the secret to how some flora protect their progeny
during yield-limiting drought and other stresses, according to Purdue University scientists whose study of the
plant led to discovery of a gene.
The gene, called RESURRECTION1 (RST1),
has revealed a previously unknown genetic connection between lipid development
and embryo development in plants, said Matthew Jenks (photo), lead author of the
study and a Purdue plant physiologist.
Lipids play a role in preventing
plant dehydration in forming cells' membranes, in molecular signaling and in
energy storage. A still-to-be revealed lipid associated with formation of the
cuticle that coats plant surfaces may signal whether a seed develops to maturity
or is aborted early due to a defective embryo.
"This is interesting
because in crop production a number of plants have a problem of reduced yield
due to seed or fruit abortion," Jenks said. "It's thought that plants may abort
some of their seeds, especially under stress, to conserve and divert resources
to the remaining seeds. So, in a drought situation, for example, plants will get
rid of some seeds so that they can support growth of at least a few healthy
In the November issue of Plant Physiology, Jenks and his team of
researchers from the Purdue Department of Horticulture and Landscape
Architecture report on the normal gene RST1.
They found the gene while
studying a unique surface wax mutant of Arabidopsis, a common laboratory
research plant. All plants have a certain amount of wax overlaying leaves and
The abnormal plant, a mutant of RST1, had short, rounded leaves
that turned purple during development, and then before flowering, the plant
quickly browned and looked dead. It also had a large proportion of small,
wrinkled, non-viable seeds with aborted embryos. These contained only 34 percent
of the normal amount of lipids.
"It appeared to have died, and I left it
in a room for two or three weeks. I was just slow in throwing it away," said
Jenks, who also is a member of the Purdue Center for Plant Environmental Stress
Physiology. "When I went to throw it away, I noticed it had small shoots coming
up as if it had returned to life."
The surprising finding in studying the
mutant was that a single gene could affect so many diverse traits, Jenks said.
Another somewhat similar mutant Arabidopsis showed alterations only in wax and
seed development, but not in the other mutated RST1 traits. This was a major
clue that changes in lipid synthesis were somehow altering seed
Scientists already know that lipids play an important role
in signaling developmental changes in plants and animals, and that other plants
and animals, including humans, have genes similar to RST1. Jenks and his team
now want to determine the exact role of RST1 in lipid signaling that affects
plant development, particularly its role in crop seed self-thinning mechanisms
through embryo abortion.
Unlike some other mutants that abort all of its
seeds, the mutant RST1 plant aborts only about 70 percent of the seeds, he
"RST1 is not required for seed development, but it does influence
how seeds develop, perhaps playing a role in regulating the number of seeds a
plant will support to maturity," Jenks said. "Seed abortion by plants likely is
a tightly regulated process that necessitates allowing some seed loss to
conserve resources in a stressful environment without aborting all seeds, which
would leave the plant with no healthy offspring."
If researchers learn
how to control plant embryo abortion, they may be able to increase yield by
helping plants shed fewer seeds, grains or fruits, especially under drought
conditions and in other stressful environments.
U.S. Department of
Agriculture National Research Initiative and the SALK Institute Genomic Analysis
Laboratory provided support for this work.
The other researchers involved
in the study were Ray Bressan, Purdue Department of Horticulture and Landscape
Architecture professor; Xinbo Chen, Xionglun Liu and Xinlu Chen, all
horticulture postdoctoral students; and S. Mark Goodwin, a horticulture doctoral
Related Web sites:
- Purdue Department of Horticulture
and Landscape Architecture: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/default.shtml
- Plant Physiology: http://www.plantphysiol.org/
Center for Plant Environmental Stress Physiology: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/cfpesp/
- U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Research Initiative: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/fundview.cfm?fonum=1112
Salk Institute: http://www.salk.edu/
The paper is currently published in the online version of Plant Physiology and scheduled for the
journal's November issue.
Writer: Susan A. Steeves, (765) 496-7481, email@example.com
Jenks, (765) 494-1332, firstname.lastname@example.org
31 October 2005
(Return to Contents)
Elicitation of defense related enzymes and resistance by L-methionine in
pearl millet against downy mildew disease caused by Sclerospora
Pearl millet is the most drought tolerant of all
domesticated cereals. It is widely grown, and its worst pest is downy mildew
disease, which is caused by the fungus Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc.)
