PLANT BREEDING NEWS

EDITION 173

30 November 2006

An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant Breeding
Sponsored by FAO and Cornell University

Clair H. Hershey, Editor
chh23@cornell.edu

Archived issues available at: FAO Plant Breeding Newsletter.

CONTENTS

1.  NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES
1.01  Sustainable food for the world: rethinking policy, technology and the environment
1.02  FAO says “world hunger increasing"
1.03  ASEAN endorses major initiatives to boost regional rice production
1.04  American Association for the Advancement of Science honors University of Arkansas rice breeder Karen Kuenzel Moldenhauer
1.05  Innovative partnership under University of Saskatchewan leadership creates oat variety breakthrough
1.06  ICRISAT and partners launch initiative on open access information on agricultural research
1.07  Progress over 20 years of sunflower breeding in central Argentina
1.08  Enabling Australian wheat breeding programs to develop varieties suited to specific agro-ecological zones
1.09  Bayer’s hybrid rice launched in Vietnam
1.10  Dupont, CIMMYT collaborate on African maize
1.11  PhilRice cited as potential APEC & ASEAN training center for genetic resources, agri biotech, and intellectual property rights
1.12  Malaysia's Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004 to be enforced in 2007
1.13  The Turkish seed legislation is now in the hand of an autonomous body
1.14  Iowa State University and USDA/ARS researchers study soybean's family tree
1.15  Genebanks in the CGIAR: bolstering world food security
1.16  Remarkable variation in maize genome structure inferred from haplotype diversity at the bz locus
1.17  Bees and birds increase global production of food crops
1.18  Got cotton? Texas researchers' discovery could yield protein to feed millions
1.19  Potatoes developed for new markets
1.20  Making wheat flour more nutritious
1.21  Perennial wheat research looks at options for producers
1.22  Pioneer developing drought-tolerant corn
1.23  Canola acquires weevil resistance trait from yellow mustard
1.24  Availability of the initial 4X genome sequence for sorghum inbred line Tx623.
1.25  Soybean genetic marker technology speeds yield enhancement
1.26  First genetic map of taro published
1.27  Engineering broad root-knot resistance in transgenic plants by RNAi silencing of a conserved and essential root-knot nematode parasitism gene
1.28  Plant studies reveal how, where seeds store iron - Findings address worldwide iron deficiency and malnutrition
1.29  New gene tool to diagnose plant disease
1.30  New research on plant steroids improves plant development
1.31  Improved resistance to controlled deterioration in transgenic seeds
1.32  Generation Challenge Program (GCP) Latest News Alerts

2.  PUBLICATIONS
2.01  IFPRI discussion paper: Applied economics literature about the impact of genetically engineered crop varieties in developing economies
2.02  Workshop Draft Report – Strategies to strengthen sustainable use of plant genetic resources in Ghana
2.03  The promises and challenges of biofuels for the poor in developing countries
2.04  Plant Mutation Reports ---call for papers

3.  WEB RESOURCES
3.01  Newsletter on organic seed and plant breeding

4  REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION
4.01  Looking for a US commercial lab to do DNA fingerprinting

5  GRADUATE PROGRAMS AND POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS
5.01  Cornell Plant Breeding invites applications for admission to our Ph.D. program
5.02  Chaudhary Charan Singh University (India) Seeks Candidates for PhD and Post-doctoral Work
5.03  Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Announcement (1): Rice research
5.04  Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Announcement (2): Rice research
5.05  Professor/Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer of Applied Biotechnology: African Centre for Crop Improvement

6  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

7  EDITOR'S NOTES

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1.  NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES

1.01  Sustainable food for the world: rethinking policy, technology and the environment

Urbana, Illinois
by Bob Sampson
Genetically modified crops and new information technologies will be central to meeting the food demands of a rapidly growing world population sustainably, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist in a recent article in the Harvard International Review.

"Humanity has made big strides in feeding a rapidly growing population. However, it is unacceptable to have 800 million hungry people in the world," said Gerald Nelson, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

The complete article, "Sustainable Food for the World: Rethinking Policy, Technology and the Environment," is in the Harvard International Review online edition and can be read at (http://hir.harvard.edu/).

Improvements in agricultural technology are a critical part of a positive future for world food, Nelson wrote.

"GM crops will be part of the technology improvements, but other kinds of technological change are needed as well," he said. "Applications of information technology to agriculture have the promise of encouraging more complex and environmentally friendly production practices."

GM crops, particularly, corn, soybeans, and cotton, continue to gain acceptance in the market because they increase farm income, Nelson noted.

"The way they are grown is usually more environmentally friendly than the practices they replace," he said. "Second and third generation GM crops will increase the set of improved characteristics, adding drought tolerance, for example.

"There will also be those with moral or ethical objections to genetic modification, but over time, their numbers will likely decline as benefits from individual GM crops become more widespread and well known. Experts have found no food-health problems with commercial GM crops currently in use and only minor environmental issues, although the potential for pest resistance is worrying."

Nelson added that the controversies over GM crops have had a significant benefit.

"Our regulatory systems have been challenged to improve and become more transparent," he said.

A combination of global positioning systems, precision agriculture, automated farm implements and vastly improved data collection and analysis may make it possible in the next 50 years for a farmer to grow 20 or 30 different crops--instead of just two or three--that mature at different times and require different applications and seasons.

"This sounds like science fiction, but the technology pieces are in place, and it is only a matter of implementation, a process that could take anywhere from 10 to 30 years, depending on the incentives provided by the marketplace and the policy environment," he said.

More environmentally friendly pesticides and management practices have reduced the food-safety benefits enjoyed by organic products in past decades.

"An organic diet today doesn't provide the same food-safety benefits," he said.

Plus, he noted the USDA's decision to create an official definition of organic food and a federally sanctioned label has had "unexpected and far-reaching consequences for the organic industry."

The result, he said, has been the "Wal-martization of organic food, as that giant corporation and others have recognized a valuable market opportunity."

Nelson emphasized that technology will be vital to meeting future world food demands.

"The genetics and production practice improvements that involve more knowledge-intensive inputs, including organic practices, will need to be location-specific," he said. "Citizens must demand that their governments allow the private sector to operate profitably while providing a regulatory environment that encourages sustainability, safety, and equality."

Source: SeedQuest.com
17 November 2006

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1.02  FAO says “world hunger increasing"

There are more hungry people in the developing world today than in 1996. "Far from decreasing, the number of hungry people in the world is currently increasing - at the rate of four million a year," said Food and Agriculture Director-General Jacques Diouf during the launch of the annual FAO report "The State of Food Insecurity in the World".

Diouf reminded the audience in Rome that despite a pledge made by leaders of 185 countries during the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome to reduce the number of undernourished people by half, the situation remains "unacceptable and intolerable".

The FAO report recommended ways to solve the problem of world hunger. These include focusing programs and investments on "hotspots" of poverty and undernourishment; enhancing the productivity of smallholder agriculture; creating the right conditions for private investment, including transparency and good governance; making world trade work for the poor, with safety nets put in place for vulnerable groups; and a rapid increase in the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7 percent of GDP.

See FAO's release at http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000433/index.html

From CropBiotech Update 3 November 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.03  ASEAN endorses major initiatives to boost regional rice production

Rice production in Southeast Asia has received a major boost with the endorsement of 3 new strategies by ASEAN

Singapore -- Rice production in Southeast Asia – arguably the region’s most important industry – has received a major boost with the endorsement of three new strategies by the Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Implemented and coordinated by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the new measures are aimed at three major challenges facing rice production in ASEAN:

1. The environment. ASEAN has endorsed the development of a series of environmental indicators for rice production in the region focused on production, biodiversity, pollution, land degradation, and water.

2. Getting the latest knowledge and information to rice farmers. ASEAN has endorsed the further development of the Rice Knowledge Bank (RKB) for rice farmers (www.knowledgebank.irri.org/), Asia’s first digital extension service in agriculture. The RKB is a repository of rice information contributing to the development of localized and integrated Web sites with credible, reliable, and demand-driven information for rice farmers.

3. Developing the next generation of rice farmers and scientists. Few young people in Asia today are interested in rice production, despite its obvious importance to the region, so ASEAN has endorsed the development of rice camps for young Asians to encourage them to consider a career in rice.

The decision to endorse the three new activities was made at the 28th meeting of the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Singapore on 16 November 2006. In a joint press statement issued at the end of the annual meeting, the AMAF endorsed:

“The further development of a series of environmental indicators for ASEAN rice production as presented as a joint activity with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The ministers also endorsed the continued development of a digital Rice Knowledge Bank for ASEAN rice farmers, and the establishment of rice camps at IRRI to educate the young people of ASEAN on the importance of rice farming and rice research.”

Full details of the joint press statement of the 28th AMAF meeting can be viewed at www.aseansec.org/18812.htm . AMAF includes two of the world’s biggest rice exporters, Thailand and Vietnam, which in 2003-05 produced 160.7 million tons of rice out of a world total of 601.4 million tons.

“To have ASEAN member countries endorse these very important activities at the ministerial level is obviously a crucial step forward, and we are very grateful for such high-level political support,” Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI’s director general, said. “With major Asian rice producers such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar now officially part of these activities, we hope to reach out to other countries in Asia – especially China and India – for their support also.”

Dr. Zeigler said having all the ASEAN nations supporting the Rice Knowledge Bank makes it one of the most important tools for Asian agriculture now available on the Internet. “ASEAN is also now a world leader in the development of environmental indicators for agriculture, as this level of ministerial support has not been achieved anywhere else.”

Contact: Duncan Macintosh
d.macintosh@cgiar.org
International Rice Research Institute

Source: EurekAlert.org
28 November 2006

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1.04  American Association for the Advancement of Science honors University of Arkansas rice breeder Karen Kuenzel Moldenhauer

Fayetteville, Arkansas
The American Association for the Advancement of Science announced Thursday that it has awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow to University of Arkansas (U of A) rice breeder Karen Kuenzel Moldenhauer.

Moldenhauer, who holds the university's Rice Industry Chair for Variety Development, is based at the Rice Research and Extension Center (RREC) near Stuttgart, which is a unit of the U of A System's Division of Agriculture.

The rice breeding program has developed 19 improved varieties since 1982, when Moldenhauer, also a professor in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at UA, Fayetteville, joined the faculty as leader of the program.

Moldenhauer was selected as a fellow in the AAAS section on agriculture, food and renewable resources. Her role in the team effort to improve the genetic potential of rice varieties for yield, quality, diseases resistance and other traits was cited as a major factor in the sustainability of rice production in Arkansas and other states. Arkansas farmers produce about half of the rice grown in the United States.

Moldenhauer has a Ph.D. degree in plant breeding from Iowa State University.

Source: SeedQuest.com
27 November 2006

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1.05  Innovative partnership under University of Saskatchewan leadership creates oat variety breakthrough

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Livestock producers will soon have access to a new variety of oat with a nutritional profile similar to barley, thanks to an innovative partnership among producers, the provincial government, and the University of Saskatchewan.

"This oat variety is the first designed to combine a more digestible hull with a higher fat content," said plant sciences professor Brian Rossnagel, an oat and barley breeder at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Crop Development Centre (CDC).

