The Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB) brings you:

PLANT BREEDING NEWS

EDITION 192
31 July 2008

An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant Breeding

Clair H. Hershey, Editor
chh23@cornell.edu

Sponsored by FAO/AGPC and Cornell University, Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics

-To subscribe, see instructions here
-Archived issues available at: FAO Plant Breeding Newsletter


1.  NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES
1.01  Cassava for food and energy security
1.02  GIPB launches call for information on genetic resources and breeding of underutilized bioenergy crops
1.03  New regional seed association formed
1.04  ICRISAT and Pravardhan Seeds launch hybrid pigeonpea seeds
1.05  Groundnut variety maintenance at Maroua Research Centre in North Cameroon
1.06  European corn production faces powerful beetle
1.07  Useful traits from earliest Mexican wheats
1.08  Good breeding increases shelf life - Packaged salad-cut lettuce studied for stability, freshness
1.09  New DuPont markers for soybean productivity
1.10  Scientists identify genes that control citrus carotenoid content
1.11  Some plants can adapt to climate change
1.12  Higher CO2 level means higher tolerance of barley to salinity
1.13  New Tecoma cultivars bring color to gardens
1.14  Scientists unlock the key to rice nutrition
1.15  Rice genomics research without the GM
1.16  Sex ratios of plants linked to environmental factors
1.17  UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants' diversity
1.18  Workshop on the use of modern molecular breeding techniques in plant breeding held in Nairobi, Kenya

2.  PUBLICATIONS
2.01  FAO Biotechnology Glossary now available in seven languages - Russian version just released
2.02  The Plant Genome: A new journal of the Crop Science Society of America
2.03  Geneconserve: an open access journal
2.04  Mycotoxins: detection methods, management, public health and agricultural trade
2.05  Call for papers for the UNESCO-EOLSS Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems

3.  WEB RESOURCES
3.01  GIPB Knowledge Resource Center launches the Plant Breeding Electronic Journal Club

4  GRANTS AVAILABLE
4.01  United States Department of Agriculture announces $28.4 million in funding for specialty crop research
4.02  Generation Challenge Programme – Genotyping Support Service proposals

5  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS
5.01  Deputy Administrator for Science and Education Resources Development, CSREES
5.02  Research Geneticist (Plants), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

6  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

7  EDITOR'S NOTES

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1.  NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES

1.01  Cassava for food and energy security

Investing in cassava research and development could boost yields and industrial uses

Rome
The tropical root crop cassava could help protect the food and energy security of poor countries now threatened by soaring food and oil prices, FAO said today. At a global conference held in Ghent, Belgium, cassava scientists called for a significant increase in investment in research and development needed to boost farmers' yields and explore promising industrial uses of cassava, including production of biofuels.

The scientists, who have formed an international network called the Global Cassava Partnership, said the world community could not continue to ignore the plight of low-income tropical countries that have been hardest hit by rising oil prices and galloping food price inflation.

Widely grown in tropical Africa, Asia and Latin America, cassava is the developing world's fourth most important crop, with production in 2006 estimated at 226 million tonnes. It is the staple food of nearly a billion people in 105 countries, where the root provides as much as a third of daily calories. And it has enormous potential – at present, average cassava yields are barely 20% of those obtained under optimum conditions.

Cassava is also the cheapest known source of starch, and used in more than 300 industrial products. One promising application is fermentation of the starch to produce ethanol used in biofuel, although FAO cautions that policies encouraging a shift to biofuel production should carefully consider its effects on food production and food security.

Orphan crop
Despite growing demand and its production potential, however, cassava remains an 'orphan crop'. It is grown mainly in areas that have little or no access to improved varieties, fertilizer and other production inputs, by small scale farmers often cut off from marketing channels and agro-processing industries. Governments have not yet made the needed investments in value-added research that would make cassava starch products competitive on an international scale.

The Ghent meeting was the first global scientific conference of the Global Cassava Partnership, a consortium formed - under the auspices of the FAO-facilitated Global Cassava Development Strategy - by international organizations, including FAO, CIAT, IFAD and IITA, national research institutions, NGOs and private partners.

