PLANT BREEDING NEWS
31 August 2006
An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant
Sponsored by FAO and Cornell University
Clair H. Hershey,
Archived 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
Science features Golden Anniversary Symposium papers
1.02 DOE to invest $250 million in new
1.03 Africa Rice Congress adopts far-reaching resolutions
and bestows first congressional honor on Dr Nwanze
1.04 Australian research aims to boost
1.05 Better barley breeding
1.06 Improving cassava for enhancing
yield, minimizing pest losses and creating wealth in sub-Saharan Africa
1.07 Canadian born and
raised flowers: native species in the spotlight for new plant breeding
1.08 Potential adoption
and management of insect-resistant potato in Peru, and implications for
genetically engineered potato
1.09 Agriculture and tropical conservation: rethinking old ide
1.10 Super blackcurrants with boosted vitamin C
1.11 Insect resistant cowpeas are being
developed by CSIRO Plant Industry to help provide a more
reliable food crop for sub-Saharan Africa
1.12 Researchers outline recipe for
African rice revolution
1.13 Managing risk: genetics are key to rice yield, quality and
tolerance to waterlogging and dryland salinity in wheat
1.15 Metal homeostasis
research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher yielding
1.16 Overdominant quantitative trait loci for yield and fitness in tomato
1.17 Breeding soybean [Glycine
max (L.) Merr] for resistance to cyst nematodes (Heterodera glycines
1.18 Plan to boost rice photosynthesis with inserted genes
1.19 GM maize protects
chickens from deadly virus
1.20 Gene discovery could lead to flood-resistant rice
develop flood-tolerant California rice
1.22 Selected articles from
3. WEB RESOURCES
4 GRANTS AVAILABLE
5 POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS
5.01 Brazilian student at the Botucatu campus of UNESP is looking for an opportunity to spend some time with a research
program in the USA
6 MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES
Crop Science features Golden Anniversary Symposium
The September-October issue of Crop Science (
http://crop.scijournals.org/content/vol46/issue5/) features eight papers
from CSSA’s Golden Anniversary Symposium, which took place during the 2005
Annual Meetings. The following relate closely to the field of plant
Improving lives: 50 years of crop breeding, genetics, and
cytology, by P.S. Baenziger, W.K. Russell, G.L. Graef, and B.T.
Seeds: the delivery system for crop science, by D.M
Genetic tools from nature and the nature of genetic tools, by
Plant genetic resources conservation and utilization: the
accomplishments and future of a societal insurance policy, by P.
DOE to invest $250 million in new bioenergy
Basic genomics research on the development of biofuels to
Joliet, IL -- U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary
Samuel W. Bodman announced today that DOE will spend $250 million to establish
and operate two new Bioenergy Research Centers to accelerate basic research on
the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. The Secretary made the
announcement with Congressman Jerry Weller (IL-11th), local officials and
biofuels stakeholders during a visit to Channahon, IL.
"This is an
important step toward our goal of replacing 30 percent of transportation fuels
with biofuels by 2030," Secretary Bodman said. "The Energy Policy Act of 2005
(EPAct) calls for the creation of new programs to improve the technology and
reduce the cost of biofuels production. The mission of these centers is to
accelerate research that leads to breakthroughs in basic science to make
biofuels a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels."
gallons of ethanol were produced this year, mainly from corn. EPAct requires
that by 2012, at least 7.5 billion gallons per year of renewable fuel be blended
into the nation's fuel supply. To meet these goals, future biofuels production
will require the use of more diverse feedstocks including cellulosic material
such as agricultural residues, grasses and other inedible
Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations and
private firms are eligible to compete for an award to establish and operate a
center. Awards, based on evaluation by scientific peer review, will be announced
next summer. The centers are expected to begin work in 2008 and will be fully
operational by 2009.
The centers' mission will be to conduct systems
biology research on microbes and plants, with the goal of harnessing nature's
own powerful mechanisms for producing energy from sunlight. A major focus will
be on understanding how to reengineer biological processes for more efficient
conversion of plant fiber, or cellulose, into ethanol, a substitute for
The announcement of the Bioenergy Research Centers initiative
culminates a six-year-long effort by the DOE Office of Science to lay the
foundation for breakthroughs in systems biology for the cost-effective
production of renewable energy. In early July, DOE's Office of Science issued a
joint biofuels research agenda with the Department's Office of Energy Efficiency
and Renewable Energy titled Breaking the Biological Barriers to Cellulosic
Ethanol. The report provides a detailed roadmap for cellulosic ethanol research,
identifying key roadblocks and areas where scientific breakthroughs are needed.
The proposal deadline for this funding opportunity is February 1, 2007.
DOE's Office of Science will provide $25 million in the first year for the
establishment of each center and up to $25 million per year for the following
four years to support the operations of each center - for a total award of up to
$125 million per center. Additional details on the funding opportunity and the
centers' objectives are available at: http://www.doegenomestolife.org/centers.
began supporting pioneering research on microbes and microbial communities in
2000, with the objective of tapping microorganisms' powerful and diverse
capabilities to produce renewable energy, clean up the environment and manage
atmospheric carbon. This research has been supported by the Genomics: GTL
program in the Office of Science. Since initiating the Human Genome Project in
1986, DOE has played a major role in advancing modern biotechnology, and the
department's recent research on microbes for energy production builds on those
Today's announcement is part of a series of events highlighting
the first anniversary of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which President Bush
signed on August 8, 2005. A kickoff event was held in Washington, D.C., with
Secretary Bodman and two Chairmen of Congressional Committees, Senator Pete
Domenici and Congressman Joe Barton. Later today, Secretary Bodman will travel
to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he will visit the Clipper Wind Manufacturing
Facility and discuss the importance of wind and other forms of renewable energy
to our nation's energy security. In addition to the production tax credits for
renewable energy, including wind, in the Energy Policy Act, President Bush's
Advanced Energy Initiative significantly increases the government's investment
in research and development to bring more affordable renewable energy to market.
The Advanced Energy Initiative proposes a 13 percent increase in wind research
and development in DOE, to a total of $44 million.
DOE's Office of
Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical
sciences in the nation and helps ensure U.S. world leadership across a broad
range of scientific disciplines. The Office of Science supports a diverse
portfolio of research at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide,
manages 10 world-class national laboratories with unmatched capabilities for
solving complex interdisciplinary scientific problems, and builds and operates
the world's finest suite of scientific facilities and instruments used annually
by more than 19,000 researchers to extend the frontiers of all areas of
Contact: Jeff Sherwood
DOE/US Department of Energy
2 August 2006
1.03 Africa Rice Congress adopts far-reaching resolutions
and bestows first congressional honor on Dr Nwanze
Dar es Salaam,
At the just concluded Africa Rice
Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, organized by the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) under the aegis of
the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, a set of strategic
resolutions were adopted that have far-reaching implications for the future of
rice research and development in Africa.