"This is a significant development for the cattle feed and oat industries."

While oat is generally cheaper to grow and has higher yield potential, it packs less nutritional punch than barley because it has more hard-to-digest hull relative to kernel (or groat). The new variety, CDC SO-I, boasts a higher-fat groat and a more digestible hull. Its registration was recently approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Now that it has been registered, CDC SO-I will go to FarmPure Seeds Inc. of Regina to produce Pedigreed seed. Commercial planting of the new variety should begin by 2009.

"This is a superb example of technology transfer, where the university, farmers, and the government have worked together to bring a really innovative variety to market," said Trenton Baisley, president of Super Oats Canada Ltd. and CEO of FarmPure Seeds.

The name of the new variety, CDC SO-I, (CDC Super Oats, variety number one) is derived from its unique genesis. The project began in 1999 as an idea at the CDC to develop better feed oat by "fast tracking" the research cycle. Rather than developing field-ready varieties for animal testing, CDC plant breeders produced prototype varieties with the desired nutritional traits.

These prototype varieties would normally need more work to bring to commercialization. Instead, collaborators at the U of S department of animal and poultry science and the Prairie Feed Resource Centre (now the Feeds Innovation Institute (FII)) conducted feed tests on livestock with the prototypes to see if the plant breeders were on the right track.

"Doing the feed testing and variety development work simultaneously allowed the research team to determine if the prototype had promise early in the process," said Scott Wright, FII executive director at the U of S department of animal and poultry science. "This helped bring CDC SO-I to market many years earlier than the traditional route."

Funding totaling $210,000 over six years was provided through Super Oats Canada, a producer-researcher consortium created in 1999. Later, the Saskatchewan government, through its Agriculture Development Fund, was inspired to join the CDC SO-I project with matching funds totaling $207,000.

"Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food and the Crop Development Centre have a long history of working together," Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Wartman said. "The success of this project highlights the benefits of drawing on additional resources and direction from industry and other university departments."

Super Oats Canada has committed to continued funding to the CDC for improved oat varieties of this type both for the domestic market and to strengthen the position of Canada's farmers in the international arena.

"We export 90 per cent of the feeds produced in Saskatchewan," Wright said. "There are huge opportunities to create more value adding, to support and build the local feed industry, and position Saskatchewan as a world leader."

Source: SeedQuest.com
8 November 2006

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1.06  ICRISAT and partners launch initiative on open access information on agricultural research

Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, has launched an initiative to promote open access information sources in agricultural sciences and technology in India.

The initiative was launched at the First AGRIS workshop on open access in agricultural sciences and technology: Indian initiatives organized at ICRISAT headquarters at Patancheru on 6 and 7 November.

The workshop brought together library and documentation specialists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes, state agricultural research universities. There were also representatives from specialized institutions such as the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) at Bangalore, and the National Informatics Center (NIC).

Launching the first phase, the participants of the workshop decided to suggest the establishment of the two pilot open access information repositories in the agricultural domain within the first year. One would be in Delhi with support from ICAR, and the other in Hyderabad with support from ICRISAT and MANAGE.

According to Dr Dyno Keatinge, Deputy Director General of ICRISAT, speaking on behalf of Director General William Dar, the new initiative will create a new platform for information sharing on agricultural research in India.

Dr P M Bhargava, Vice Chair of Indian National Knowledge Commission, participated in the workshop, and said that the technology and application can take agricultural information sharing into a new paradigm.

Though open access documentation systems have been popular in many other areas of science communication in India, it is not being used in agricultural research documentation. The initiative has been launched to bridge this gap. It will also implement lessons learnt from existing global open access systems such as AGRIS, the international information system for the agricultural sciences and technology, initiated by FAO.

The AGRIS Secretariat in Rome has taken up several new initiatives in the last few years in face of the exponential growth in available information on agricultural research. Development of new metadata (information that describes how, when and by whom data has been collected and formatted) standards to share information coupled with open source software now in use can ensure open access for users worldwide.

The new open access agriculture information will enable agricultural scientists to obtain information through the Internet that are more searchable, more value added information such as who is the writer, citation and source credibility.

Source: SeedQuest.com
8 November 2006

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1.07  Progress over 20 years of sunflower breeding in central Argentina

A study that analyzed 20 years of research data showed that the oil yield of commercial sunflowers in central Argentina has been continuous. From 1983 to 2005, there was a genetic gain of 11.9 kg per hectare per year, for oil yield. This increase was attributed to plant breeding activities that produced varieties with biotic stress resistance and yielding ability in favorable environments. Sunflower production in Argentina started in the 1930s with open-pollinated varieties, then with hybrids in the early 1970s.

The study, conducted by Abelardo de la Vega and colleagues, noted a slowdown in the progress of yield improvement in the last ten years, from 1995–2005. However, they have attributed this to breeding activities which focused on grain-oil concentration during that period. The researchers have determined that sunflower germplasm pools still have substantial genetic variability that can be exploited to sustain yield improvement until 2010.

Abstract of the report with links to the full article for subscribers: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2006.05.012.
Field Crops Research
Volume 100, Issue 1 , 4 January 2007, Pages 61-72

Abelardo J. de la Vega (a), Ian H. DeLacy (b), and Scott C. Chapman (c)
(a) Advanta Semillas S.A.I.C., Ruta Nac. 33 Km 636, C.C. 559, 2600 Venado Tuerto, Argentina
(b) School of Land and Food Sciences and A.C.P.F.G., The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia
(c) CSIRO Plant Industry, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Rd., St. Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia


Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com
24 November 2006

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1.08  Enabling Australian wheat breeding programs to develop varieties suited to specific agro-ecological zones

Australia
Segmenting Australia’s wheatbelt into classification regions enables breeding programs to develop varieties suited to specific agro-ecological zones.

Addressing the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) supported growers’ day at the Australian Cereal Chemistry Conference, Richard Williams of Curtin University said Australia’s dynamic wheat breeding industry was still changing and he proposed further changes to its current classification zones.

Completing his PhD, he is testing whether Australia’s wheatbelt could be divided into zones that reduced environmental variance more than the existing seven classification zones.

His research has been funded by Australian Wheat Board (International) Ltd and all Australian wheat breeding programs contributed data.

Mr Williams said variety breeding had changed due to target regions expanding, a greater diversity of germplasm being used and rationalisation of testing regimes, which could potentially increase quality variability.

He compared the group of current classification zones to divisions of the wheatbelt based on sowing recommendations, agro ecological data, annual rainfall, seasonal climatic profiles, grain filling maximum temperatures and latitude.

A conclusion is that Australia’s wheat variety classification system could benefit from focusing its boundaries on such environmental divisions of the wheatbelt.

He believes that such divisions could offer improved quality consistency, an important feature of being competitive in the international marketplace.

In addition, the best ranked divisions comprised less than seven zones, creating potential efficiencies in the new variety classification process.

Mr Williams believes this would save costs for plant breeding companies and increase benefits for growers.
 
The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading

Source: Source: GRDC's The Crop Doctor via SeedQuest.com
22 November 2006

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1.09  Bayer’s hybrid rice launched in Vietnam

RBayer CropScience launched its hybrid rice Arize B-TE1 in Can Tho, located in the Mekong Delta region. The event made Bayer the first company to introduce hybrid rice seeds in Vietnam. The hybrid rice was touted to have higher yield than the best inbred under similar conditions. In addition, it also claims to have superior grain, cooking, and taste qualities.

The introduction of Arize in Vietnam is a move by Bayer to expand its rice business. Bayer is already marketing hybrid rice in India and the Philippines, but it aims to expand its market in 10 countries in 10 years.

For the complete press release:
http://www.bayercropscience.com/bayer/cropscience/cscms.nsf/id/EN_NR20060928?open&ccm=400.

Source: CropBiotech Update 20 October 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.10  Dupont, CIMMYT collaborate on African maize

A public-private partnership between Dupont and the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) has been forged to provide research, product development and technical support collaboration on maize for Africa. Initial projects will be on maize nitrogen utilization to increase and stabilize maize yields while future research will focus on drought tolerance, Striga tolerance and protein enhancement.

"Production agriculture improvements are the first steps to solving economic and health problems in Africa," said Masa Iwanaga, CIMMYT director general. "With the right products for the diverse African growing environments, there is enormous potential to turn the existing situation around."

For more of the collaborative project, visit http://pioneer.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=193

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.11  PhilRice cited as potential APEC & ASEAN training center for genetic resources, agri biotech, and intellectual property rights

The Philippines
PhilRice, The Philippine Rice Research Institute, has the capability to become the APEC and ASEAN training center for genetic resources, agricultural biotechnology and intellectual property rights (IPR), a representative from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said following a visit to the Institute together with other delegates of the 10th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Agricultural Technical Working Group (ATWG) Research, Development and Extension on Agricultural Biotechnology (RDEAB).

The delegates came to the Philippines earlier this month to attend a weeklong workshop on "Global Status and Regulations of Agricultural Biotechnologies and Opportunities for Technical Cooperation", which was held in Manila.
The workshop tackled emerging issues on agricultural biotechnology in the Asia Pacific region whereby representatives of some member-economies presented agricultural developments and situations in their countries.

The second part of the workshop was a two-day capability building session exclusively handled by PhilRice. The first day was a visit of the delegates to PhilRice followed by workshop hands-on and discussion on genetic resources, agricultural biotechnology, intellectual property rights, and prior art on the second day.

Atty. Ronilo A. Beronio, Deputy Executive Director of PhilRice and Director of its Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO), said the capability building session tackled issues on genetics resources, agricultural biotechnology, and IPR and how these influence the conduct of biotechnology product commercialization and research and development activities.

The visit provided the delegates an opportunity to see how PhilRice is actually handling these issues. According to Beronio, "PhilRice is being recognized for its ability to deal with these issues at the public institution level".

During the visit, PhilRice researchers introduced the Institute's research activities. Dr. Gabriel Romero, a rice geneticist, shared how PhilRice maintains its genetic resources. He said the collection is carefully maintained to provide rice genetic needs in the future. The genebank can store seeds up to 100 years.

PhilRice Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division chief Dr. Antonio Alfonso presented PhilRice's initiatives in rice biotechnology. He told the delegates that PhilRice's strong capability in rice biotechnology was acquired through generous support from the government and several international donors.

PhilRice's active participation in the Golden Rice Network and Pro-Vitamin Rice Consortium, he said, illustrates the complexity of IP-related concerns surrounding a given technology and highlights the potential public benefits from a biotechnological breakthrough.

While radical developments in agricultural biotechnology take place, the country also needs to provide adequate and effective protection and management of its IP. Ms. Jane Payumo, PhilRice's Intellectual Property Management Office shared PhilRice's experiences in building its capacity on IPR management and other related developments, its IP rights portfolio and its management thrusts.

Mr. Jerry Serapion, Senior Science Research Specialist taught the delegates how to use the Internet to access patent documents and technology information from around the world. The technique allows researchers in effectively dealing with freedom to operate issues attached to borrowed technology.

The APEC-AWTG-RDEAB Workshop was participated in by delegates from Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, People's Republic of China, Peru, Thailand, The Russian Federation and Vietnam.