Schroet. Control methods are ineffective, since the crop is grown under a wide
range of environmental settings.
With a little outside help, Bejai R.
Sarosh, and colleagues, of the University
of Mysore, India document the “Elicitation of defense related enzymes and
resistance by L-methionine in pearl millet against downy mildew disease caused
by Sclerospora graminicola.” Their work appears in the latest issue of
of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.
Researchers induced resistance
to downy mildew by treating the crop with L-methionine. They then profiled the
messenger RNA transcripts which accumulated, and found that a good number of
defense response genes were being expressed due to the treatment.
Subscribers to the Journal
of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry can access the complete article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2005.06.009.
Source: CropBiotech Update, via
(Return to Contents)
simulation previews MAS cost
Marker assisted breeding (MAS) makes use
of molecular markers to ensure that a specific gene is incorporated into a
specific locus in a plant cell. This high precision technique, however, is
perceived to be costly compared with traditional breeding methods.
In "Genetic and economic analysis of a targeted marker-assisted wheat breeding
strategy," Haydn Kuchel, of Australian Grain Technologies, and colleagues use
computer simulation to design a genetically effective and economically efficient
marker-assisted breeding strategy aimed at producing rust resistant wheat. Their
findings are published in Molecular Breeding.
Researchers used the
QU-GENE simulation software to examine how best to maximize MAS at lowest cost.
The results of their simulation showed that the economic success of MAS will
vary with the stage at which the markers are deployed and the number and value
of genes selected. MAS, in fact, could provide not only genetic gain but reduced
overall cost by as much as 40%.
Read more about the research findings by
downloading the complete article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11032-005-4785-7.
If you are not a Molecular Breeding subscriber, you may still view the abstract
at the same site.
From CropBiotech Update 14 October 2005:
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
(Return to Contents)
1.16 Scientists discover how crops use the length of the day to
decide when to flower
Norwich, United Kingdom
Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC) report today a
breakthrough in understanding how crop plants use daylength to ensure they
flower at the right time of year. In an article published in the international
journal Science*, they describe a gene that
controls how barley reacts to the length of the day and thus controls when it
Most plants flower at a particular time of the year and
researchers have known for a long time that plants use cues from their
environment to control when they flower. Many crops, including barley, react to
the length of the day (daylength) and use this to determine their flowering
“Different varieties of barley (and other crops) respond to
daylength in different ways and this has been used to breed varieties adapted to
grow in different farming environments” said Dr David Laurie (Project Leader at
JIC). “Our result is exciting because for the first time we have identified the
gene (called Ppd-H1)** that controls this very important response and now
understand how plants monitor daylength. This should help breeders who are
breeding new varieties for new environments and changing agricultural conditions
– caused by global climate change.”
Some barley varieties respond very
quickly to the lengthening days in spring and so flower early in the summer.
Others respond much more slowly and flower later. Early flowering is an
advantage in places where the summers are hot and dry, such as the
Mediterranean, because the plants can complete their life cycle before they are
exposed to the stresses of high summer. In places like England, where the
summers are cool and wet, late flowering is an advantage because the longer
growing period allows the crops to deliver higher yields.
“Now we have
identified the gene we will be able to find out how many versions of this gene
there are in barley and which environments they match”, said Dr Laurie. “This
will give us a better picture of the history of our crops and help us understand
how crops have been bred for different environments around the world. Our
studies suggest that the same gene may be important in wheat and rice. If this
is true, then it will prove to be a gene that has been very influential in the
process of domesticating wild plants to bring them into agriculture.
The paper “The pseudo-response regulator Ppd-H1 provides adaptation to
photoperiod in barley” is published by Science on the 11th November 2005.
The Ppd-H1 (Photoperiod H-1) gene is part of a genetic pathway that controls
barley’s response to daylength.