Resolutions of the First Africa
-This Congress resolves that, given that Africa has to
import almost 50% of the rice it needs and that demand is increasing at the rate
of 6% per year, rice should be one of the cornerstones of a Green Revolution for
Africa that anticipates the needs of future populations.
seeks to transform the low level of available scientific expertise in
sub-Saharan Africa where there are only 83 scientists per million people,
compared with 1100 scientists per million in industrialized countries and 785
per million in Asia, and the Congress resolves that for the Green Revolution to
succeed in Africa, a new capacity-building program focusing on the development
of a multi-disciplinary cadre of scientists and extensionists is urgently
-This Congress resolves that to accelerate farmer adoption of New
Rices for Africa (NERICA) varieties and
other improved technologies, concerted actions by a broad partnership including
governments, research institutions, NGOs, the private sector, local, regional
and international organizations are needed. The Congress recognizes the value of
micro-financing and participatory learning as powerful means both for technology
dissemination and for developing appropriate infrastructure to improve access to
seeds, fertilizers, mechanization and market systems.
-The Congress is
deeply appreciative of the support and hospitality of the Government of the
United Republic of Tanzania. It recognizes the role played by the Africa Rice Center (WARDA), not only in African
agriculture and, therefore, in the continent’s economic growth but also in
providing leadership in rice science and development. Desirous, therefore, of
the necessity for the Center to continue to provide such leadership in rice
development in Africa, the Congress resolves and urges all stakeholders to
maintain the Center’s identity, as previously resolved by the WARDA Council of
Ministers in September 2005 and the National Experts Committee in June 2006, and
to strengthen its capacity for the welfare of African rice farmers.
Congressional Honor for Dr Nwanze
Prof. Richard Musangi, Chair of the
Committee of Eminent Persons of the Africa Rice Congress bestowed the
Congressional Honor on Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze,
in recognition of his outstanding contribution to rice research and development
in Africa during his term as the Director General of the Africa Rice Center
(WARDA) from 1996 to 2006.
7 August 2006
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1.04 Australian research aims to boost rice production
Researchers at Southern Cross University in New South Wales,
Australia will spend the next three years developing high quality cold-tolerant
rice varieties that could save Australia's rice industry up to $60 million a
SCU's Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics has received grants
from the Australia Research Council (ARC) and the Rural Industries Research
Development Corporation (RIRDC) for two research projects looking at the genetic
components of rice.
Director of the Centre for Plant Conservation
Genetics Professor Robert Henry said the first project, funded through an ARC
Linkage Grant and in partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industries,
would look at the starch properties of rice.
"The discoveries will be of
value for the model crop, rice, and for other cereal and food crops. There are
human health benefits from the availability of technologies to combine desirable
nutritional traits and attractiveness to consumers," Professor Henry said. "For
example, when you look at a rice grain in most varieties the preferred grain is
translucent, but some varieties are susceptible to being chalky, and that is
genetically determined. We will be trying to identify the genes associated with
key production and quality traits." He said the project would also look at
developing a single test which would map the genetic make-up of different rice
In the past two years, the Centre for Plant Conservation
Genetics has discovered the gene that makes rice fragrant and the gene that
controls the gelatinisation temperature of rice. Other genes have been
identified that control the height of the plant (which leads to higher yield)
and disease resistance.
Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics research
scientist Dr Dan Waters said at present individual tests had to be carried out
to determine what genes were present in each variety. "We want to be able to map
what is in the different varieties using a single test, which will identify more
than one gene," Dr Waters said.
The second project, funded by RIRDC, is
designed to help the Australian rice industry minimise the yield loss as a
result of cold temperatures. "As the rice is growing the critical stage in its
development is just when it's forming pollen. Temperatures below about 18
degrees Celsius start to damage the pollen and stop it developing, which leads
to sterility. Sterile plants do not produce rice seed and so yields are
lowered," Dr Waters said.
"What is known is that different varieties of
rice have different levels of tolerance.This project is all about determining
what the genetic control is for cold tolerance."Dr Waters said once the gene was
isolated it would allow for the efficient breeding of cold-tolerant
In Australia rice is grown as a summer crop in the southern
part of NSW, near the Victorian border. While it is generally hot during the
growing period, occasional cold fronts lead to cold damage. “Three out of four
years it is a huge problem. Rice yield losses due to low temperature cost the
Australian rice industry up to $60 million," he said. The three-year project
will be completed at the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics at SCU's Lismore
campus and at the Yanco Agricultural Institute in Leeton,
Contributed by Emma Evans
Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics
Southern Cross University
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1.05 Better barley
Grains Research and Development Corporation:
The Crop Doctor
Many Western Australian barley growers, when learning
Barley Breeding Australia (BBA) officially started on July 1, may question the
merit of changing a system that has produced some good varieties, and that at
best, life will go on the same.
But there are big expectations that BBA,
the name for a new national barley breeding program, will provide growers better
varieties with market demand.
As part of the change, six state barley
breeding programs will be replaced by three regionally managed nodes focusing on
breeding barley based on market demand and agronomics, such as rainfall and soil
In other words, the Western Australia based western node could be
breeding barleys for acid to neutral soils regardless of which state they are
ultimately planted. Similarly, the south eastern node, based in South Australia,
could be breeding for alkaline to neutral soils found in Western
Australia's 8 million tonne barley industry needs to
significantly increase production, lifting average yields from 2.1 t/ha to 2.6
t/ha and expanding the growing area from 3.8 million hectares to above 5Mha to
satisfy demand projected in 2020.
To ensure it gets the market end of
the barley breeding equation right BBA will consult with peak industry body
Barley Australia, which includes maltsters, marketers and bulk
A whole of industry approach to barley breeding will not only
bring in national expertise but also ensure WA's export customers receive the
barley they want and, in turn, enable their customers to provide a consistent
The Department of Agriculture and Food will manage the western
node, University of Adelaide the south eastern and Queensland Department of
Primary Industries and Fisheries the northern.
These agencies will also
be represented on the BBA advisory board along with the Grains Research and Development Corporation
and New South Wales and Victorian Department of Primary Industries.
final outcome of BBA should be better targeted barley breeding to ensure
Australia's barleys are preferentially demanded by markets, which is what it is
While life may go on the same, this system will make a good
one even better.
Further Information: Leecia Angus, Tel 02 6272
The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter
Source: SciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com
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1.06 Improving cassava for enhancing yield, minimizing pest losses
and creating wealth in sub-Saharan Africa
brought to Africa by the Portuguese at the end of the 16th Century
and today should be regarded among the two top staples of the continent. However
the crop faces many challenges because it may be affected by biotic stresses and
end-user demands. Cassava can be a source of income by adding-value through
domestic agro-processing or as raw material for the local industry. This article
provides an overview of cassava improvement through crop breeding, especially
for cassava mosaic disease and bacterial blight, and biological control of pests
such as cassava mealybug and green mite. The achievements in the genetic
enhancement of the crop or its eco-friendly plant health management result from
using genetic resources of the crop or biological control agents brought from
the South American center of origin of cassava. Without these
research-for-development successes brought cassava output cassava production
would be 50% or less in Africa, i.e., over 13 million t year-1 of dry
cassava, enough to meet the calorie requirements of 65 million people in
sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, cassava changed rural landscapes, and this
poor farmer’s crop became a pacesetter of African rural development. Cassava
post-harvest processing may be a major vehicle for job creation and poverty
reduction in rural areas. The accomplishments of cassava
research-for-development in, and for Africa ensued from a strategy that
considers producing locally, minimizing risks and creating wealth.