The workshop aimed to provide a forum that would facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge among countries, formation of concerted efforts and forging commitments in building capacities and resource sharing of APEC economies on emerging research, extension and development issues and technologies in agricultural biotechnology.

Source: SeedQuest.com
28 November 2006

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1.12  Malaysia's Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004 to be enforced in 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia sees the introduction of new varieties of plants as an important component in commercial agriculture.

This is not only in terms of maintaining productivity and competitiveness but also in meeting the ever changing demand of fickle-minded consumers, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“Breeding of new varieties of plants requires substantial investment in terms of time, skills, labour, material resources and capital,” he said.

“To encourage such investment, it is pertinent to provide exclusive rights to plant breeders to enable them to recover their investment and to reap the benefits of their innovative skill and creativity.

“This approach is in consonance with the National Agriculture Policy (1998-2010), as good quality planting materials are recognised as pre-requisites for the sustenance of productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector.”

Muhyiddin said this in a speech read out by his deputy Datuk Mah Siew Keong for the opening of the 7th Asian Regional Technical Meeting for Plant Variety Protection here yesterday.

The minister said that Malaysia, being a signatory to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, is obliged to provide intellectual property rights protection for new varieties of plants – either by a patent or by an effective sui generis (class of its own), or a combination of both.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia had fulfilled its international obligation by enacting the Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004.

The Act will be enforced from next year.

He said the rights of breeders of new plant varieties would be protected, and that the Act would play an important role in the transformation of Malaysian agriculture.

“It is envisaged that plant breeders in the country will be encouraged to produce more superior varieties, while local farming communities can also have greater access to more superior varieties from abroad,” he added.

“The Act will also provide recognition to, and protection of contribution made by, farmers, local communities and indigenous people towards the creation of new plant varieties.

“It will encourage investment in the development of the breeding of new plant varieties in both the public and private sectors.”

He said the main provisions of the Act were based largely on the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties model, with reference to the Convention of Biological Diversity and existing intellectual property rights systems in Japan, Australia, India and Thailand.
Source: The Star via SeedQuest.com
14 November 2006

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1.13  The Turkish seed legislation is now in the hand of an autonomous body

Turkey has a specific ecological advantage in seed production. For example, maize seed can be dried to below 14% moisture content in the field, which facilitates healthy and cheaper seed production. All major EU maize seed companies produce seeds in Turkey and export to their European partners. Similar to this fact, the Turkish seed sector has a lot of advantage in European and CWANA (Central and Western Asia - North Africa) seed market. Such a blooming future of seed business was in need of more flexible legislation. Actually Turkish government did put a lot off services into the privatization list and seed issues were one of them. Seed law with its 40 years of services has been changed dramatically. Now, four general directorates are leaving their responsibilities to an autonomous body: the TURKISH SEED ASSOTIATION. The new Turkish seed law (passed 31 October 2006) might be a promising example for seed legislation in transition countries, because the union is composed completely by non governmental SUB association like seed producers, seed multiplier, seedling companies, plant breeders, nurseries etc. Its application may take more or less one year.

Contributed by Nazimi Acikgoz
agbiyotek@mail.ege.edu.tr (a monthly Turkish agro biotechnology newsletter)

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1.14  Iowa State University and USDA/ARS researchers study soybean's family tree

Ames, Iowa
A group of U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service researchers in Iowa State University's agronomy department are sequencing the soybean genome to discover the similarities and differences with its relatives in the legume family.

Working in collaboration with the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, Randy Shoemaker, Steven Cannon and their colleagues hope comparisons of the DNA in related plants can help researchers understand how agronomic traits evolved and, in turn, aid plant breeders in creating improved crop varieties.

"This information will be especially useful in helping plant breeders target oil and protein quality, disease resistance and other valuable traits," Cannon said. "This information can speed up the entire breeding process. For example, breeders could evaluate seedlings rather than waiting for the trait to be visible in mature plants."

Studies of the all the DNA in a plant, known as the genome, are underway in several species, including another ISU project focusing on the corn genome.

This year the Joint Genome Institute announced soybean genome sequencing. As part of this effort, Cannon and the USDA-ARS research group at Iowa State will work with others at many institutions to assemble and make sense of this sequence.

Including soybean, there are three species in the legume family with genome sequencing projects. Research programs to sequence the legumes Medicago truncatula (closely related to alfalfa) and Lotus japonicus have been underway for some time at other institutions.

Cannon and colleagues working on these two sequencing projects recently published a paper comparing the genomes in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. One of the main conclusions, according to Cannon, is that the species have much in common.

"Although these species have been separated for about 40 million years, very long stretches of the chromosomes directly correspond with one another," Cannon said. "This will help researchers transfer knowledge about important traits between these and other legume species."

Of special interest to the team is uncovering how soybeans express traits that are beneficial to human health and how the plants fix nitrogen, which is used for producing protein and other bio-molecules.

"This information will be very helpful in better understanding biochemical pathways that produce health-promoting compounds such as isoflavonoids and other beneficial compounds," Cannon said.

The genome sequence also will help determine what genes are helpful in creating resistance to common diseases such as Phytophthora (stem rot) and Asian soybean rust.

Source: SeedQuest.com
13 November 2006

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1.15  Genebanks in the CGIAR: bolstering world food security

When the CGIAR celebrated World Food Day last month, it drew attention to the vital role of genebanks, announcing World Bank approval of a US$10 million grant in support of this work.

More than 600,000 plant samples reside in the 11 genebanks operated by CGIAR-supported Centers. “Our genebanks represent the most important international effort to conserve genetic resources of staple crops, forages and agroforestry species,” said CGIAR Director Francisco Reifschneider.

“The plant samples are not the Centers’ property,” added Emile Frison, Director General of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), “but are global public goods, held in trust for humanity.”

“Investing in agriculture for food security” was the theme of World Food Day, which the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations marks each year on October 16, the anniversary of its founding. “Of the many investments needed, none is more fundamental than support for genebanks, which safeguard the crop diversity on which food security depends,” noted Katherine Sierra, Vice President of the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network and CGIAR Chair.

Safeguarding the Genetic Base of Food Production
The new grant strengthens and complements other efforts under way since the 1990s to better safeguard the genetic base of world food production. Two major reviews revealed a need for additional investment to fully guarantee long- term preservation of the collections held in trust by the CGIAR Centers. The CGIAR responded with measures designed to ensure that the genebanks meet international standards for conservation and to make the collections more widely available to users.

In 1994, the CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP) was set up to coordinate activities across Centers. The SGRP then established the System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources to improve access to information about the in-trust plant collections. More recently, the Global Crop Diversity Trust was created to build a solid financial foundation for ensuring the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide.

In 2003, the World Bank began supporting a two-part initiative to improve the conservation and management of the collections held by the CGIAR as global public goods. During the first phase (mid-2003 to 2006), with a grant of US$13.6 million, the Centers processed, regenerated, characterized and tested more than 275,000 plant samples.

In a second 3-year phase to begin in 2007, the Centers will use the new grant of $10.46 million to further improve their stewardship of the collections, increase collaboration and contribute importantly to the development of a global system for conservation and use of crop genetic resources.

A Global System for Conserving and Using Crop Diversity
This work will take place within the framework of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which came into force in 2004 and has since been ratified by more than 100 countries. The Treaty creates a multilateral system that offers signatory countries access to selected genetic resources from all other signatories.

On World Food Day, the Centers signed agreements in Rome with FAO, which will bring the in-trust collections into the new multilateral system. “This significant step,” said Jane Toll, SGRP Coordinator and Director of IPGRI’s Global Partnerships Programme “puts the CGIAR genebanks at the heart of an emerging global system for the conservation and use of plant genetic resources.”

Each year the Centers distribute as many as 50,000 samples, mainly to national programs in developing countries. Plant breeders and farmers employ these resources in crop improvement, putting to use genes for traits such as better nutritional quality, specific consumer preferences and tolerance to drought and other harsh conditions. “This work is vital for enabling agriculture to remain esilient in the face of changing global conditions in the climate, environment and economy,” commented Frison.

To cite a recent example, CGIAR wheat researchers and colleagues in Ethiopia and Kenya identified resistance to a new race of a major disease, black stem rust, among samples of traditional wheat varieties. They are now incorporating the resistant lines into wheat breeding programs in an effort to ward off a global rust epidemic.

The genebanks have also proved vital, on dozens of occasions, for helping rural people recover from more sudden shocks to food systems, caused by natural disasters or conflict. For example, in dealing with the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua, and the consequences of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the genebanks were instrumental in replenishing stocks of local and improved crop varieties.

Source: SeedQuest.com
November 2006

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1.16  Remarkable variation in maize genome structure inferred from haplotype diversity at the bz locus

Qinghua Wang and Hugo K. Dooner
The Waksman Institute, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08855; and Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

ABSTRACT
Maize is probably the most diverse of all crop species. Unexpectedly large differences among haplotypes were first revealed in a comparison of the bz genomic regions of two different inbred lines, McC and B73. Retrotransposon clusters, which comprise most of the repetitive DNA in maize, varied markedly in makeup, and location relative to the genes in the region and genic sequences, later shown to be carried by two helitron transposons, also differed between the inbreds. Thus, the allelic bz regions of these Corn Belt inbreds shared only a minority of the total sequence. To investigate further the variation caused by retrotransposons, helitrons, and other insertions, we have analyzed the organization of the bz genomic region in five additional cultivars selected because of their geographic and genetic diversity: the inbreds A188, CML258, and I137TN, and the land races Coroico and NalTel. This vertical comparison has revealed the existence of several new helitrons, new retrotransposons, members of every superfamily of DNA transposons, numerous miniature elements, and novel insertions flanked at either end by TA repeats, which we call TAFTs (TA-flanked transposons). The extent of variation in the region is remarkable. In pairwise comparisons of eight bz haplotypes, the percentage of shared sequences ranges from 25% to 84%. Chimeric haplotypes were identified that combine retrotransposon clusters found in different haplotypes. We propose that recombination in the common gene space greatly amplifies the variability produced by the retrotransposition explosion in the maize ancestry, creating the heterogeneity in genome organization found in modern maize.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Published online before print November 13, 2006

Source: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0603080103, via SeedQuest.com
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0603080103v1?etoc
3 November 2006

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1.17  Bees and birds increase global production of food crops

The first global study to estimate crop production that is dependent on animal pollination reveals that pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the world's crop production. This increased the outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, says an international research team led by Alexandra-Maria Klein from the University of Goettingen in Germany and Claire Kremen of the University of California Berkeley which reviewed scientific studies from 200 countries.

Results of the review showed that out of the 115 crops studied, 87 depend to some degree upon animal pollination. This accounts for one-third of crop production globally. Of those crops, 13 are entirely reliant upon animal pollinators, 30 are greatly dependent and 27 are moderately dependent. Staple crops such as wheat, corn and rice were crops that did not rely upon animal pollination.

"The stability of crop yields not only depends on pollination, but also on further ecosystem services," Klein said. "Therefore, we need landscapes carefully managed for a diversity of functionally important groups of organisms that sustain many important ecosystem services such as pollination, pest, pathogen and weed control, and decomposition."