(Return to Contents)
1.17 Update 11-2005
of FAO-BiotechNews (Excepts)
From the Coordinator of FAO-BiotechNews,
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
E-mail address: FAO-Biotech-News@fao.org
Biotechnology website http://www.fao.org/biotech/index.asp
(in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish)
1) FAO e-conference on
biotechnology and genetic resources - Summary document The summary document of
the FAO e-mail conference entitled "The role of biotechnology for the
characterisation and conservation of crop, forest, animal and fishery genetic
resources in developing countries" has now been published. It provides a summary
of the main issues discussed during this moderated e-mail conference, hosted by
the FAO Biotechnology Forum from 6 June and 4 July 2005, based on the 127
messages posted by the participants, over 60% coming from people in developing
countries. Crop and animal genetic resources received most attention during the
conference and, of the different biotechnologies, most discussions were about
molecular markers, in particular their use for characterisation of genetic
resources. See http://www.fao.org/biotech/logs/C13/summary.htm
or contact email@example.com to request a copy.
3) From the green to
gene revolution - Working paper
As part of its ESA Working Papers series,
FAO's Agricultural and Development Economics Division (ESA) has just published "From the Green Revolution to the Gene Revolution: How will the poor fare?" by
P. Pingali and T. Raney. The ESA Working Papers series presents ESA's ongoing
research and papers are circulated to stimulate discussion and comments. See ftp://ftp.fao.org/es/ESA/ESAWP05_09.pdf or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the paper.
- Poplars in biotechnology research
Unasylva is an international journal of
forestry and forest industries published by FAO in English, French and Spanish.
The latest issue (nr. 221) is dedicated to poplars and willows, containing
articles adapted from presentations to the 22nd session of the International
Poplar Commission held in Santiago, Chile from 28 November to 2 December 2004
that focused on enhancing the contribution of poplars and willows to sustainable
forestry and rural development, particularly in developing countries and those
with economies in transition. One of the articles is on "Poplars in
biotechnology research" by H. Marchadier and P. Sigaud. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/a0026e/a0026e00.htm
or contact email@example.com for more information.
7) Expert Group
on Risk Assessment - Cartagena Protocol
At its second meeting in 2005, the
Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety decided to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on
Risk Assessment. The first meeting of the Group takes place on 15-18 November
2005 in Rome, Italy. See the meeting documents at http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.asp?mtg=TEGRA-01
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
(Return to Contents)
2.01 A new online
journal “Communications in Biometry and Crop Science” calls for
A new online journal Communications in Biometry and Crop
Science (CBCS) was established in 2005 with the aim to publish original
peer-reviewed papers, both theoretical and experimental, in crop and biometrical
sciences. It is also hoped that CBCS will be a forum for plant breeders who are
focused on breeding of field crops. It accepts papers in the following
fields:(i) crop science: e.g., agronomy, plant breeding, crop plants physiology,
plant-soil relationships, crop protection; (ii) biometry, regarding the
statistical and mathematical methods connected with the above mentioned fields.
In CBCS, the following types of articles are published: (i) short
communications, (ii) review articles, and (iii) Letters to the Editor.
Manuscripts submitted to CBCS are promptly reviewed by at least two reviewers,
and rapidly published after acceptance. The Editorial Board of CBCS is
multidisciplinary and international. Please visit the web page of Communications
in Biometry and Crop Science, http://agrobiol.sggw.waw.pl/cbcs, to
find more about the journal.
Contributed to PBN-L by Yong-Bi Fu,
Research Scientist, Plant Gene Resources of Canada, Saskatoon Research
Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, S7N 0X2, Canada. Email:email@example.com
4.01 Opportunity for plant breeding funding
for a specific type of program
See the request for proposals for the
NRI is posted on the CSREES web site www.csrees.usda.gov. Go to "Funding
Opportunities", scroll to mid page, select "N" in the alphabetical listing, and
See the "Integrated projects" section of program 22.1, Ag
plants and environmental adaptation. Plant breeding proposals for drought
tolerance would be accepted if they include a curriculum component. If
interested, you are strongly encouraged to contact the program manager, Gail
McLean, by phone 202 401 6060 (if she's not in she will return your call) or me,
but esp. Gail, to get as much understanding as possible of what type of proposal
would be eligible, before you start writing! Deadline Jan 10,
Check out other sections of the NRI also, for possibly relevant
Finally, the National Needs Fellowships may experience a 25%
increase this year, and plant breeding proposals may be eligible if they can
make a case that the plant breeding proposed would make a contribution to
general USDA goal areas. That RFA will not be out until
January. Read it carefully and contact the program manager (name will be
listed in the RFA) with questions. It will be located on the same web
Contributed by Ann Marie Thro
MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS
*(NEW) Plant Breeding Academy
The University of California Seed Biotechnology Center
would like to inform you of an exciting new course we are offering to teach the
principles of plant breeding to seed industry personnel.