article available at: http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/artigo_32.htm
by Rodomiro Ortiz
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1.07 Canadian born and raised flowers: native species in
the spotlight for new plant breeding
Canadian-grown flowers may soon be sprouting in local greenhouses, thanks to a
new breeding program for native species being developed at the University of
Prof. Al Sullivan,
Department of Plant Agriculture, is developing a breeding program specifically
for flowers indigenous to Canada. He says once established, it will help the
nation’s horticulture markets gain a unique competitive advantage by raising
“Most of the flower cultivars being grown in Canada are
produced somewhere else in the world,” says Sullivan. “If we had our own
breeding program, we could breed and license our own plants in Canada and obtain
the benefits of having developed the products locally.”
because other countries produce the plants, they are able to grow the latest
varieties and ship the remainder to outside buyers including Canada. This scheme
means Canadians don’t get first crack at the newest plants, and a complicated
(often expensive) system for tracking royalties ensues as they get involved in
sub-licensing and co-ownership strategies with other buying countries.
home-grown breeding program would be an important step towards gaining a more
economical hold on local and export sales, says Sullivan.
Canadian nurseries already market native species, Sullivan says these plants are
typically harvested right from nature and sold without further genetic
improvements. He is working to change this approach by gathering more
information on the native plants and breeding to ensure their continuous supply
with enhanced characteristics such as improved flower size and colour, shelf
life and drought resistance.
First, because information on native plants
is so scarce, Sullivan and his team have been assessing different native species
to learn more about their potential commercial value. In the past three years,
they have studied 40 different plants for qualities such as management and
growing characteristics, propagation potential, physical characteristics and
disease and pest resistance.
Sullivan is focusing on plants that require
low inputs for water, light and nutrient intake. These allow growers to reduce
their energy inputs and are ideal when selling to consumers in city settings
with little water availability and shaded backyards. Sullivan foresees
developing management profiles for each species so growers can manage the plants
with better success.
Sullivan is also using his information to breed
better native plants, using two different approaches. In the first, he
inter-crosses superior plants he finds in nature and selects the best plants
from each generation. As the plants are improved they can be released for the
marketplace, at any generation. He’s hoping to try an approach used in corn to
produce hybrids and take advantage of the breeding technique to enhance species
vigour and control uniformity. In both approaches, Sullivan has the commercial
greenhouse market as the end goal.
Down the road, Sullivan is focused on
improving propagation techniques for these species, and even looking to
micro-propagation, which can shorten generation time and help produce millions
of plants faster.
“With this program, growers can refine the species to
develop optimized growing schemes that best suit their specific market and
needs,” says Sullivan. “Then we can offer Canadians a more competitive product,
grown specifically for Canadian consumers.”
Others involved in this
research include Profs. Theo Blom, Bernard Grodzinski, and Praveen Saxena and
masters student Mary Jane Clark, all of Department of Plant
This research is sponsored by Flowers Canada, the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Canadian Ornamental
Guelph via Agnet Aug. 4/06 -
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1.08 Potential adoption and management of insect-resistant potato in
Peru, and implications for genetically engineered
Environmental Biosafety Research 4(2005) 179-188
M. Martinet, F. de Mendiburu and M. Ghislain
analyzes some important issues surrounding possible deployment of genetically
engineered (GE) insect-resistant potato in Peru, based on a large farmer survey
held in Peru in 2003. We found that the formal seed system plays a limited role
compared with the informal seed system, especially for smallholder farmers.
Although 97% of smallholder farmers would buy seed of an insect-resistant
variety, a majority would buy it only once every 2 to 4 years. Survey data show
that farmers would be willing to pay a premium of 50% on seed cost for insect
resistant varieties. Paying price premiums of 25% to 50%, farmers would still
increase either net income, assuming insect resistance is high and pesticide use
will be strongly reduced. Of all farmers, 55% indicated preference for
insect-resistant potato in varieties other than their current varieties. The
survey indicates that smallholder farmers are interested to experiment with new
varieties and have a positive perception of improved varieties. Based on these
findings, and considering the difficulties implementing existing biosafety
regulatory systems such as those in place in the U.S. and E.U., we propose to
develop a variety-based segregation system to separate GE from conventionally
bred potatoes. In such a system, which would embrace the spread of GE potatoes
through informal seed systems, only a limited number of sterile varieties would
be introduced that are easily distinguishable from conventional
Contributed by Marc Ghislain
CIP, Lima, Peru
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1.09 Agriculture and tropical
conservation: rethinking old ideas
Ann Arbor, Mich. -- It's a
long-held view in conservation circles that rural peasant activities are at odds
with efforts to preserve biodiversity in the tropics. In fact, the opposite is
often true, argue University of Michigan researchers John Vandermeer and Ivette
Combining case studies with ecological theory, Vandermeer and
Perfecto found that the peasant farming practices encouraged by grassroots
movements such as Brazil's Landless Workers Movement, Mexico's Zapatistas or the
international Via Campesina actually support conservation, while the practices
of extremely wealthy landowners often undermine it. The researchers will present
their findings Aug. 8 in two symposia at the Ecological Society of America
meeting in Memphis, Tenn.
"When you talk to peasant producers in
tropical areas, they're usually surprised when they hear that conservationists
think that they're the enemies of conservation," said Vandermeer, who is the
Margaret Davis Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "They
love their farms and all the plants and animals in the area, and they see that
it's the big, rich landowners who come in and cut all the trees down and turn
the land into cattle pastures. So the standard litany doesn't ring true to
Vandermeer and Perfecto reviewed studies of biodiversity in the
Atlantic coast rainforest of Brazil, a region that is unusual in having areas of
tremendous biological variety adjacent to highly developed, industrialized
"The area has some of the highest biodiversity in the world, but
it all occurs in fragments of forest," Vandermeer said. In one study the
researchers examined, a Brazilian scientist documented in a single river valley
28,000 separate forest fragments, where vulnerable species such as muriqui
monkeys live. Vandermeer and Perfecto combined observations such as these with
current ecological theory.
"We know that a lot of organisms typically
live in a fragmented state in nature, with subpopulations scattered around an
area," Vandermeer said. Disease or predators may wipe out a particular
subpopulation, but migrants from nearby subpopulations come in and establish a
new subpopulation. "We now think that most high diversity situations operate
this way, with a continual process of local extinction and re-migration. When
you couple that ecological theory with the observation of highly fragmented
forests in the Atlantic coast rainforest, the real question is not how much
forest is left, but what's between those patches that are left, and will it
support the necessary migrations from patch to patch as local extinctions occur,
which they inevitably do?"
If forest patches are separated by barren
pastures or fields of single crops, such as soybeans, then monkeys, birds, and
other forest animals probably won't travel through them to repopulate areas
where extinction has occurred. But that's not the case if the intervening areas
are traditional "agroforests"---farms where fruit and timber trees share space
with other crops, Vandermeer said. "That's the kind of agriculture that's
friendly to biodiversity, and that's the kind of agriculture that peasant
farmers actually do."