The full paper is available at the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. For more information, email Sarah Yang of the University of California at scyang@berkeley.edu.

From CropBiotech Update 27 October 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.18  Got cotton? Texas researchers' discovery could yield protein to feed millions

COLLEGE STATION -- A scientific method used to explore cancer and HIV cures now has been successfully used by agricultural researchers in the quest to develop food for the world's hungry.

"The exciting finding is that we have been able to reduce gossypol – which is a very toxic compound – from cottonseed to a level that is considered safe for consumption," said Dr. Keerti Rathore, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station plant biotechnologist. "In terms of human nutrition, it has a lot of potential." The cottonseed from these plants meet World Health Organization and U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards for food consumption, he said, potentially making the seed a new, high-protein food available to 500 million people a year.

The work, announced today (Nov. 20) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was done by Rathore and a team of scientists from the Experiment Station, Texas A&M University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Plains Research Center in College Station.

Gossypol naturally occurs within the glands in all the above-ground parts of the cotton plant including the seed. Rathore said the "beauty of this project" is that the gossypol has been reduced only in the cottonseed -- where the high levels of protein are packed -- but not in the rest of the plant where the compound serves as a defense against insects and disease.

The team used RNAi, or technology that can "silence" a gene. This enabled them to target the gossypol gene only in the cottonseed but let the gene express itself in the rest of the plant. The discovery of RNAi is what landed the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year for U.S. scientists Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello.

"What we have done is use this technology to selectively inhibit a gene that codes for an enzyme that is involved in the gossypol biosynthetic pathway in the seed, " Rathore said.

Cotton fibers have been spun into fabric for more than 7,000 years. For most of that time, products from the fuzzy seed that is extracted in the fiber process have been edible only for cattle. They can tolerate gossypol only after digesting it through the four compartments of their stomachs.

"Very few people realize that for every pound of cotton fiber, the plant produces 1.6 pounds of seed," Rathore pointed out. "The world produces 44 million metric tons of cottonseed each year. Cottonseed typically contains about 22 percent protein, and it's a very high-quality protein."

In all, about 10 million metric tons of protein are contained in that amount of seed, he said.

Decades ago, California and Texas researchers were able to breed cotton varieties that contained no gossypol glands throughout the plant. But glandless varieties were a commercial failure, Rathore said, because the lack of any gossypol made the plants a delicious treat for insects and diseases.

Processes have been developed to extract gossypol, making the oil available for human consumption but at great expense, he said. Plus, the meal that is left after the oil is removed still contains the gossypol and thus is not edible for humans, or for pigs, chickens or turkeys.

Plants with the new trait developed by the team could make the plant more valuable both as a fiber and a food crop.

"One could utilize the cottonseed either directly as food if there is no gossypol or as feed for livestock," he said.

The food value of the cotton crop may be for countries "where there are small farmers who grow cotton, and if they could use the seed they could get much more value from it," Rathore noted.

He believes food products ultimately could be developed from the cottonseed of these new plants. Though the glandless cotton varieties bred by Experiment Station researchers in the late 1970s and 1980s suffered from insects and disease, one of the food products -- TAMUnuts -- made from the seed of these plants could be eaten by humans.

This discovery will yield not just one new variety, but rather "a new trait that can be bred into any good commercial variety, and the trait should be maintained generation after generation," Rathore said.

The researchers have been successful in maintaining the trait through three generations in lab work. The next step will be to screen for the best plants from the many lines they have produced, then grow plants with the trait in a greenhouse.Field demonstrations will follow that, he said.

He estimates at least another decade in the development of cotton varieties for widespread commercial production.

Contact: Kathleen Phillips
ka-phillips@tamu.edu
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications

Source: EurekAlert.org
20 November 2006

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1.19  Potatoes developed for new markets

CORVALLIS, Ore.
The skin of the potato is a deep garnet red, its flesh a brilliant ruby. When boiled and mashed it turns a creamy fuchsia. As a chip it's a delicate rose pink that would fit in at tea parties and fundraisers. This stylish spud is one of several new varieties under consideration for possible organic production in the Northwest.

Researchers at Oregon State University, working under the Pacific Northwest Tri-State Program, are evaluating thousands of potential selections in both traditional and specialty-type market classes. Isabel Vales, OSU's foremost researcher on potato breeding and genetics, is focusing on molecular and conventional breeding for resistance to pests and disease. The aim is to identify selections that have the potential to be grown under organic systems without the use of synthetic pesticides.

Synthetic pesticides are often expensive, but because of current crop requirements, they play an important role in large-scale production. As varieties are developed that are better suited to their environment the need for synthetics may decline, possibly resulting in improved net returns for growers.

Much of the vegetable breeding being done today focuses on value-added traits. These traits may include better taste, unusual shapes, different skin and flesh colors and increased levels of phytochemicals -- chemicals in plants thought to have protective or disease preventive properties. These traits could add selling power in all markets, Vales said.

Added-value varieties that include disease, pest and various stress resistances may have more to offer growers than any other growing input, adds Brian Charlton, a cropping systems and potato variety researcher at the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center.

The average adult in the United States eats about 136 pounds of potatoes annually in the form of fresh potatoes, fries and chips, as well as in processed foods like soup. Farmers in Idaho, Washington and Oregon grow the majority of U.S. consumed spuds.

Potatoes from the Tri-State program have yet to be evaluated to suitability in organic systems, said the researchers. The OSU potato team is gathering together crop and soil scientists, horticulturists, and food scientists to identify selection criteria for organically grown potatoes.

"We are interested in developing potatoes suitable for organics, and also on evaluating taste and chemical composition of the more promising lines," said Vales. The organic market continues to grow with each production season. U.S. organic food sales grew at a double-digit rate from $1 billion in 1990 to more than $14 billion in 2005 and are expected to exceed $16 billion by the end of 2006. This is the fastest growing segment of the food industry, offering many opportunities and areas of concern, said Vales. In order for Northwest growers to have an edge in organic markets they will need varieties that can compete with traditional breeds. Mainstream growers are constantly looking at ways to remain competitive and boost their net returns per acre, Charlton adds. As organic produce moves closer to conventionally grown foods in price, many growers see putting at least some of their land into organic and transitional production as a way to add value to their crops.

"I envision more and more growers adopting sustainable or true integrated pest management practices in an effort to curtail input costs," said Charlton.

"Unfortunately, products grown under these parameters are often lost in the marketplace. Consumers generally have a choice between conventional and organic with few options in the middle."

By Aimee Lyn Brown
Contact: Isabel Vales
isabel.vales@oregonstate.edu
Oregon State University

Source: EurekAlert.org
15 November 2006

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1.20  Making wheat flour more nutritious

Washington, DC
Your favorite bread, breakfast cereal or pasta might tomorrow be made with wheat flour that's more nutritious than ever. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists have identified a gene that can increase the protein, iron and zinc content of wheat kernels. The gene, known as Gpc-B1, does that in bread wheats and pasta wheats alike.

Today, nearly all Americans eat enough protein for good health, but more than 36 million of us don't get enough zinc, and more than 15 million are short on iron. The wheat research, by enriching the nutrients in one of the world's leading crops, holds the potential to improve Americans' health and that of millions of the world's malnourished.

Plant geneticist Ann E. Blechl helped prove the Gpc-B1 gene's prowess in enhancing wheat flour's nutritional bounty. She used a technique called "RNA interference" to lower what are known as the gene’s expression levels in wheat plants. Blechl did the work in her laboratory at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.

Collaborators working under the direction of wheat breeder and professor Jorge Dubcovsky of the University of California-Davis found that kernels harvested from the plants with lowered Gpc-B1 levels had at least 30 percent less protein, zinc and iron. According to Blechl, the work proved that Gpc-B1 controlled all of these nutrients. The finding predicts that incorporating additional copies of the functioning gene into bread and pasta wheats will be valuable.

Blechl is an international authority on the use of RNA interference and other biotech approaches to explore the largely untapped capabilities of genes of grain-bearing crops.

Dubcovsky, Blechl and colleagues in Haifa, Israel, report their findings in the current issue of the journal Science. A summary can be viewed on the World Wide Web by going to www.Sciencemag.org, then clicking on "current issue."

The research was sponsored by two U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies--ARS and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service--and the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.

ARS News Service
Marcia Wood, marcia.wood@ars.usda.gov

Source: SeedQuest.com
24 November 2006

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1.21  Perennial wheat research looks at options for producers

Perennial wheat? The possibility is being looked at by a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

Annual wheat, which is traditionally grown in the Great Plains, is planted in the fall and dies after harvest in mid-summer. But Dr. Charlie Rush, Experiment Station plant pathologist, is testing some perennial lines of wheat bred in Washington state.

These perennial lines regrow after harvest and may survive for up to five years, Rush said. And eastern Washington is climatically similar to the Texas Panhandle, except it has harsher winters.

"This wheat, if it works here, will start growing back as soon it rains or is irrigated after harvest," he said. "Right now, we don't know if it will work in our area or not. But there definitely could be some applications for it if it does."

The perennial wheat could be used as a ground cover for highly erodible lands, wildlife habitat and an alternative crop for Conservation Reserve Program lands, Rush said. However, primarily he is interested in evaluating use of perennial wheats in dual purpose grain-grazing cropping systems that are prevalent in the southwestern Great Plains.

Over the years, different breeders have crossed bread wheat with wild wheat grass in order to acquire a variety of desirable traits, such as drought tolerance and resistance to diseases and insects, Rush said. In making these crosses, some of the resulting lines inherited the perennial trait.

Perennial wheat programs are already underway in Kansas and Washington. But it was work on disease resistance by Dr. Tim Murray, professor and chair of the plant pathology department, and Dr. Stephen Jones, wheat breeder, both at Washington State University, that first gained Rush's interest.

"For perennial wheats to have a place in our dual-purpose cropping systems, they must have good resistance to disease and insects," Rush said.

For this reason, his primary concern is determining how the 20 experimental lines will hold up against wheat streak mosaic and greenbugs, something both Jones and Murray also are researching.

In addition to screening for disease and insect resistance, Rush is also evaluating the perennial wheat lines for forage quality and yield, water use efficiency and drought tolerance.

"If they have drought tolerance and natural resistance to diseases and insects, it opens up real possibilities," he said. "Producers could save the cost of replanting at the very least. But it could also allow cattle to graze later in the spring and earlier in the fall, and still allow farmers to harvest for grain."

Also, Rush said, producers would be able to avoid the fallow period that sets fields up for erosion. If the perennial wheat is rained on or irrigated in July, it is possible that cattle might be able to start grazing as early as August.

"Since perennial wheats typically yield only 70 percent of the best bread wheat cultivars, I don't see this as competition for the grain crop, but primarily as another option on forage," he said.

Lower yields are the primary reason researchers have not been very interested in perennial wheats, Rush said. But with increasing energy costs and environmental concerns, perennial wheats are worth a new look, especially for the dual-purpose systems.

In September, Rush planted three replications of 20 lines of perennial wheat in September, plus seven non-perennial varieties already in commercial production in the High Plains for comparison. Additionally, he bordered the plots on one side with a variety highly susceptible to wheat streak mosaic virus and on the other side with a highly resistant variety.