course addresses the reduced numbers of plant breeders being trained in academic
programs. It is an opportunity for companies to invest in dedicated personnel
who are currently involved in their own breeding programs, but lack the genetics
and plant breeding background to direct a breeding program. Participants will
meet at UC Davis for one week per quarter over two years (eight sessions) to
allow participants to maintain their current positions while being involved in
Instruction begins Fall 2006 and runs through Summer
2008 (actual dates to be determined)
For more information: (530)
754-7333, email firstname.lastname@example.org, http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/Events/Plant_Breeding_Academy.htm
byAllen Van Deynze (email@example.com)
UC Davis, Seed Biotechnology
*(NEW) 14-15 December 2005. Symposium on Diversity for
Breeding, NIAB, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, UK
symposium will investigate new opportunities to exploit crop genomes as a source
of novel alleles for plant breeding. It will provide a timely opportunity to
inspire and stimulate renewed interest in this topic that will underpin both
national and international initiatives and imperatives.
The meeting will
start on Wednesday 14th Dec at 13:00 with Dr Dani Zamir from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, speaking on how unused natural variation can lift yield
barriers in plant breeding. Day 2 will start at 9:00 with Prof Susan McCouch
from Cornell University speaking on seed banks and genomics: natural
Recent developments in plant science are
spectacular and have the potential to address many of the nutritional, health
and environmental challenges facing mankind. Although it is widely recognised
that plant-based processes can offer truly sustainable solutions, the complete
spectrum of genetic variability available to plant breeders is not always fully
Pre-existing natural sources of biodiversity, coupled with
accurate phenotyping, can enrich the genetic basis of cultivated crops with
novel alleles that have the potential to improve productivity and adaptation to
a range of environments.
‘Diversity for Breeding’ will provide case
studies of how novel sources of alleles have been discovered and efficiently
introgressed into adapted germplasm based on ‘genomic knowledge’ of crops and
their wild relatives. The Symposium will also address how the UK’s public
investment in plant and crop genomics can be used to unleash the genetic
potential of our wild and cultivated germplasm resources for the benefit of
Wednesday, 14 December 2005
Exploiting Novel Sources of Diversity
Thursday, 15 December
Session 2: Diversity Studies in Current and Historical Germplasm
Session 3: Genetic Improvement in the UK
Session 4: WORKSHOP: ‘Future
diversity for breeding: the way forward
Contributed by Mary McPhee,
*(NEW) 19-21 February 2006, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The
3rd International Conference on Date Palm. Sponsored, among others, by FAO,
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat for the
Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the conference covers a wide range
of topics including molecular and genetic engineering and post harvest and
processing technologies. The conference was originally scheduled for 13-15
November 2005. See http://www.cfs.uaeu.ac.ae/Conferences/ticdp/
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
*(NEW) 21-24 February
2006. Third General Assembly of the West Africa Seed and Planting Material
Network (WASNET), Palm Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
details concerning this seed event in West African , contact the Coordinator of
WASNET by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or send your
request through the website http://www.wasnet.org
Norbert G. Maroya
-Regional seed sector arrangement
-Presentations of regional
organizations / partners
-National Reports by Member Countries on the status
and challenges of the seed industry
-National Reports by Member Countries on
the status and challenges
-FIELD VISIT TO KUMASI
-WASNET General Assembly
-5th Meeting of the Steering Committee of
6-10 March 2006, Treviso, Italy. Introduction to biosafety and
risk assessment for the environmental release of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs): Theoretical approach and scientific background. Workshop organised
by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in
collaboration with the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare. Closing date for
applications is 30 November 2005. See http://www.icgeb.org/MEETINGS/CRS06/6_10March.pdf
or contact email@example.com for more information.