Vandermeer and Perfecto, a professor of natural
resources and environment, visited agroforests in the Pontal de Paranapanema
region of Brazil, where landless peasants organized by Catholic priests
established homesteads in the 1950s and 1960s. There, the researchers saw
evidence that the farms do indeed serve as thoroughfares for migrating animals. "These farmers actually have monkeys that come through their farms," Vandermeer
The U-M scientists and their collaborator Jefferson Ferreira Lima
of Brazil's Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas also spoke with members of the
Landless Workers' Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or
MST), which is a member of the international peasant organization Via Campesina. "It's a political movement, but it's very pro-conservation, and they
specifically understand what they're doing by creating a new kind of agriculture
based on small producers using organic or semi-organic methodologies on farms
with trees," Vandermeer said.
With these groups encouraging such
biodiversity-friendly practices, Vandermeer said, "I think conservationists and
rural peasant movements ought to be friends."
University of Michigan
8 August 2006
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blackcurrants with boosted vitamin C
Scientists are working with the
company behind the popular British fruit drink Ribena to boost the vitamin C
content of blackcurrants in a move that would be a major benefit to consumers
and farmers. Researchers have tracked the production and storage of vitamin C in
blackcurrant bushes and are now studying the factors that determine the levels
of the nutrient in the fruit. Working out how to boost the vitamin C content of
blackcurrants would help to promote consumption of the vital nutrient and also
improve juice quality.
The scientists, based at the Scottish Crop
Research Institute (SCRI) and East Malling Research in Kent, UK, have used
tracers to identify where and when vitamin C is produced in blackcurrant bushes
and how it moves throughout the plant. Using different strains of blackcurrant
plant the team can compare and analyse how the vitamin accumulates in the
blackcurrant fruit as well as the limiting factors.
To date the research
has discovered that starch that accumulates after the berries have been
harvested plays a key role in determining vitamin C production the following
year. The scientists are now adjusting carbohydrate levels across the entire
plant to alter starch deposits to explore how this affects vitamin levels and
Dr Robert Hancock, the research leader at SCRI, said: "Understanding how and when vitamin C is produced and accumulates in the
blackcurrant plants has clear benefits for the consumer. We can grow crops that
produce juice that will have higher levels of vitamin C and a better taste.
Vitamin C is vital to tissue growth and repair and gives a big boost to the
immune system but because it dissolves in water the body cannot store it.
"We need to eat vitamin C rich food every day but people just do not get
enough. Blackcurrants contain more vitamin C than oranges so boosting that even
further can only be a good thing. Blackcurrant production has soared in the UK
in the last few years as demand has rocketed across Europe. If we can help to
improve the crop we can give UK farmers a better, sustainable product to sell
that will ensure they have a competitive edge."
The project has another
two years to run and there are still some key questions to be explored. Dr
Hancock explained: "We have explored whether vitamin production takes place in
the leaves or the blackcurrant fruit and answered important questions about why
levels drop off as fruit ripens, just when we are about to eat it. Now we want
to develop the techniques and knowledge we need to accelerate the breeding of
super blackcurrant bushes."
The team have received £1.2M in funding
through the Horticulture LINK programme. This has contributions from the
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), GlaxoSmithKline,
the Horticulture Development Council and the Scottish Executive Environment and
Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD).
Professor Nigel Brown, Director of
Science and Technology at BBSRC, the UK's main public funder of research in the
life sciences, commented: "BBSRC is a strong supporter of this type of research
where basic plant science can help to improve the dietary and health benefits of
popular foodstuffs. This is an example of how collaboration between different
research groups with public and commercial research funding can produce real
benefits for consumers, producers and the UK food industry."
article on this research appears in the July 2006 issue of Business, the
quarterly research highlights magazine of the Biotechnology and Biological
Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The botanical name for the
blackcurrant is Ribes nigrum.
Each blackcurrant bush takes three years to
grow before a first full harvest.
The blackcurrant varieties used by
GlaxoSmithKline to produce the fruit drink Ribena were bred at Scottish Crop
Research Institute (SCRI).
It has been estimated that SCRI-bred
blackcurrants account for more than 50 per cent of the global crop, and new
varieties are launched most years.
SCRI's blackcurrants are all named
after mountains in Scotland, so you will find Ben Hope, Ben Tirran and Ben Alder
grown throughout the UK and beyond.
Blackcurrants are especially rich in
vitamin C and, weight for weight, contain more than three times as much as an
Contact: Matt Goode
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research
31 July 2006
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1.11 Insect resistant cowpeas are being developed by
CSIRO Plant Industry to help provide a more reliable food crop
for sub-Saharan Africa
More than 200 million people in
this region use cowpeas as a major source of protein.
One serious pest
that plagues cowpeas is the legume pod borer that often reduces yield by more
than 80 percent.
Useful levels of pest resistance have not been found in
the extensive collections of cowpeas and related species, but gene technology
may be able to help.
Dr TJ Higgins (photo) and his CSIRO Plant Industry
Canberra-based team are international experts in genetically modifying legumes.
They have developed a system to introduce new genes into cowpeas so that genes
for ‘built-in' protection can be incorporated.
The team is now looking
to incorporate Bt genes, the same class of genes that protect GM cotton from
Helicoverpa caterpillars, to provide protection against pod-borers in cowpeas.
This research is supported by the African Agricultural Technology
Foundation and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Full article in
PDF format: http://www.pi.csiro.au/enewsletter/PDF/PI_info_Cowpeas.pdf
CSIRO Plant Industry
e-newsletter issue 14, winter 2006 via SeedQuest.com
(Return to Contents)
Researchers outline recipe for African rice revolution
by Mun-Keat Looi, SciDev.Net
Africa's 'green revolution'
will hinge on homegrown rice, said researchers and policy analysts at the first
African Rice Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last week.
agreed resolutions calling for more research aimed at developing improved
varieties and boosting rice production in Africa.
They urged governments
to support their rice farmers, instead of becoming increasingly dependent on
Sub-Saharan Africa imports almost half of its rice,
and demand is increasing by six per cent each year.
emphasised the need to increase the number of rice scientists in sub-Saharan
Africa through incentives and training.
A spokesperson for the Africa Rice Center (WARDA), which organised the
meeting, says the centre will strengthen its training of rice scientists and
technicians in collaboration with Cornell University in the United States.
Delegates also said that plant breeding and biotechnology programmes
such as those run by the Rockefeller Foundation in East Africa should be
extended to West and Central Africa.
To increase production, they
emphasised the importance of developing low-cost agricultural machinery, such as
rice threshers, that are appropriate to farming conditions in
Delegates said that the success of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) varieties
bred from high-yielding Asian rice and African rice that thrives in harsh
conditions showed the benefit of conserving Africa's rice diversity in
Nguu Van Nguyen, secretary of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization's International Rice Commission, welcomes the resolutions but says
much effort will be needed to make Africa self-sufficient in rice production.
He emphasised the importance of developing irrigation systems to support
The Food and Agriculture Organization is also working with
the Rockefeller Foundation-funded African Rice Initiative to scale up
dissemination of NERICA seeds throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
9 August 2006
(Return to Contents)
1.13 Managing risk: genetics are key to rice yield, quality and risk
When selecting seed to plant,
farmers should consider what can go wrong during the growing season and think in
terms of managing risk, Rick
Cartwright told visitors to the Rice Research and Extension Center
here Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Cartwright, a plant pathologist, and other University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
scientists discussed research programs that impact the production, processing
and marketing of rice and soybeans.