"One of the things that could quickly kill this project is if all the perennials are highly susceptible to wheat streak mosaic," he said. "We don't want to have that bridge for the virus and mites to over-summer and threaten the fall wheat crop.

"However, we are confident that some of the lines will be disease-tolerant, because some of Dr. Murray's preliminary findings on resistance to wheat streak in Washington state," Rush said.

Additional testing for insect and disease resistance will be conducted in the greenhouse with the perennial lines being inoculated with wheat streak mosaic virus and tested for resistance to greenbug and possibly bird cherry oat aphids, which also vector barley yellow dwarf virus, he said.

All the insect screening will be conducted by Dr. Jerry Michels, Experiment Station entomologist at Bushland.

"Because this whole research is so brand new, we're limited in the number of treatments we can do until there's more of this perennial wheat seed available," Rush said.

Disease screening and forage quality sampling using remote imaging techniques to measure the biomass, instead of clipping it, has already started and "we're getting good data," Rush said.

In the first sampling, some of the perennial wheat lines yielded roughly the same amount of forage as the bread wheats and also exhibited good resistance to wheat streak, he said.

"I can hardly wait until our next field day to show our regional wheat producers these new wheat lines," Rush said.

Contact: Dr. Charlie Rush
crush@ag.tamu.edu
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications

Source: EurekAlert.org
27 November 2006

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1.22  Pioneer developing drought-tolerant corn

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc, a subsidiary of Dupont, is focusing its efforts on developing corn hybrids that use water sources more efficiently and thus help farmers maintain yields during periods of water stress. "We want growers to benefit overall by having hybrids that can reduce yield loss during temporary water stress yet maintain maximum yield potential under optimal conditions," said Marc Albertsen, director of agronomic traits and lead evaluation for Pioneer.

The company is using a combination of approaches that include conventional breeding, molecular breeding and transgenic programs. Pioneer adds that it also uses a variety of tools, including gene shuffling which optimizes desired traits by multiplying the effectiveness of beneficial genes.

While the enhanced transgenic trait is still being developed, Pioneer has already developed several hybrids with drought tolerance and high-yield potential.
Read Pioneer's press release at http://pioneer.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=194

From CropBiotech Update 27 October 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.23  Canola acquires weevil resistance trait from yellow mustard

The cabbage seedpod weevil Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham) is an insect pest of major economic importance in the production of canola (Brassica napus L. and B. rapa L.) in Europe and North America. Larvae feed on developing seeds within the pods, with each larva consuming about five to six seeds during development. Once they mature, the larvae chew circular exit holes in the walls of the seed pods, and pupate in the soil. Through introgression or 'backcrossing' using yellow mustard as the parent, researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Guelph in Canada have developed canola plants with resistance to the weevil. The results are published in the October issue of Crop Science.

Studies were conducted to test the hereditary material of the offspring, produced by crossing Sinapis alba L. (yellow mustard) x B. napus and then backcrossing progeny to the B. napus parent, as potential sources of resistance to the weevil. Of the genotypes evaluated in field trials in 2001, 18 had an average of fewer than 0.05 weevil exit holes per pod, an indicator for resistance against the weevil, and these genotypes were used for further testing. Subsequent tests confirmed several genotypes that evidently carried genes for resistance to the pest from the yellow mustard parent.
The development of weevil-resistant canola is a significant first step towards integrated management of cabbage seedpod weevil, resulting in substantial reductions in insecticide use in this crop.

The complete research article "Introgression of Resistance to Cabbage Seedpod Weevil to Canola from Yellow Mustard" is available at http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/46/6/2437. For the abstract, readers can visit http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/46/6/2437.

From CropBiotech Update 10 November 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.24  Availability of the initial 4X genome sequence for sorghum inbred line Tx623.

TO: Anyone interested in the sorghum genome sequence

As you may know, the US Department of Enegy Joint Genome Institute, under its ‘Community Sequencing Program’ has made rapid progress toward its commitment to provide 8X sequence coverage of the genome of Sorghum bicolor L. genotype, BTx623. These data will be combined with publicly available sequences, assembled into ‘contigs’ (contiguous sequences without gaps) and ‘scaffolds’ (reconstructed stretches with any gaps spanned by at least two end-sequenced clones), and integrated with extensive phusical and genetic maps to yield genetically-oriented pseudomolecules that are anticipated to substantially cover most sorghum chromosomes.

Sorghum sequence assemblies will be made available in advance of publication, under the principles of the ‘Ft Lauderdale’ agreement to protect the interests of scientists who wish to share pre-publication data with the community, i.e. with a request that users defer publication of any whole-genome scale analyses until the sequencing group has published its primary analysis. Leading scientific journals are also being notified. A 4x assembly is now available at https://www.jgi.doe.gov/downloads/Soghum_bicolor. Use Sorghum_bicolor and ico@hgr as login and password, respectively. We anticipate that the genetically-oriented 8x assembly will be available in early 2007, barring unexpected delays.

A team has been assembled to conduct initial annotation and analysis of the sequence for publication in a leading refereed journal. Although many dimensions of the planned analysis are covered, inquiries about possible participation in this effort should be directed to Dr Paterson (paterson@uga.edu). Team members are responsible for providing their own funding to support participation.

Since the primary publication of the sequence will only be able to succinctly describe a few key features, two leading journals have offered to consider companion papers that address specific features in detail, for coordinated publication shortly following the primary sequence, in a ‘special section’ or perhaps ‘special issue’.

1. Genome Research (www.genome.org/) has agreed to consider large-scale genomic studies that present novel data of biological significance.
2. The Plant Genome (www.crops.org/genome/) has agreed to consider research that shows clear potential for translating genomic technology into agronomic advancement.

Both journals will review sorghum genome-related submissions according to their established mechanisms and standards. At an appropriate time, the respective journals will provide further details.

We hope that this information is useful in planning for engagement of these new genomic resources for sorghum in your work. We also hope that you share our excitement about these new resources, which promise to add new dimensions to our understanding of botanical and genomic diversity, as well as new opportunities for improvement of leading food, feed, forage & turf, and biofuels crops. We encourage you to consider how the sorghum sequence might fit into your research plans, to s;ubmit manuscripts to the coordinated reviews as appropriate, and to contact us with any questions.

Andrew H Paterson
Lead Proposer, CSP Sorghum Sequencing Project
Chair, Shorghum Genomics Executive Committee

Daniel S. Rokhsar
Program Head for Computational Genomics
Joint Genome Institute

Contributed by C Tom Hash
Principal Scientist (Breeding)
ICRISAT
c.hash@cgiar.org

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1.25  Soybean genetic marker technology speeds yield enhancement

New molecular breeding tools help increase the pace at which farmers can increase the amount of soybeans harvested per acre, according to a review of historical U.S. soybean yield. Researchers at DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. found that yields of Pioneer brand soybean varieties developed with proprietary genetic markers improved yield three times faster than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) industry average.

Varieties developed with molecular markers showed average yield increase of 1.4 bushels per acre per year, while Non-Marker-Assisted Selection Pioneer varieties improved yields at a rate of 0.5 bushels per acre per year. On the other hand, USDA soybean yield data show yield increase at 0.4 bushels per acre per year. "The data clearly demonstrates that genetic markers have incredible potential to increase soybean yields at accelerated rates," said John Soper, Pioneer soybean research director. "They are going to go a long way in helping growers produce enough soybeans for new food, fuel and industrial applications."

Molecular markers allow plant breeders to screen many plants for genes that contribute to increased yield potential and stability. Only plants that carry the desired traits are used to develop new products.

Read the press release at http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/pioneer/26118/.

From CropBiotech Update 17 November 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.26  First genetic map of taro published

The first quantitative trait loci (QTL) map on taro root crop (Colocasia esculenta) was constructed using two types of molecular markers. J. Quero-Garcia and collaborators from three other countries used simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLPs) to get genetic maps from taro populations in Vanuatu.

The map was derived from first generation offpring that they have obtained by crossing two sets of local taro cultivars. The researchers wrote in their paper that they were able to successfully identify QTLs that are responsible for yield, corm dimensions, and yellow flesh color. They recommend that additional SSR and AFLP markers be used to produce a saturated and robust map of taro.

The abstract of the paper can be accessed at http://www.springerlink.com/content/7250141745x2480j/.

From CropBiotech Update 17 November 2006:
Contributed by Margaret E. Smith
Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Cornell University
mes25@cornell.edu

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1.27  Engineering broad root-knot resistance in transgenic plants by RNAi silencing of a conserved and essential root-knot nematode parasitism gene

Guozhong Huang*, Rex Allen*, Eric L. Davis, Thomas J. Baum, and Richard S. Hussey*
*Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7274; Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7616; and Department of Plant Pathology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
Edited by Maarten J. Chrispeels, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved August 8, 2006 (received for review June 8, 2006)


ABSTRACT
Secreted parasitism proteins encoded by parasitism genes expressed in esophageal gland cells mediate infection and parasitism of plants by root-knot nematodes (RKN). Parasitism gene 16D10 encodes a conserved RKN secretory peptide that stimulates root growth and functions as a ligand for a putative plant transcription factor. We used in vitro and in vivo RNA interference approaches to silence this parasitism gene in RKN and validate that the parasitism gene has an essential function in RKN parasitism of plants. Ingestion of 16D10 dsRNA in vitro silenced the target parasitism gene in RKN and resulted in reduced nematode infectivity. In vivo expression of 16D10 dsRNA in Arabidopsis resulted in resistance effective against the four major RKN species. Because no known natural resistance gene has this wide effective range of RKN resistance, bioengineering crops expressing dsRNA that silence target RKN parasitism genes to disrupt the parasitic process represents a viable and flexible means of developing novel durable RKN-resistant crops and could provide crops with unprecedented broad resistance to RKN.

Readers can access the full article, “Engineering broad root-knot resistance in transgenic plants by RNAi silencing of a conserved and essential root-knot nematode parasitism gene” at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/39/14302
For the abstract, visit http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/39/14302
Link: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/39/14302

Source: Proceedings ot the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America via SeedQuest.com
September 2006

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1.28  Plant studies reveal how, where seeds store iron - Findings address worldwide iron deficiency and malnutrition

Washington, DC
Biologists have learned where and how some plant seeds store iron, a valuable discovery for scientists working to improve the iron content of plants. Their research helps address the worldwide problem of iron deficiency and malnutrition in humans.

The team found that iron is stored in the developing vascular system of the seed of Arabidopsis, a model plant used in research. In particular, iron is stored in the vacuole, a plant cell's central storage site. The researchers also learned this localization depends on a protein called VIT1, known to transport iron into the vacuole.

"Iron deficiency is the most common human nutritional disorder in the world today, afflicting more than 3 billion people worldwide," said Mary Lou Guerinot, a biologist at Dartmouth College in N.H. and the principal investigator on the study. "Most of these people rely on plants for their dietary iron, but plants are not high in iron, and the limited availability of iron in the soil can limit plant growth. Our study suggests that iron storage in the vacuole is a promising, and, before now, largely unexplored target for increasing the iron content of seeds. Such nutrient-rich seeds would benefit both human health and agricultural productivity."