*(NEW) 22-24 March
2006, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Detection of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) and genetically modified food (GMF). Regional practical training
programme organised by the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka on behalf of the
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. See http://www.icgeb.org/~bsafesrv/bsfn0510.htm#srilanka
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* 18-21 April
2006: The 13th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference --
Breeding for Success: Diversity in Action, Christchurch Convention Center in
Christchurch, New Zealand. For more details, visit http://www.apbc.org.nz
27-29 April 2006.Open call: Joint IOBC Working Group conference "Breeding for
inducible resistance against pests and diseases," Heraklio, Crete,
We are glad to inform and invite you to a joint conference of our
two wprs IOBC working groups "Breeding for resistance against insects and
diseases" and "Induced resistance in plants against insects and
The local hosts will be Dr. Nikolaos Malathrakis, and Dr.
Nikolaos Fanourakis, Technological Education Institute of Crete (TEI, Heraklio,
Topics to be addressed are:
-Tools to study the associations
of plant / pathogen/pest genotypes and phenotypes
-Mechanisms involved in
induced and constitutive resistance
-Types of resistance important for plant
breeders and possible contribution of induced resistance (IR)
through biotechnology, including use of priming and inducing agents, GMOs and
selectable genetic markers
-Evolutionary aspects of plant resistance (aiding
the development of deployment strategies for durable resistance within
Integrated Crop Management = ICM and durable deployment
Register and find additional information at http://www.unine.ch/bota/IOBC/. If
there are questions, please contact:
email@example.com or N.Birch@scri.sari.ac.uk
15-19 May 2006, Florence, Italy. Biosafety II: Practical course in evaluation
of field releases of genetically modified plants. Organised by the
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in collaboration
with the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare. Closing date for applications is
30 January 2006. See http://www.icgeb.trieste.it/MEETINGS/CRS06/15_19maggio.pdf
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* 2-6 July 2006, Udine
(Italy): IX International Conference on Grape Genetics and Breeding,
under the auspices of the ISHS Section Viticulture and the OIV. Info: Prof.
Enrico Peterlunger, University of Udine, Dip. di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientale,
Via delle Scienze 208, 33100 Udine, Italy. Phone: (39)0432558629, Fax:
(39)0432558603, email: email@example.com
genetics has aroused a spectacular interest worldwide in recent years and is
experiencing a renewal in objectives and strategies. We expect this symposium
fosters scientists to exchange their experiences and promotes their cooperation
in view of launching the ambitious project of grape whole genome
Udine is located in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the North-Eastern
region of Italy, which is becoming a central area of the enlarged European
Union. "A vineyard called Friuli" is a known refrain that reminds the strong
vocation to viticulture of this region, that produces several of the most
appreciated European white vines.
You are invited to join an active and
open research community, that meets every 4th year to discuss topics related to
grape genetics, breeding and biotechnology
Contributed by Bruce
N.Y.S. Agricultural Experiment Station
University, Geneva, N.Y.
* 23-28 July 2006. The 9th International
Pollination Symposium will be hosted at Iowa State University, in the
Scheman Building, part of the Iowa State Center of the Iowa State University
campus. The Hotel at Gateway Center in Ames, Iowa will be the headquarter
hotel for conference attendees. The official theme of the 2006 International
Pollination Symposium in cooperation with Iowa State University and the United
States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS)
is: "Host-Pollinator Biology Relationships - Diversity in Action"
information please visit www.ucs.iastate.edu/PlantBee
by Jody Larson, symposium committee
* 13-19 August 2006: XXVII
International Horticultural Congress, Seoul (Korea) web: www.ihc2006.org
*(NEW) 9-14 September
2007. The World Cotton Research Conference-4, Lubbock, Texas, USA (http://www.icac.org). There is no cost of
pre-registration and if you pre-register you will receive all the up-coming
information on WCRC-4.171 researchers from over 20 countries have pre-registered
as of today.
M. Rafiq Chaudhry
International Cotton Advisory
Tel 202-463-6660 x22
September 2006, San Remo (Italy): XXII International EUCARPIA Symposium
- Section Ornamentals: Breeding for Beauty. Info: Dr. Tito Shiva or Dr.