"The most fundamental factor in
agriculture is good genetics," Cartwright said. "Genetics determine the risk
potential of a seed variety as well as yield and quality potential."
fields where red rice has become a stubborn weed problem, herbicide resistant
Clearfield varieties are a good choice, Cartwright said. If the sheath blight
fungus has found a home in a field, Rice Tec hybrids are among those rated as
more genetically resistant to damage.
Rice breeder Dr. James Gibbons and Cartwright said
Cybonnet should be planted more than it has been since seed became available in
2005, because it has good risk management potential as well as high yield and
Cybonnet was developed in the U of A Division of
Agriculture breeding program based at Stuttgart. Among Arkansas adapted
varieties, Cybonnet has the best genetic potential in two key areas of milling
yield and blast disease resistance, and it produces consistently high yields in
all Arkansas rice environments, Gibbons and Cartwright said.
another high yielding Arkansas variety and the most widely planted in the state,
is also a good choice for risk management, but it has weaknesses that increase
risk for some growers. Wells is superior to Cybonnet for sheath blight
tolerance, but Cybonnet is more resistant to the rice blast
Production practices are also part of the risk management
mindset, Cartwright said.
Farmers who have skimped on potash (potassium)
in their fertilizer to save money have exposed themselves to the risk of stem
rot, which weakens stems and can cause lodging, Cartwright said. Potash is
recommended for silt loam and sandy loam soils with low soil test levels for
potassium for several reasons, including resistance to stem rot.
variety performance tests by the Division of Agriculture provide an objective
measure of yield, quality and risk management potential under Arkansas
conditions. Variety trial results for rice, cotton, soybeans, small grains, corn
and grain sorghum are available online at ArkansasVarietyTesting.org or from
county offices of the Cooperative Extension Service.
11 August 2006
(Return to Contents)
tolerance to waterlogging and dryland salinity in
Improved tolerance to waterlogging and dryland
salinity has been achieved by introducing into the wheat genome all seven
chromosomes from sea barley grass.
The GRDC-supported research, conducted by the Co-operative Research Centre for Plant-based
Management of Dryland Salinity, has demonstrated wild species, such as sea
barley grass, can be crossed with wheat.
Project leader, Dr Tim
Colmer said it was a huge step forward and work is underway to see whether it
could lead to a new cereal in itself.
In the long term, Dr Colmer
hopes the research leads to the development of a high quality wheat variety that
can be grown on saline land.
"In Western Australia alone,
waterlogging and salinity adversely affects 1.8 million hectares of crops and
pastures," he said.
Contact: Dr Tim Colmer
August 10, 2006
(Return to Contents)
homeostasis research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher
Findings could also lead to
crops tolerant to cadmium contaminants in soil
micronutrients such as Iron and Zinc commonly limit plant growth and crop
yields. Dartmouth College Professor Mary
Lou Guerinot is conducting research to better understand the mechanisms of
micronutrient uptake, distribution and regulation.
are making it feasible to engineer nutrient-rich plants better able to grow in
soils now considered marginal and to increase crop biomass in soils now in
cultivation. Guerinot presented her findings today at the Annual Meeting of the
American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) in
the Hynes Convention Center, Boston.
Most people rely on plants for their
dietary source of micronutrients. Therefore, plants engineered to be better
sources of essential elements would offer humans improved nutrition. For
example, over three billion people worldwide suffer from Iron and/or Zinc
deficiencies. Food consumption studies suggest that doubling the Iron in rice
can increase the Iron intake of the poor by 50 percent. Rice is a staple food in
many of the countries with widespread Iron deficiencies in human
Guerinot's lab has previously identified the essential Iron
transporter responsible for Iron uptake from the soil. This Iron transporter is
IRT1. In addition to transporting iron, IRT1 can also transport Manganese, Zinc,
Cobalt and Cadmium. Thus, any attempts to increase Iron uptake via IRT1 must
consider the transport of unwanted substrates such as Cadmium.
Industrial, mining, and agricultural activities, particularly the
excessive use of phosphate fertilizers, have led to high levels of Cadmium
contamination at many locations worldwide. Utilizing DNA shuffling and
heterologous expression in yeast, Guerinot and her colleagues isolated alleles
of IRT1 that no longer facilitate the accumulation of Cadmium yet retain the
crucial ability to transport Iron. When the engineered IRT1 alleles are
expressed in plants that no longer express a wild type copy of IRT1, the
engineered allele allows these plants to take up iron and renders them resistant
to Cadmium. Transgenic seedlings have Cadmium levels similar to that of IRT1
loss of function plants, demonstrating that Cadmium transport through IRT1 has
been eliminated. Furthermore, these plants have twice as much Iron as wild type
plants when grown in the presence of Cadmium.
While the ability to
quantify the amount of particular metals present in various plant tissues has
proved very informative, Guerinot said she and her colleagues would also like to
be able to see where the metals are distributed within various plant organs.
"We have used X-ray fluorescence microtomography to determine, in vivo,
the spatial distribution of metals in Arabidopsis seed. Examination of various
mutants is shedding light on which transporters influence the distribution of
important nutrients such as Iron in the seed. Such information should aid the
development of nutrient-rich seed, beneficially affecting human nutrition and
health. This research should also lead to agronomic benefits such as increased
seedling vigor, higher crop yields and resistance to disease," Guerinot
Guerinot collaborated with researchers from the University of
Chicago and Purdue University on this research. This research has been supported
by the National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences Plant
Genome Research Program.
7 August 2006
(Return to Contents)
Overdominant quantitative trait loci for yield and fitness in
Yaniv Semel, Jonathan Nissenbaum, Naama Menda, Michael
Zinder, Uri Krieger, Noa Issman, Tzili Pleban, Zachary Lippman, Amit Gur, and
Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Edited by Susan R. Wessler, University of
Georgia, Athens, GA
Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is a major
genetic force that contributes to world food production. The genetic
basis of heterosis is not clear, and the importance of loci with
overdominant (ODO) effects is debated. One problem has been the use
of whole-genome segregating populations, where interactions often
mask the effects of individual loci. To assess the contribution of
ODO to heterosis in the absence of epistasis, we carried out
quantitative genetic and phenotypic analyses on a population of
tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) introgression lines (ILs), which
carry single marker-defined chromosome segments from the distantly
related wild species Solanum pennellii. The ILs revealed 841
quantitative trait loci (QTL) for 35 diverse traits measured in the
field on homozygous and heterozygous plants. ILs showing greater
reproductive fitness were characterized by the prevalence of ODO QTL,
which were virtually absent for the nonreproductive traits. ODO can
result from true ODO due to allelic interactions of a single gene
or from pseudoODO that involves linked loci with dominant
alleles in repulsion. The fact that we detected dominant and
recessive QTL for all phenotypic categories but ODO only for the
reproductive traits indicates that pseudoODO due to random linkage is
unlikely to explain heterosis in the ILs. Thus, we favor the true
ODO model involving a single functional Mendelian locus. We
propose that the alliance of ODO QTL with higher reproductive
fitness was selected for in evolution and was domesticated by man
to improve yields of crop plants.