The findings were published online in the Nov. 2, 2006, ScienceExpress, the advance publication site for the journal Science.

The researchers combined traditional mutant analysis (turning on and off the VIT1 protein) with a powerful X-ray imaging technique to create a map of where iron is localized in the seed. Guerinot was surprised by the finding because most studies on iron storage focus on another protein called ferritin.

"This project is a wonderful example of the power of using new combinations of tools--in this case, genetics and high-resolution 3-dimensional X-ray fluorescence imaging--to understand gene function," said Jane Silverthorne, a program director in NSF's Division of Biological Infrastructure, which funded the research. "The discovery that iron localizes in specific parts of a seed opens the possibility of developing seed crops such as grains and beans with increased content of this important nutrient."

The findings reveal how essential it is to look beyond ferritin to understand how iron is stored by plants. The researchers say the stored iron in the vacuole is a key source of iron for developing seedlings. Seedlings that do not express the VIT1 protein grow poorly when iron is limited.

In addition to funding from the National Science Foundation, the study was also supported by the National Institutes of Health. The imaging was carried out at the Department of Energy's National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Other authors of the paper include Sun A Kim and Tracy Punshon, both of Dartmouth, Antonio Lanzirotti of the University of Chicago, Liangtao Li and Jerry Kaplan of the University of Utah School of Medicine, José Alonso with North Carolina State University, and Joseph Ecker with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Source: SeedQuest.com
3 November 2006

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1.29  New gene tool to diagnose plant disease

Washington, DC
Scientists leverage new tool to diagnose plant diseases

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist William Schneider has used, or is familiar with, just about every kind of method of identifying organisms that cause plant diseases, from light microscopes to so-called genetic fingerprinting.

Each has its place in the field of disease diagnostics. But what's really excited Schneider is a procedure called TIGER, short for "Triangulation Identification for Genetic Evaluation of Risks."

According to Schneider, with the ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, Md., TIGER has the potential to identify virtually every kind of microbe that may be present in a given sample--and to do so in a matter of minutes.

Other methods, including those that use polymerase chain reaction (PCR)--best known for its role in genetic fingerprinting--take hours, days or weeks. And even then, such methods typically detect only up to a few dozen microbes at a time.

Speed coupled with accuracy, sensitivity and ease of use promise to make TIGER a frontline tool in detecting new, as-yet-undescribed pathogens, or exotic ones that originate outside the United States, like citrus greening, citrus canker and soybean rust.

Schneider's "neighbors" at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick were among the first there to use TIGER as part of the military lab's mission to detect, diagnose and counter human pathogens, such as those encountered by deployed troops. Last summer, Schneider began collaborating with Chris Whitehouse of USAMRIID's Diagnostic Systems Division to test and build TIGER's capacity to identify crop pathogens.

Along with ARS postdoctoral researcher Elena Postnikova, Schneider and Whitehouse are conducting research on three fronts, starting with 14 genera of plant disease bacteria. Of particular interest is verifying TIGER's use of generalized primers as a sort of one-size-fits-all "homing beacon" to distinguish bacteria from other microbes in a sample, such as leaf tissue.

Read more about the research in the November 2006 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov06/plant1106.htm

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jan Suszkiw,  jan.suszkiw@ars.usda.gov

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

Source: SeedQuest.com
3 November 2006

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1.30  New research on plant steroids improves plant development

Washington, DC
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) Research Results

Plant steroids play an essential role in plant growth and development and provide stress protection. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, CA, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD, are unlocking the mysteries between plant steroids and plant growth. Their research, funded by USDA, could lead to new plant varieties with desirable growth traits.

Joanne Chory and colleagues identified a new protein that stops the growth process in plants when there is an absence of brassinosteroids, a type of plant steroid. These steroids induce a signaling mechanism in plant cells that flips a proverbial switch causing the plant to grow and develop properly.

For a signal to be transmitted to a plant cell, brassinosteroids attach to a receptor on the plasma membrane of the cell, like a lock and key mechanism. The brassinosteroid receptor on the plasma membrane is called BRI1. Once BRI1 is activated by brassinosteroid binding, it interacts with BAK, a co-receptor that continues the reception chain.

In the absence of brassinosteroids, BRI1 kinase binds with the newly identified protein, BKI1 instead of BAK, shutting down the receptor and stopping the signal. This stunts growth and produces mutant dwarf plants.

During testing, the researchers found that reintroducing brassinosteroids into the system causes BRI1 to bind to the brassinosteroid, and BKI1 rapidly dissociates from the plasma membrane. The reception chain continues from there and normal growth resumes.

BKI1-like genes are present in many plant species, including economically important crops, such as rice, maize, and soybean. Over- or under-expression of BKI1 in these species will provide a valuable tool to control the strength of brassinosteroid signaling in plant cells and will allow the creation of novel plant varieties with desirable traits.

This research was published in August 25 th issue of Science in the article titled “ Brassinosteroids regulate dissociation of BKI1, a negative regulator of BRI1 signaling, from the plasma membrane.”

The USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service funded this research project through the National Research Initiative (NRI) Genetic Processes and Mechanisms of Agricultural Plants Program. The NRI is the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program in CSREES. It supports research, education, and extension grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.

Source: SeedQuest.com
9 November 2006

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1.31  Improved resistance to controlled deterioration in transgenic seeds

Results of a study on transgenic tobacco indicated that a protein called HaHSFA9 from a sunflower gene could increase the resistance of seeds to deterioration and increase longevity. The protein also helps in improving seed germinability in the field under high soil temperature.

Researchers at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Spain believe that there are similar genes to HaHSFA9 in other monocot and dicot plant species. Once found, these genes may be transferred to major crops to increase the longevity of their seeds, or to reduce the negative effects of high temperatures during seed formation.

The open access article is available at
http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/content/full/142/3/1102.
Pilar Prieto-Dapena, Raúl Castaño, Concepción Almoguera and Juan Jordano*
Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 41080 Seville, Spain


Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com
24 November 2006

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1.32  Generation Challenge Program (GCP) Latest News Alerts

(Selected articles, the Editor, PBN-L)

from 31 October-17 November 2006
GCP PowerPoint Presentation Available 2006-11-17 11:51:51
The Generation Challenge Programme has created a basic introduction to the GCP that is available to the public at http://www.generationcp.org/brochure.php. The Po... Visit Here

Seed companies boost crops using traits of relatives 2006-11-08 08:40:18
A recent article by Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Kilman features marker assisted plant breeding. Large biotech companies including Monsanto,... Visit Here

Change in IRRI's Copyright Policy To Facilitate the Free Exchange of Vital Information 2006-11-07 07:19:41
Source: IRRI Author: n/a The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced a change to its intellectual property (IP) policy... Visit Here

To subscribe, visit the GCP Home Page

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2  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  IFPRI discussion paper: Applied economics literature about the impact of genetically engineered crop varieties in developing economies

Melinda Smale, Patricia Zambrano, José Falck-Zepeda, and Guillaume Gruère

ABSTRACT
A vast literature has accumulated since crop varieties with transgenic resistance to insects and herbicide tolerance were released to farmers in 1996 and 1997. A comparatively minor segment of this literature consists of studies conducted by agricultural economists to measure the farm-level impact of transgenic crop varieties, the size and distribution of the economic benefits from adopting them, consumer attitudes toward GE products, and implications for international trade. This paper focuses only on the applied economics literature about the impact of transgenic crop varieties in non-industrialized agricultural systems, with an emphasis on methods. A number of studies have surveyed the findings for both industrialized and non-industrialized agriculture, at various points in time, but surveys of methods are less frequent and have typically examined only one overall question or approach. Clearly, the methods used in research influence the findings that are presented and what they mean. Understanding the methods therefore enhances understanding of the findings. Four categories of impact analysis are considered: farmers, consumers, industry and trade. In part due to methodological limitations and the relatively brief time frame of most analyses, results are promising, but the balance sheet is mixed. Thus, findings of current case studies should not be generalized to other locations, crops, and traits. The aim of this review is to progress toward the defining a "best practices" methodology for national researchers who seek to produce relevant information about emerging crop biotechnologies for national policymakers.

Full discussion paper: http://www.ifpri.org/divs/eptd/dp/papers/eptdp158.pdf

Source: SeedQuest.com
October, 2006

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2.02  Workshop Draft Report – Strategies to strengthen sustainable use of plant genetic resources in Ghana

The workshop was organized at FAO regional office in Accra, Ghana.  There were 23 plant breeders, bank curators and biotechnologists in the event; they were from universities, the national research programme, seed company, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The national plant breeding and associated biotechnology assessment was carried out in Ghana by Mr. Walter Alhassam; it covered the 1985-2001 period.  The results indicated that there are 19.2 plant breeders and 7.2 biotechnologists, numbers that maybe considered low for the importance of agriculture in the Ghanaian economy (40.9% of the GDP and 40.6% of the export earnings).  However, there are well structured plant breeding programmes for important food security crops such as maize, rice, cassava, and legumes, but there have not been continuous varietal releases for some of the food security crops.  The breeding programmes count on conventional breeding methods, including participatory approaches such as plant variety selection (PVS), and uses local materials as sources of genetic variability.  There is a gap between varieties released by the public institutions and farmers’ adoption of these varieties.  Lack of an adequate seed distribution system was named as one of the elements contributing to it.

The comments to be considered in the design of the strategies to strengthen Ghana’s plant breeding and related biotechnology capacity are summarized as:

Human resources capacity building – The participants felt that the general needs for human resources capacity building are not fully attended by the Government strategic plan.  Therefore, to strengthen the national plant breeding and associated biotechnology capacity they proposed to have short-, medium- and long-term training programmes.  They should aim at bringing new breeders and biotechnologists to the national system (increase the number of breeders and biotechnologists), upgrading the skills of the breeders and biotechnologists who are currently working in the different varietal development programmes (increase the educational level through MSc and PhD courses), and providing training courses on emerging breeding and biotechnology tools.  For the last component it was mentioned that the CGIAR centres seem to be the most appropriated places for training.  The importance of providing training opportunities for the supporting staff (technicians and others) was also highlighted.

Infrastructure capacity building – There is need for investments in upgrading and building infrastructure for the breeders and biotechnologists.  The necessities were listed as construction of laboratories facilities for breeding and biotechnology activities, green and screen houses (including a containment facility), cold room for seed storage, irrigation systems, etc.

Policy related issues – There are several issues where appropriate policies can significantly contribute to strengthening the national plant breeding and associated biotechnology capacity, such as: legislation to have breeder’s right effective in the country; national strategies to sustain breeding and biotechnology activities; mechanisms to promote public-private partnerships; establishment of levies on seeds sales and on imported and exported agricultural products; an effective seed system including a seed law and mechanisms to decentralize and certify quality; and marketing incentives to add value to farmers’ products.  All plant breeding and biotechnology activities depend on donor’s support this jeopardizes the required long-term sustainability of these programmes, thus the intervention of the Government by promoting mechanisms that lead to sustainability is crucial to ensure that varieties are continuously delivered to farmers.