Antonio Mercuri, CRA Istituto Sperimentale per la Floricoltura, Corso degli
Inglesi 508, 18038 San Remo (IM), Italy. Phone: (39)0184694846, Fax:
(39)0184694856, email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.istflori.it
*17-21 September 2006. Cucurbitaceae 2006. Grove Park Inn Resort
and Spa in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. Contact: Dr. Gerald Holmes,
Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
27695-7616, 919-515-9779 (email@example.com) (http://www.ncsu.edu/cucurbit2006)
This meeting continues the tradition of Cucurbitaceae conferences held
every four years in the USA. It will include meetings of associated groups
including the Cucurbit Crop Genetics Committee, the Cucurbit Genetics
Cooperative, the National Melon Research Group, the National Watermelon Research
Group, the Pickling Cucumber Improvement Committee, and the Squash Research
Submitted by Todd C. Wehner
Department of Horticultural
North Carolina State University
*(NEW) 18-20 September
2006.The International Cotton Genome Initiative (ICGI) 2006 Research
Conference, Blue Tree Park Hotel (http://www.bluetree.com.br/index_ing.asp), Brasília, D.F., Brazil.
Conference will follow the ICAC meeting that is going to be held in Goiânia, GO,
from September 11-15, 2006. The Research Conference venue will
include the five Workgroups of ICGI; Structural Genomics, Functional Genomics,
Germplasm & Genetic Stocks, Evolutionary & Comparative Genomics, and
Details of the ICGI 2006 Research Conference will be
posted on the ICGI website (http://icgi.tamu.edu) as they become
Submitted by R. J. Kohel, Chair ICGI. (firstname.lastname@example.org,
Crop Germplasm Research Unit
College Station, Texas
* 1-5 December 2006: The First International Meeting on Cassava Plant
Breeding and Biotechnology, to be held in Brasilia, Brazil on the 1st-5th of
December 2006, will be sponsored by the International Society of Food,
Agriculture, and Environment of Helsinki, Finland. Its theme is Cassava
Improvement to Improve Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa and Northeastern
Brazil. Sessions during the meeting will tackle such topics as wild species and
landraces to enhance nutritional content, management of reproduction and
propagation systems, biotechnology tools and methods for breeding the crop, and
conservation of Manihot genetic resources. Proceedings will be published and
distributed in March 2007, and will contain all articles presented in the
meeting. For more details, email Dr. Nagib Nassar of the University of Brasilia
or visit the meeting website at http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/meeting/.
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7. EDITOR'S NOTES
Plant Breeding News is an
electronic forum for the exchange of information and ideas about applied plant
breeding and related fields. It is published every four to six weeks throughout
The newsletter is managed by the editor and an advisory group
consisting of Elcio Guimaraes (email@example.com), Margaret Smith
(firstname.lastname@example.org), and Anne Marie Thro (email@example.com). The editor will
advise subscribers one to two weeks ahead of each edition, in order to set
deadlines for contributions.
REVIEW PAST NEWSLETTERS ON THE WEB: Past
issues of the Plant Breeding Newsletter are now available on the web. The
address is: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/AGRICULT/AGP/AGPC/doc/services/pbn.html
Please note that you may have to copy and paste this address to your
web browser, since the link can be corrupted in some e-mail applications. We
will continue to improve the organization of archival issues of the newsletter.
Readers who have suggestions about features they wish to see should contact the
editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribers are encouraged to take an active
part in making the newsletter a useful communications tool. Contributions may be
in such areas as: technical communications on key plant breeding issues;
announcements of meetings, courses and electronic conferences; book
announcements and reviews; web sites of special relevance to plant breeding;
announcements of funding opportunities; requests to other readers for
information and collaboration; and feature articles or discussion issues brought
by subscribers. Suggestions on format and content are always welcome by the
editor, at email@example.com. We would especially like to see a broad
participation from developing country programs and from those working on species
outside the major food crops.
Messages with attached files are not
distributed on PBN-L for two important reasons. The first is that computer
viruses and worms can be distributed in this manner. The second reason is that
attached files cause problems for some e-mail systems.
PLEASE NOTE: Every
month many newsletters are returned because they are undeliverable, for any one
of a number of reasons. We try to keep the mailing list up to date, and also to
avoid deleting addresses that are only temporarily inaccessible. If you miss a
newsletter, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will re-send it.
subscribe to PBN-L: Send an e-mail message to: email@example.com. Leave
the subject line blank and write SUBSCRIBE PBN-L (Important: use ALL CAPS). To
unsubscribe: Send an e-mail message as above with the message UNSUBSCRIBE PBN-L.
Lists of potential new subscribers are welcome. The editor will contact these
persons; no one will be subscribed without their explicit permission.
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