Freely available online
through the PNAS open access option: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0604635103v1
Source: Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences of the United States
of America, via SeedQuest.com
23 August 2006
1.17 Breeding soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr] for
resistance to cyst nematodes (Heterodera glycines Ichinohe)
Worldwide, soybean seed is a major source of protein
for animal feed and oil for human consumption. It supplies approximately
65% protein meal and 25% of the edible oil (Golbitz, 2001). World soybean
production in 2002 was 185 million metric tons. Diseases have suppressed
soybean yield, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) especially continue to cause
significant yield losses. Recent estimates indicate losses nearly 9
million metric tons worldwide in 1998 and 7.6 million metric tons in the USA
(Wrather et al., 2003). SCN causes yield reductions by feeding on plant
nutrients, retarding root growth, and inhibiting Bradyrhizobium
Primarily, resistant cultivars reduce yield losses to SCN and
are environmentally friendly and economical. Development of productive
cultivars with SCN resistance is a major goal of several soybean breeding
programs. These efforts are providing cultivars that may yield up to 56%
more than susceptible cultivars in SCN infested fields especially in the
USA. Soybean growers in this country have increased their profits by 400
million dollars merely from growing cultivar Forrest resistant to SCN races 1
and 3. However, resistant germplasm can impose selection pressure favoring
the reproduction of more aggressive individuals in the nematode population,
rendering once useful germplasm no longer effective in reduction of soybean cyst
nematode population density.
More than 100 sources of resistance
are available in soybean (Arelli et al., 2000), however, current publicly
available cultivars in USA trace their resistance primarily to Plant
Introductions (PIs) 548402 (Peking) and/or 88788 (Diers and Arelli, 1999).
The SCN has adapted to both the sources of resistance. Recently, the
soybean cultivar Hartwig, resistance derived primarily from PI 437654, was
released. This source of resistance is being widely incorporated into
soybean cultivars because of its broad resistance to multiple nematode
populations. Breeding programs in China, Brazil, Argentina and Mid-Southern USA
are utilizing Hartwig for developing SCN resistant cultivars. Predominantly,
resistant cultivars in the Northern USA utilize PI 88788 as the source of
nematode resistance. But new nematode populations with virulence on Hartwig and
most other resistant sources in soybean have been recently found in USA.
We have identified genetically unrelated plant introductions using cluster
analysis and these include PIs 567516C, 438489B, 567286, 89772 and
567568A. Potentially some of them may have resistance genes different from
Peking, PI 88788 and PI 437654.
Our breeding procedures include advancing
the progenies through modified bulk, single seed/or pod descent (SSD) and/or
backcross methods. To minimize the number of years required for cultivar
development most often we use off-season nurseries in Costa Rica and Puerto
We identify nematode resistance plants in F4 or
F5 using both marker-assisted selection and greenhouse
bioassays. We have developed more reliable method of greenhouse bioassay
to confirm SCN resistance and it is being used (Arelli et al., 1991). A
recent publication has revised the methodology (Niblack et al, 2004).
Marker assisted selection of resistant plants includes simple sequence repeat
markers tagged to SCN resistance that are used in a PCR based protocol. We
routinely use Satt 309, Satt 632, Satt 168, and Satt 001 to track most important
resistance genes rhg1, Rhg4 and Rhg5. Seed from selected resistant plants are progeny tested in the F5 or
F6 for agronomic evaluation including reaction to most important
fungal pathogens. Uniform progenies with desired level of homozygosity are
bulked for yield evaluation that include preliminary, advanced and USDA Uniform
Regional Yield trials before these are released (Arelli et al., 2006).
conclusion, resistant cultivars reduce yield losses. We are characterizing new
sources of resistance and identifying new resistance genes. These will be
more effective for providing durable resistance and will not infringe existing
patents. Finally, effective management practices will extend the life of
resistant cultivars by slowing down the shifts in nematode
Arelli, P.R., K.W. Matson, and S.C.
Anand. 1991. A rapid method for inoculating soybean seedlings
with Heterodera glycines. Plant Disease 75:594-595.
P.R., D.A. Sleper, P. Yue, and J.A. Wilcox. 2000. Soybean
reaction to Races 1 and 2 of Heterodera glycines. Crop Science40:824-826.
Arelli, P.R., L.D. Young, and A. Mengistu.
2006. Registration of high yielding and multiple-disease-resistant soybean
germplasm JTN-5503. Crop Science (In press).
Diers, B.W. and P.R.
Arelli. 1999. Management of parasitic nematodes of soybean through
genetic resistance. P. 300-306. In H.E. Kauffman (ed.). Proc.
World Soybean Res. Conf., 6th Chicago, IL. 4-7 Aug. 1999.
Golbitz, P. 2001. Soya & oil seed Bluebook. (Soya-Tech, Inc., Bar Harbor, ME).
Niblack, T.L., P.R. Arelli, G.R. Noel,
C.H. Opperman, J., Orf, D.P. Schmitt, J.G. Shannon, and G.L. Tylka. 2004. A revised classification scheme for genetically diverse
populations of Heterodera glycines. J. Nematol.
Wrather, J. A., S.R. Koenning, and T.R. Anderson.
2003. Effect of diseases on soybean yields in the United States and
Ontario (1999-2002). Online. Plant Health Progress
Contributed by Prakash R.
USDA-ARS Mid South Area
Crop Genetics & Production Research
Jackson, TN (USA)
1.18 Plan to boost rice photosynthesis with inserted
Mike Shanahan, SciDev.Net
Scientists have announced
plans to radically boost rice yields, warning that unless production increases
millions of people could fall back into poverty.
Delegates who met at the
International Rice Research Institute in the
Philippines this month (17-21 July) said they hope to manipulate the crop's
genetics to enable it to grow faster and bigger.
Traditional methods of
increasing rice production such as crossing different varieties have
been pushed to the limits of what is scientifically possible. But now that
researchers have sequenced rice's entire genetic code, more advanced approaches
could become available.
Key to the strategy discussed at the workshop is
a difference in the way that rice and other plants convert sunlight and carbon
dioxide into sugar for growth a process called
Rice photosynthesis is less efficient than that of
some other plants such as maize that use an extra chemical process for capturing
The researchers say it should be possible to transfer
this process to rice by inserting genes from maize or from wild relatives of
rice that also use it.
The project is ambitious. The specialists who met
this month say it would take about four years to determine whether the technique
is feasible and another 10-15 years until the first improved varieties are
Related article: Chinese
scientists complete rice gene map
(Return to Contents)
1.19 GM maize protects chickens from deadly virus
researchers have genetically modified maize to create an edible vaccine against
Newcastle disease, a major killer of poultry in developing countries.
The scientists, who published their findings online in Transgenic
Research on 12 August, hope their approach can help small-scale poultry farmers
protect their flocks.
Vaccines against the disease that can be given to
poultry on food already exist, but are not usually available in the small
quantities required by single families or villages.
Guerrero-Andrade of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) in
Guanajuato and his colleagues inserted a gene from the Newcastle disease virus
into maize DNA.
Chickens that ate the genetically modified (GM) maize
produced antibodies against the virus. The maize provided a level of protection
against infection comparable to that of commercial vaccines.
disease is important and a big killer," says Frands Dolberg of the Network for
Smallholder Poultry Development, which works with partners in developing
countries to promote poultry farming as a way of improving livelihoods.