Biotechnology – All participants stated that biotechnology is a tool to enhance plant breeding and that conventional breeding methods still have a major role to play.  However, there are opportunities to strengthen the national capacity in this area to deal with specific problems, for which the conventional strategies have not been so successful.  In general, the laboratory facilities need to be upgraded, scientists need to be trained, but the main limiting factor is financial resource to keep the laboratories running (availability of consumables).  There was a general agreement that a national centre of excellence well equipped and with the required manpower is necessary.  Regarding training the idea is to have breeders trained in the biotechnology techniques as well as the biotechnologists themselves; this would forge the linkages between the two groups and would increase efficiency of the use of the tools.

Gene bank – Ghana has a national gene bank with around 8000 accessions from the most important plant species for the country.  Cowpeas have the largest collection with around 690 accessions.  In general, for all species the majority of the entries is coming from collections made at farmers’ field.  Each research institution also has its own gene bank, normally used to conserve working collections.  The major concern associated to conservation of PGR is related to the facilities, energy shortage and lack of maintenance are key issues for long-term preservation.  With the current structure the conserved PGR are still at risk and to strengthen use of PGR efforts have to be made to improve this situation.  There has been a lot of work done to morphologically characterize the materials around 70% is already characterized and the data is available in the gene bank database, however, there has not been work done to add molecular characterization because of lack of equipment.

Designing breeding strategies to strengthen national capacity – To design breeding strategies to strengthen Ghana’s capacity to use PGR the following issues were pointed out as key ones:
-Conventional breeding methods, including PVS, have a major role to play
-All plant breeding and biotechnology programmes are donor dependent
-The country does not have the necessary number of breeders and biotechnologists to work with all limiting factors relevant to the food security crops
-Biotechnology has a role to play as tool to enhance breeding activities and it requires support the creation of a national center of excellence
-The Government of Ghana has to play a strong role in supporting breeding activities and to be prepared for long-term commitment in the area
-High priority should be placed on capacity building to increase the number of scientists and to upgrade their educational level
-Seed delivery systems have to be strengthen, including approval of legislations to support and regulate the sector
-Networking in the region can contribute to deal with problems of food security crops of regional importance
-PGR access is not a major issue but conservation and availability of information are limiting factors to promote use.

Contributed by Elcio Guimaraes
FAO-AGPC
Elcio.Guimaraes@fao.org

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2.03  The promises and challenges of biofuels for the poor in developing countries

Introduction
Bioenergy, that is, biofuels of biological and renewable origin, like bioethanol, biodiesel, and biomass for energyis the subject of increasing attention around the world. Oil prices have climbed to unprecedented heights, and concerns about the environmental effects of fossil fuel use are on the rise. Bioenergy appears to offer hope for addressing these concerns while also providing new opportunities for poor people and farmers in developing countries. Can bioenergy fulfill the promise claimed by its proponents? Can it become an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, pro-poor source of energy? And what challenges will meeting these goals present?

This set of policy briefs examines the potential opportunities and risks bioenergy may pose for poor people and farmers in developing countries. The briefs consider economic, social, environmental, and science and technology issues. They look at how increased bioenergy production may affect the global food balance and examine the need for further research and development in the bioenergy field. Lessons from the experiences of Europe, as well as Brazil and other developing countries, are reviewed. Recommendations on how to move forward to develop bioenergy in ways that can serve the poor and the environment are presented.

We express our warm appreciation to editors Peter Hazell and R. K. Pachauri, as well as to the contributors, for their valuable insights and perspectives on the promises and challenges of bioenergy for agriculture in developing countries. We also thank Heidi Fritschel for excellent editing and production management of these briefs.

Joachim von Braun, Director General
Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Head, 2020 Vision Initiative

Reference
 
Ortiz, R,, J.H. Crouch, M. Iwanaga, K. Sayre, M. Warburton, J. Araus, J. Dixon, M. Bohn, B.V.S. Reddy, S. Ramesh  & S. Wani.  2006.  Bio-energy and agricultural research-for-development.  Vision 2020 for Food Agriculture and the Environment Bioenergy and Agriculture: Promises and Challenges 7.  2 pp. http://www.ifpri.org/2020/focus/focus14/focus14_07.pdf
 
2020 Focus No. 14 http://www.ifpri.org/2020/focus/focus14.asp.
Bioenergy and Agriculture
Promises and Challenges
Peter Hazell, and R. K. Pachauri (eds.)
November 2006
http://dx.doi.org/10.2499/2020focus14
download
Full Text of all Briefs
(PDF 363K)

Individual Briefs in Focus 12:

Overview
Peter Hazell and R. K. Pachauri
(PDF 84K)

Developing Bioenergy: Economic and Social Issues
Daniel G. De La Torre Ugarte
(PDF 84K)

Biofuels and the Global Food Balance
Mark W. Rosegrant, Siwa Msangi, Timothy Sulser, and Rowena Valmonte-Santos
(PDF 87K)

Environmental Effects of Bioenergy
Sivan Kartha
(PDF 93K)

Potential of Carbon Payments for Bioenergy
Odin Knudsen
(PDF 78K)

Science and Technology Options for Harnessing Bioenergy's Potential
Jeremy Woods
(PDF 100K)

Bioenergy and Agricultural Research for Development
Rodomiro Ortiz, Jonathan H. Crouch, Masa Iwanaga, Ken Sayre, Marilyn Warburton, Jose Luis Araus, John Dixon, Martin Bohn, Belum V. S. Reddy
(PDF 94K)

Brazil's Experience with Bioenergy
Jos oberto Moreira
(PDF 88K)

Bioenergy in Europe: Experiences and Prospects
Oliver Henniges and Jrgen Zeddies
(PDF 92K)

Bioenergy in Developing Countries: Experiences and Prospects
Daniel M. Kammen
(PDF 88K)

Bioenergy and the Poor
Stephen Karekezi and Waeni Kithyoma
(PDF 105K)

Developing Bioenergy: A Win-Win Approach That Can Serve the Poor and the Environment
Peter Hazell
(PDF 77K)

Related Publication
The Promises and Challenges of Biofuels for the Poor in Developing Countries
2006. Joachim von Braun and R. K. Pachauri. IFPRI 2005-2006 Annual Report Essay.
(PDF 1.8M)

Contributed by Rodomiro Ortiz
CIMMYT
R.ORTIZ@CGIAR.ORG

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2.04  Plant Mutation Reports ---call for papers

Plant Mutation Reports (PMR) is a newly established scientific journal, sponsored by the Joint FAO/IAEA Program on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria. It is a transformation of two formerly published journals, Mutation Breeding Newsletter and Mutation Breeding Reviews.

PMR publishes (mini) reviews, research articles, short communications in all areas of basic and applied plant mutation research, e.g., mutagenesis and experimental mutagenesis; mutation induction and characterization; mutation genetics and breeding; genomics and molecular genetics of induced mutation. It also publishes description papers on mutant germplasm and mutant varieties. Papers on social-economic impact analysis of induced mutations and mutant varieties are also accepted.

The PMR is not only free of cost to authors; it is also free of cost to readers. We further assure you that once your paper is identified as being of scientific value and accepted for publication in PMR, we will offer you our assistance with improving the format and the language of your manuscript. A free subscription to hard copies is available on request to institutions, i.e. research institutes, universities, or research groups. Online subscription is free for both organizations and individuals. You can download the publication from the Agency’s website: http://www-pub.iaea.org/mtcd/publications/newsletter.asp?id=130. Free hard copies may be available from time to time depending on availability. If you are interested in receiving either a hard copy, or the content of the latest issues, or you would like to receive more information about this journal, please send an email to Plant.mutation@iaea.org.

Contributed by Qingyao SHU
Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
Joint FAO/IAEA Division
International Atomic Energy Agency
Q.Y.Shu@iaea.org

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3.  WEB RESOURCES

3.01  Newsletter on organic seed and plant breeding

The September-November issue of the Newsletter on Organic Seed and Plant Breeding is now available on the ECO-PB website at http://www.eco-pb.org/07/nops_0911_06.pdf

TABLE OF CONTENTS
-International workshop on different models to finance plant breeding.
-Successful international meeting on the use of organic seeds in vegetable production.
-First announcement on the conference ‘Plant Breeding for organic and low-input farming systems: dealing with genotype-environment interaction. 
-Dutch expert group on vegetables advices onion on the national annex.
-Proceedings of the COST SUSVAR workshop on Cereal crop diversity: Implications for production and products (Ed. H Østergård and L Fontaine, 2006). 
-Susceptibility of spring barley to loose smut and usefulness of different sources of loose smut resistance.
-New EU policy project on conservation varieties 2007-2009.

Newsletter: http://www.eco-pb.org/07/nops_0911_06.pdf

Source: SeedQuest.com
November 2006

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4.  REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

4.01  Looking for a US commercial lab to do DNA fingerprinting

Looking for a US commercial lab to do DNA fingerprinting of vegetatively propagated turfgrass cultivars. Fingerprinting results have to stand up to scrutiny by the PVP office and/or patent office and legal challenges.

Edzard van Santen, Ph.D.
Professor
Breeding and Genetics
Dept. of Agronomy and Soils
202 Funchess Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849-5412
USA
Tel:  01-334-844-3975
Fax: 01-334-844-3945

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5.  GRADUATE PROGRAMS AND POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

5.01  Cornell Plant Breeding invites applications for admission to our Ph.D. program

USDA National Needs Graduate Fellowships are available for U.S. citizens/permanent residents interested in combining plant breeding, crop genomics, and bioinformatics.  Participating faculty conduct a broad range of research activities and encourage interdisciplinary projects.  Excellent facilities are available for laboratory, computational, greenhouse and field studies.  Fellows will have opportunities for lab rotations, international activities and interactions with industry.

Financial support includes a 12 month stipend of at least $26,000, full tuition, and health insurance.  Support is provided for the full duration of the Ph.D. program. 

For additional information: 
Elizabeth Earle, Director of Graduate Studies, Field of Plant Breeding
(ede3@cornell.edu: 607-255-3102)
Mark Sorrells, Chair, Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics
(mes12@cornell.edu: 607-255-2180)
Plant Breeding web site: http://plbrgen.cals.cornell.edu/
Graduate School web site: http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/
Cornell University web site: http://www.cornell.edu/

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5.02  Chaudhary Charan Singh University (India) Seeks Candidates for PhD and Post-doctoral Work

Chaudhary Charan Singh (CCS) University in Meerut (INDIA)--formerly Meerut University--is searching for two candidates interested in completing PhD and post-doctoral work on the following two projects:

(1) Physical mapping of molecular markers on bread wheat chromosomes

(2) Development and use of molecular markers of QTL analysis for fibre quality and lignin content in jute (Corchorus olitorius/capsularia) ...Visit Here

Source: Generation Challenge Program (GCP) Latest News Alerts
1 November 2006

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5.03  Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Announcement (1): Rice research

USDA Postdoctoral Research Associate

DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES:  The position is located at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, Stuttgart, Arkansas.  The incumbent will clone an additional component in the Pi-ta resistance gene-mediated resistance pathway.  The incumbent will perform the following duties: 1) Analysis of F2:3 progeny of crosses among all mutants expressing Pi-ta and with rice cultivars possessing Pi-ta and with rice cultivars lacking Pi-ta; 2) identify BAC clones containing NBS-LRR candidates in the Pi-ta region; 3) Sequence analysis of all candidates in progeny of the crosses; 4) Identify DNA region (s) that were mutated outside of Pi-ta by fast neutrons in Katy mutant 2354 that render it susceptible; 4) Generate constructs for complementation tests, and 5) perform pathogenicity and PCR assays as needed. 