Participants reviewed the current state of cassava production worldwide and future prospects. They agreed on a number of new projects, which will be offered immediately to the donor community, and a set of investments needed if cassava is to realize its full potential in addressing the global food and energy crisis.

They included establishment of a cassava chain delivery system to channel technical advances to poor farmers ('from seed to field to market'), improvements in soil fertility through better management and increased use of inputs, improvements in basic scientific knowledge of cassava, including genomics, expansion of cassava's market share through development of post-harvest products, and training for the next generation of cassava researchers in developing countries.

Contact: FAO Media Office
FAO-Newsroom@fao.org

Source: Online news from FAO: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/
25 July 2008

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1.02  GIPB launches call for information on genetic resources and breeding of underutilized bioenergy crops

Jjatropha, castor bean, sugar beet and sweet sorghum

Rome, Italy
Many underutilized or neglected plant species are grown or used very little, or very locally, but have great promise for contributing to sustainable energy production, livelihood and rural development. However, success in domestication and production of underutilized bioenergy crops will depend on a wide range of preconditions. Among the most basic of these is the understanding of the genetic resources available through natural selection over time and from selections of adapted materials by farmers and breeders.

So far, the genetic resources of underexploited bioenergy crops in general are very poorly documented; little is known about the genetic variability, its useful characteristics, how to access breeding material and share it as a public good, and how to utilize it in breeding programmes to generate improved cultivars suitable for production in different agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions.

This call for studies and analysis aims at expanding information on genetic resources of selected bioenergy crops. The information will also support the development of a guide on genetic resource assessment and use, which will help ongoing efforts directed at enhancing the potential of underutilized bioenergy crops for smallholder producers. These information resources will help bridge the knowledge gap and assist stakeholders to improve their ability to resolve constraints relating to genetic diversity characterisation and utilization.

This is the first Call for Letters of Intention for production of expanded up-to-date information on genetic resources and breeding of selected bioenergy species, together with detailed analysis of their potential as bioenergy crops adaptable to sustainable smallholder production systems.

Species of interest under this Call are jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.), castor bean (Ricinus communis L.), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) and Pongamia (Pongamia pinnata L.). Only one species must be considered per Letter of Intention. The same applicant may submit more than one Letter of Intention.

All applications must be written in English and the deadline for submission of Letters of Intention is 1st September 2008.

Click HERE to open the announcement (PDF) with more detailed information.

Source: Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building
22 July 2008

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1.03  New regional seed association formed

History was made on 18 July in Istanbul, Turkey when the formation of the new regional seed association was announced by 10 member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region comprising of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The decision to form this association followed an intense two-day consultative meeting amongst delegates, which was held on 17-18 July under the aegis of the ECO Secretariat as part of the intra-regional Technical Cooperation Project supported by FAO and implemented jointly with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Prior to that a three-day regional workshop on harmonization of seed regulations attended by more than 50 Senior Government officials and representatives of the private sector, after discussing technical and policy issues, endorsed harmonization and the need for a regional association to translate this into a reality.

The delegates worked day and night reviewing the existing opportunities for public-private partnerships and reached a consensus to embark on the formation of the new regional seed association that will represent the interests of all the member countries and contribute to the development of the seed sector in the region. In recognition of the advanced nature of the Turkish seed industry and the leadership role it could play in ensuring the visibility and viability of the association, the delegates agreed to locate the headquarters of the regional seed association in Ankara.

Also present at the meeting were international experts as well as executives of the International Seed Federation (ISF) representing the global seed industry and the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA) who shared their experiences in facilitating seed security and seed trade.

ECO, FAO and ICARDA worked closely with member countries, and particularly the Government of Turkey in facilitating the meeting which lead to the formation of the regional seed association. The membership of the association will be open to all seed companies and service providers to the seed industry from ECO region and beyond.

The ECO member countries collectively represent a huge seed market worth billions of dollars. The estimated domestic annual seed market based on potential demand in the top three countries alone is close to US $1 billion.

In his opening statement Dr Metin Genckol, Director of Agriculture and Tourism of ECO, stressed that “the ECO region covers about 800 million ha with rich diversity in agro-ecology, farming systems, crops and a population of over 350 million. We are cultivating barely half of the available land (only 24%) from the potential cultivable area of 49%. Obviously there is great opportunity for expansion and diversification of agriculture in the era of soaring food prices”.