"There is a big problem in delivering the vaccine to the many millions
of poor poultry keepers around the world, and the GM maize could be a
possibility," he told SciDev.Net.
Dolberg says that its success would
depend on how accessible the GM maize was to poultry farmers.
points out that the poor, the landless and women the main groups that keep
poultry on a small scale in the South generally struggle to access new
full paper in Transgenic Research [220KB]
18 August 2006
(Return to Contents)
1.20 Gene discovery could lead to flood-resistant rice
Most rice does not tolerate being
Scientists have identified a gene that enables rice to
survive for up to two weeks underwater, raising the possibility of breeding
varieties that can withstand what would otherwise be damaging floods.
quarter of the world's rice grows in areas prone to flooding, which costs rice
farmers in South and South-East Asia more than US$1 billion a
Although rice thrives in standing water, most varieties die within
a week of being completely submerged. But others can tolerate being totally
submerged for up to two weeks.
The researchers, who published their
findings today (10 August) in Nature, studied the DNA of one such variety. They
found it has a gene that intolerant varieties lack.
When they introduced
the gene into a high-yielding rice variety grown widely in Asia, they found it
kept its high yield but could also tolerate being totally
David Mackill of the International Rice Research Institute in
the Philippines, and Pamela Ronald of the University of California in Davis,
United States, led the international team.
Mackill told SciDev.Net that
scientists would be able to crossbreed submergence-tolerant rice with varieties
that are already popular with farmers.
full paper in Nature
to related commentary article in Nature
Researchers develop flood-tolerant California
Submergence tolerance can be bred into any rice, offering
relief to poor rice farmers worldwide, UCR researcher says
Calif. – Rice grown anywhere in the world soon could be made completely
flood-tolerant because of new research by UC Riverside geneticists, done in
collaboration with scientists at UC Davis and the International Rice Research
Institute in the Philippines. By gradually introducing into California rice
"submergence tolerance," a property that enables rice to survive extreme flood
conditions, the researchers show how potentially any variety of rice could be
made to survive short-term floods that completely submerge the rice plant – a
result benefiting rice farmers worldwide.
The researchers are the first
to identify a small cluster of related genes responsible for providing a line of
Indian rice with the capacity to survive complete submergence for more than two
weeks. The researchers transferred this cluster of genes into California rice by
first cross-pollinating the Indian and California rice and then continuing the
cross breeding over several generations until all the Indian rice genes, except
the cluster of genes needed for submergence tolerance, were gradually replaced
with genes from the California rice. The result was California rice that can
withstand floods in which the rice plant is completely submerged.
results appear in this month's issue of The Plant Cell.
work, led by Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics at UCR, the
researchers evaluate two nearly genetically identical lines of California rice:
the original submergence intolerant line and the new submergence tolerant line.
A careful comparison of the two California rice lines showed that in the
submergence tolerant line the rice plants orchestrate a number of cellular
responses to submergence that are controlled by specific genes present in the
submergence gene cluster. The researchers report that this cluster, which
originated in the Indian rice and was bred into the California rice, is
responsible for changes in cell metabolism and growth while the plant is
"One of the genes in the submergence gene cluster makes rice
conserve the carbohydrate reserves in the plant leaves when the plant is
submerged, resulting in a controlled growth for the plant," said Bailey-Serres,
who is a member of UCR's Center for Plant
Cell Biology. "Rice plants that lack this particular gene, however, are not
able to conserve their carbohydrates. They end up with accelerated growth and
ultimately exhaust themselves."
Flooding of croplands is a frequent
natural disaster in many regions of the world, reducing crop productivity. While
rice, the primary food for more than 3 billion people, thrives in standing
water, it dies if it is completely submerged for more than four days. Water
covering the rice plant reduces the plant's oxygen and carbon dioxide supplies,
affecting photosynthesis and respiration. Submerged, the plants lack the gases
needed to produce sugar for cellular energy, resulting in death if submergence
persists beyond four days.
Bailey-Serres notes that access today to
information about the rice genome – all the genetic material in the chromosomes
of rice – has greatly accelerated progress in identifying specific genes that
confer specific traits. "Currently, the International Rice Research Institute is
actively crossing the submergence tolerant Indian rice with lines of rice that
are widely grown in southeast Asia in order to produce new lines of rice that
can grow in flood-prone areas," she said.
In the future, Bailey-Serres
and colleagues plan to work on developing crops that are resistant to multiple
stresses. "For example, we'd like to develop rice that is both submergence and
salt tolerant," she said, "given that many flood-prone areas are a mixture of
fresh and salt water."
Besides Bailey-Serres, Takeshi Fukao of UCR; and
Kenong Xu and Pamela C. Ronald of UC Davis collaborated on the study, which was
funded by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture and the United
States Agency for International Development. Fukao is the first author of the
Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside
22 August 2006
1.22 Selected articles from
Catalytic antibodies active in plants
Syngenta develops aphid-resistant soybeans
Tomatoes to protect against the plague
GM debate continues in EU
France: Seventeen outdoor field tests with transgenic organisms
Despite worldwide growth Europe has little transgenic corn
Contributed by Robert Derham
Checkbiotech and Access
University of Basel
5.01 Brazilian student at the
Botucatu campus of UNESP is looking for an opportunity to spend
some time with a research program in the USA
From: Carlos Alberto
I´m a Brasilian Doctorate student of UNESP FCA
Botucatu SP I´m working with breeding of castor bean , and we have a
program of sandwich students, where Brasilian students pass part of the
doctorate time working in a foreign institute to learn more about the culture he
is working with. I´d like to know more about your work with castor bean , and
know if you receive students there.
Our current program is breeding
castor bean for high productivity with high oil content, small height,
Fusarium and Amphobotrys resistance, and adaptation to mechanical
My intent is to be part of my doctorate work, continuing my
Thesis or not , learning with American researcher and working with then for some
months with an advisor.
I´ll have funding from Brasil. Our department
has funding for this, but we need to have an advisor in the other country, then
make a work plan, make some tests and ask for the funds but it´s almost sure
that we get it
Carlos Alberto Rauer Demant
Forwarded by Anne Marie Thro
MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS
Note: New announcements (listed first)
may include some program details, while repeat announcements will include only
basic information. Visit web sites for additional details.
10-12 October 2006. Advancing renewable energy: an
American rural renaissance. St. Louis, Missouri
development and rapid commercialization of renewable energy technologies is a
high national priority, and is central to President Bush's Advanced Energy
Initiative, which seeks to change the way we power our cars, homes and
businesses through alternative energy sources. As President Bush said in his
State of the Union Address, "Keeping America competitive requires affordable
energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is
often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this
addiction is through technology."
Accelerating the development and use of
alternative energy sources is not only a critical national security issue, but
is key to maintaining America's economic competitiveness, as well as a
tremendous opportunity for farmers, businesses, and rural communities across our
To explore these opportunities, we invite you to join us in St.