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: Recent Ph.D. in Plant Genetics, Molecular Biology, Plant Pathology or a closely related field is required.  Knowledge of genomics, functional genomics, microbial culture and inoculation methods for disease assays, PCR, Real time PCR, Southern and Northern blots using non-radioactive materials, sequencing and bioinformatics are desirable.
Dr. Yulin Jia
USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Phone: 870 672 9300 ext 229
Fax: 870 673 7581
Email: yjia@spa.ars.usda.gov

Forwarded by Ann Marie Thro
CSREES, USDA
athro@csrees.usda.gov

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5.04  Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Announcement (2): Rice research

DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: A two-year Postdoctoral Research Associate Position will be available on Jan 1, 2007 funded by the National Science Foundation. The postdoc will be hired through the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center, and will perform research at the USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center.  Specific objectives involve analyzing the sequence data flanking Pi-ta and identifying SNP diversity across the Pi-ta genomic region.  The incumbent will also be responsible for growing plants, performing infection assays and other activities related to determining disease reaction to rice blast in sampled accessions. QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: Ph.D in Genetics, Biology, Molecular Biology and Plant Pathology or related degree is required.  Experience in DNA sequence analysis, evolutional analysis, bioinformatics and rice pathology are desirable.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: Ph.D in Genetics, Biology, Molecular Biology and Plant Pathology or related degree is required.  Experience in DNA sequence analysis, evolutional analysis, bioinformatics and rice pathology are desirable.

FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THIS POSITION OR TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION, CONTACT:

Dr. Yulin Jia
USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Phone: 870 672 9300 ext 229
Fax: 870 673 7581
Email: yjia@spa.ars.usda.gov

Forwarded by Ann Marie Thro
CSREES, USDA
athro@csrees.usda.gov

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5.05  Professor/Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer of Applied Biotechnology: African Centre for Crop Improvement

(One post)
Fixed-term appointment (5 years)

African Centre for Crop Improvement
School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology
Faculty of Science and Agriculture
Pietermaritzburg Campus
University of Kwazulu-Natal

Reference no:. SA63/2006

The African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) is an externally funded centre, training plant breeders at the PhD level, from 15 African countries. Students undertake two years of academic study at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, followed by three years of field research in their home countries, working in their national research programmes.  The ACCI is also undertaking institutional support of several African universities, in the field of Plant Breeding.  The Generation Challenge Programme is funding the position and includes research funding. The School has a well equipped Molecular Biology unit.

The successful candidate will typically be a plant breeder who has developed expertise in the use of biotechnology tools to advance practical plant breeding. S/he will teach postgraduate modules in Plant Biotechnology as it relates to Plant Breeding and supervise students using biotechnology tools in their PhD research. The post will require visiting students in the field, requiring travel in Africa. S/he will undertake independent research in the application of Plant Biotechnology to African food crops, developing a “biotechnology toolbox” for plant breeders.  The incumbent will also assist in the institutional support programme at selected African universities.

Applicants at all three levels will be considered.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:
FOR ALL LEVELS:
-A PhD or equivalent degree, in an appropriate field of plant breeding;
-Experience of supervision of postgraduate students or mentoring of junior staff;
-Experience in modern molecular techniques.

PROFESSOR
-Ten years of work experience at tertiary institution/s OR ten years in appropriate industry/ies or research institute/s;
-Independent research competence as demonstrated by international peer-reviewed publications, with a sustained publication record in the field of plant breeding;
-Successful supervision of doctoral students OR management and development of staff in industry.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
-Five years of work experience at tertiary institution/s OR five years in appropriate industry/ies or research institute/s;
-Independent research competence as demonstrated by international peer-reviewed publications, with a sustained publication record in the field of plant breeding;
-Successful supervision of masters and doctoral students.

SENIOR LECTURER
-Evidence of current research activity and a record of publication in the field of plant breeding.
ADVANTAGES:
-A current rating by the National Research Foundation for South African candidates;
-Evidence of sourcing and management of research funding.

Applicants must stipulate the level of appointment at which they are applying.

For further information about the ACCI kindly contact the Director, Professor MD Laing, on +27 (0)33 260 5524, via e-mail at laing@ukzn.ac.za or visit the website at http://www.acci.org.za

The remuneration package offered includes benefits and will be dependent on the qualifications and/or experience of the successful applicant. The selection process will commence on 8 December 2006 and will continue until a suitable candidate is appointed or a decision is taken not to fill the post.

Applicants are required to submit a covering letter, highlighting their experience in each of the minimum requirements listed above, together with a detailed CV including the name, full address, fax number and e-mail address of three referees, to Mrs J. Poulter, Human Resources Administration, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209, Fax. No. +27 (0) 33 260 5356 or e-mail poulterj@ukzn.ac.za

All Appointments will be in terms of the prevailing University Employment Equity Policy and the Employment Equity Plan of the faculty/division (available on request). The University reserves the right not to make an appointment or to stop the process at any stage to headhunt or re-advertise the post to meet its equity goals. Candidates who do not meet the minimum criteria will not be considered.

Contributed by Professor Mark Laing
Director, African Centre for Crop Improvement
University of KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa
E-mail  laing@ukzn.ac.za

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6. 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.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

CIMMYTs Wheat Improvement Course 2007 (intermediate)

Date and venue: The course will take place from February 26 to May 25, 2007 in research station at Ciudad Obregon and CIMMYT headquarters at El Batan.

Requirements: The course is designed for scientists working for at least 2 years in National Agricultural Research System or private sector in the area of wheat breeding/pathology/physiology. Recommended entrance level is MSc in agriculture or BSc with least 5 years practical experience in field breeding. Participant must be nominated by his/her employer. Proficiency in spoken and written English language is essential.

The concept: The course will combine mentoring and problem solving approach - each participant with clearly defined research objective will be assigned a relevant CIMMYT scientist. The CIMMYT scientist will be responsible for the participants program and practical activities in the field. Strong emphasis is given to the importance of inter-disciplinary approach and the program participants will interact with various CIMMYT scientists. To promote interaction among the participants and CIMMYT scientists, lectures and discussions for all participants will be organized on specific days every week.

Course Objectives:
         To impart research skills and knowledge needed to design and run sustainable modern wheat improvement program with specific objective;
         To familiarize with new improved wheat germplasm, CIMMYTs current research and breeding thrusts and provide opportunity to select wheat materials that will be sent to participants;
         To encourage and develop participants ability to synthesize and use information and knowledge about new technologies related to wheat improvement;
         To improve participants awareness of the roles and importance of support disciplines such as pathology, wheat chemistry/quality, statistics, physiology, biotechnology, GIS, social sciences, etc.;
         To foster positive attitudinal changes among participants such as improved confidence, increased motivation, and heightened appreciation of the benefits of team work and interdisciplinary research.

Number of participants is limited to 10.  Deadline for application is December 11, 2006.
Course fee is US$ 9,000 (for shorter participation US$ 105/day). Course costs include accommodation, per diems, health insurance, Mexican visa, transport to/from Obregon, airport transport, computer with internet, book allowance, training fee). Course fee does NOT include return flight ticket to Mexico and travel incidentals.
 
Petr Kosina
Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building Coordinator
CIMMYT - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
CIMMYT ! - 40 years of global partnership (1966-2006)
www.cimmyt.org

Contributed by Petr Kosina
p.kosina@CGIAR.ORG

+++++++++++++

10-16 June 2007. 7th International Symposium in the Series: Recent Advances in Plant Biotechnology (First Announcement),Stara Lesna, High Tatras, Slovak Republic

organized by
Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology,
Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic
and
Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, Biology Centre,
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic

Preliminary Scientific Programme
The symposium programme includes invited keynote lectures and short oral, as well as poster presentations. Selection of oral presentations will be made by the organizers based on submitted abstracts. The programme consists of five topics, each introduced by invited speaker:

1. Morphogenesis and embryogenesis in in vitro systems
2. Genetic transformation strategies for plant improvement
3. The quality control of regenerated plants  
4. Plant-pathogen interaction
5. Applied plant biotechnology

The Symposium Secretary Handles all queries regarding abstract submission, registration, accommodation and booking of air tickets for invited speakers:
Alena Gajdosova,  Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology
Nitra, Slovak Republic
Phone:  + 421/37 73 36659
Fax:      + 421/37 73 36660
E-mail: alena.gajdosova@savba.sk

Deadlines:
Preliminary registration form   -  December 31, 2006
Final registration and payment -  February 28, 2007
Abstract submission                  -  March 31, 2007

Contributed by Elcio Guimaraes
FAO/AGPC
Elcio.Guimaraes@fao.org

+++++++++++++

* 14-18 September 2008. The 12th International Lupin Conference will be held in Perth, Western Australia from 14-18 September.  On behalf of the International Lupin Association (ILA), the 12th International Lupin Conference Organising Committee invites you to Western Australia.  Attached is the first circular for further details.  More detailed information will be forwarded to you in the second circular in early 2007.  Please reply either to this email address or to conference@lupins.org.
If you cannot read the attached pdf document, please download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from http://www.adobe.com
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Contributed by George D. Hill
Secretary/Treasurer
International Lupin Association
Lincoln University, New Zealand
Hill1@Lincoln.ac.nz


REPEAT ANNOUNCEMENTS

* 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 personnel.

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. 

Instruction begins Fall 2006 and runs through Summer 2008 (actual dates to be determined)

For more information: (530) 754-7333, email scwebster@ucdavis.edu, http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/Events/Plant_Breeding_Academy.htm

* 21-26 January 2007. Temperature Stress in Plants, Ventura, California. The program will cover the physiology, biochemistry, and genetics/genomics of plant responses to high and low temperatures. In addition to model species, important issues regarding agronomic, horticultural and ornamental species will be addressed. For more information, visit http://www.grc.uri.edu/programs/2007/tempstrs.htm.

* 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/

* 23-27 March 2007. 2nd International Conference on Plant Molecular Breeding (ICPMB), Sanya, Hainan, China. www.icpmb.org

* 26-29 March 2007. Biotechnology, Breeding, and Seed Systems for African Crops, Maputo, Mozambique. Co-hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM). More information at:
http://www.africancrops.net/rockefeller/icv3/ .

* 24-28 June 2007. The 9th International Pollination Symposium on Plant-Pollinator Relationships­Diversity in Action. Scheman Center, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. The official theme is: "Host-Pollinator Biology Relationships - Diversity in Action." The Conference webpage can be viewed at
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.

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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 year.

The newsletter is managed by the editor and an advisory group consisting of Elcio Guimaraes (elcio.guimaraes@fao.org), Margaret Smith (mes25@cornell.edu), and Anne Marie Thro (athro@csrees.usda.gov). 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. 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 chh23@cornell.edu.

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 pbn-l@mailserv.fao.org. 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 chh23@cornell.edu and I will re-send it.

To subscribe to PBN-L: Send an e-mail message to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org. 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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