Louis, Missouri, on October 10-12, 2006, for Advancing Renewable Energy: An
American Rural Renaissance. Jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this conference will bring
together key stakeholders in biofuels, wind, and solar energy
-Identify major issues including partnership opportunities facing
decision makers both within government and in the private sector.
critical pathways to rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies; identify
bottlenecks; and make policy recommendations for resolving these
-Examine policy incentives such as tax credits, loan guarantees,
expedited approval processes, and other measures to increase certainty, reduce
risk, and accelerate the deployment of new energy sources.
understanding of the opportunities and issues involved in the integration of
distributed energy production into legacy systems.
DOE and USDA lead the
federal effort on research, development, and commercialization of new energy
sources. Senior policy and administrative personnel of both agencies will
participate in the conference, as will leaders from the private sector,
research, and business communities.
Advancing Renewable Energy presents a
unique opportunity to meet with the leaders of the renewable energy sector at a
critical moment of its development. Participants will include federal, state,
and local officials; utility and energy company executives; investors; farmers;
as well as members from non-governmental organizations.
We are confident that
you will find Advancing Renewable Energy timely, useful, and provocative. We
hope you are able to attend and participate.
For more information and to
register for the conference, visit: http://www.AdvancingRenewableEnergy.com.
by Anne Marie Thro
November 2006 International symposium on integrating new technologies for
striga control: towards ending the witch-hunt, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Sponsored by International Sorghum and Millet Collaborative Research Support
Program (INTSORMIL), Purdue University and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural
Contact: Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University, USA firstname.lastname@example.org)
parasitic weed Striga (witchweed) is the scourge of agriculture in much of
Africa, parts of Asia, and even in the United States. Striga attacks the major
cereal grains and legumes in sub-Saharan Africa, on average halving the already
very low yields of subsistence farmers. The Striga problem has been a major
reason why crop productivity has remained at or below subsistence, leaving poor
farmers with no way out of a situation that is only getting worse.
many decades, research approaches on Striga targeted eradication, suppression,
or breeding for host crops that support fewer emerged Striga plants. Decades of
such efforts have led to few successes. More recently, basic research efforts
that have focused on the more fundamental biology of the parasite and its
association with its hosts have led to a far better understanding of the enemy.
That understanding, in turn, led to series of successes in the field that are
being expanded slowly throughout Africa.
Will these technologies be
sustainable or will they fail? Highly successful weeds such as Striga have a
tendency to evolve resistance to all types of control. Ways to circumvent these
pitfalls need to be crafted. As no single method is likely to be perfect, it is
clear that proven methods must be integrated with each other. However,
integration is often an anathema to basic scientists who are taught to alter
single variables at a time in their experiments. That is why we are bringing
together key leaders in development of the new knowledge based control
strategies-both those that have been successfully deployed in the field and
those currently under development that show great promise. Bringing these
experts together will allow discussion of strategies that can be integrated with
each other to develop more durable and sustainable methods that will be useful
for decades to come.
For major speakers, we have invited leaders in the
field who have been supplying the basic biology, genetics, biochemistry, and
molecular information that have offered insights and generated technologies for
dealing with Striga.
Other scientists (molecular biologists, breeders,
agronomists, and social scientists) who have been key in the fight against
Striga are also invited to engage in structured panel discussions. Together with
facilitators who are experts at stimulating people to integrate knowledge into
practice, we hope this meeting will provide the forum for crafting new and
creative suggestions for a series of integrated management packages that can
render effective control of Striga.
The symposium is open to all
scientists dealing with Striga who want to learn and share knowledge. Invited
speakers will present lectures and lead discussions. All other participants are
encouraged to present posters of their most recent findings and observations.
See Forthcoming Meetings for contact details.'
Contributed by Gebisa
13-17 November 2006.
Cereal science and technology for feeding ten billion people: genomics era
and beyond, Lleida, Spain. www.eucarpia.com or
23-27 March 2007. 2nd
International Conference on Plant Molecular Breeding (ICPMB), Sanya, Hainan,
* 2006-2008. Plant Breeding Academy, University of California, Davis.
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
This two-year 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 the course.
Fall 2006 and runs through Summer 2008 (actual dates to be
For more information: (530) 754-7333, email email@example.com, http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/Events/Plant_Breeding_Academy.htm
10-14 September 2006. First Symposium on Sunflower Industrial Uses. Udine
University, Udine Province, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy.
by the International Sunflower Association (ISA)
* 11-15 September
2006. XXII International EUCARPIA Symposium - Section Ornamentals: Breeding
for Beauty, San Remo (Italy). 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 (in the scenic Blue Ridge
Contact: Dr. Gerald Holmes, Department of Plant Pathology,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7616, 919-515-9779 (email@example.com)
* 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. Details of
the ICGI 2006 Research Conference will be posted on the ICGI website (http://icgi.tamu.edu ) as they
* 9-13 October 2006. Second International Rice
Congress 2006 (IRC2006). New Delhi, India. Organized jointly by the
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR), the theme of this congress is "Science, technology, and trade
for peace and prosperity". It comprises four major events: the 26th
International Rice Research Conference (including e.g. a session on 'genetics
and genomics' and workshops on hybrid rice and on genetically modified rice and
biosafety issues); the 2nd International Rice Commerce Conference; the 2nd
International Rice Technology and Cultural Exhibition; and the 2nd International
Ministers' Round Table Meeting. See http://www.icar.org.in/irc2006/ or
contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* 11-14 October 2006
Plant Genomics European Meetings, Venice, Italy. http://www.distagenomics.unibo.it/plantgems/
* 14 - 18
October 2006. The 6th New Crops Symposium: Creating Markets for Economic
Development of New Crops and New Uses, University Center for New Crops and
Plant Products,The Hilton Gaslamp Quarter Hotel, San Diego, CA
Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops and Purdue www.aaic.org or www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop
* 9-12 November
2006. 7th Australasian Plant Virology Workshop. Rottnest Island, Perth,
For further information contact: Prof Mike Jones, Murdoch
University, Perth email@example.com
* 4-22 November 2006.
International training program on plant genetic resources and seeds:
Policies, conservation and use, Karaj, Iran. For further information on the
program please visit the websites of ICARDA: www.icarda.org (see: Seed Systems Support),
Wageningen International: www.wi.wur.nl
(see: international education at Wageningen UR, courses), or the Generation
Challenge Program: www.generationcp.org (see: capacity
building corner, training courses
* 1-5 December 2006: The First
International Meeting on Cassava Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, to be
held in Brasilia, Brazil. For more details, email Dr. Nagib Nassar of the
University of Brasilia at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the meeting website at http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/meeting/.
8-9 February 2007. A national workshop on “Sustaining plant
breeding as a vital national capacity for the future of U.S. agriculture,”
Raleigh, NC. Co-organized by CSREES, USDA; and by the Departments of Crop
Science and Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University. http://www.plantbreedingworkshop.ncsu.edu/
24-28 June 2007. The 9th International Pollination Symposium on
Plant-Pollinator RelationshipsDiversity in Action. Scheman Center, Iowa
State University, Ames, Iowa. The Conference webpage can be viewed at: http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/plantbee/home.html
* 24-28 July 2007. The 9th International Pollination Symposium,
Iowa State University (Note new dates, and see additional details in
New Announcements, above). The official theme is: "Host-Pollinator
Biology Relationships - Diversity in Action." For more information please visit http://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/plantbee/home.html
* 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.
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 year.
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
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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