Dr Zewdie Bishaw, Head of ICARDA’s Seed Unit, said that “organizing the seed industry is in the best interest of farmers. “Today the winners are the farmers of the ECO region who would be served better through better organized seed industry,” he added.

In his closing remarks Dr Michael Larinde of FAO said: “Today we have planted a seed which should be nurtured to develop into a productive plant that would bear fruits to meet regional food security”.

For more information contact the following people:
Metin Genckol, ECO Secretariat, Tehran, Iran; registry@ecosecretariat.org

Michael A. Larinde, FAO, Rome, Italy; michael.larinde@fao.org

Zewdie Bishaw, ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria; z.bishaw@cgiar.org

Contributed by Ravi R. Prasad
Communications / Media Specialist
ICARDA

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1.04  ICRISAT and Pravardhan Seeds launch hybrid pigeonpea seeds

Red gram or pigeonpea is an important pulse crop of India where it is grown on about 3.5 million ha. It is a favorite dal (tuar or arhar) of Indian cuisine. It is a very suitable crop for rainfed agriculture because it is drought tolerant, needs minimum inputs and produces reasonable yields under unfavorable agro-ecological conditions.

Over the past 50 years, pigeonpea productivity has not increased in spite of several new varieties being released. To achieve a breakthrough in yield, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) developed an innovative breeding technology to develop commercial hybrids in this crop, the first such attempt in any food legume.  ICRISAT is working with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, State Agricultural Universities, Seed Corporations, and private seed companies in this effort.

After 25 years of intense research, the world’s first cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) based pigeonpea hybrid ICPH 2671 was developed by ICRISAT in 2005, and has been named as ‘Pushkal’ by Pravardhan Seeds. This hybrid is suitable for cultivation in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.  Pushkal was launched today by the Director General of ICRISAT, Dr William D Dar. Also present were Mr Murahari Rao, Managing Director of Pravardhan Seeds and senior officials from ICRISAT and Pravardhan Seeds.

Launching the hybrid for cultivation, Dr William Dar said that the world is witnessing marked volatility in food and energy prices. Reduced global stocks, climate change, rising human population, natural calamities such as droughts, coupled with speculative response to the market signals are a few reasons for spiraling prices of food and other essential commodities. Expressing his concern, Dr. Dar said that nearly every agricultural commodity is fueling the rising price trend.

Stressing the need for urgent attention, Dr Dar said that the bulk of food proteins in India are derived from pulse crops that are generally grown under low-input and risk-prone marginal environments with low and unstable yields. The Green Revolution of the 1970s ignored legumes that are a major source of protein in the developing world. At present the protein availability in India is less than one-third of the recommended dietary allowance.

Since the food production balance in India will always remain in favor of cereals, the issue of protein availability assumes greater significance. Options such as increasing the pulses growing area, intensive cropping, and enhanced inputs have limited scope in India. Therefore, to harvest additional protein the cultivation of hybrid legumes is the most prudent alternative, Dr Dar opined.

Dr CLL Gowda, Global Theme Leader, Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, said that the CMS based hybrid seed technology is ready for take off with all its major components in place.  The major responsibility, now, is to take this research product to the clients – the farmers of rainfed agriculture.

Considering the high yield potential of the technology, it is expected that farmers with both small and large holdings will adopt the hybrids. Since small scale and resource poor farmers predominantly cultivate pigeonpea, it will be important to keep the seed cost within the reach of the farmers, he said.

Dr KB Saxena, the scientist behind this breakthrough, said that the new technology promises to break the yield barrier, which has been plaguing Indian agriculture for the past five decades. In achieving this milestone, Dr. Saxena and his team struggled for 35 years to overcome various scientific hurdles. He was very optimistic about the adoption of the hybrid technology. He further mentioned that in achieving this goal the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) provided full support in the research and development of this technology.

At ICRISAT the experimental hybrids have recorded 20% to150% yield advantage over the best checks, ideal for bringing the next quantum jump in yield. Eminent agricultural scientist Dr MS Swaminathan had mentioned that, “hybrid pigeonpea technology is like dwarfing genes in wheat and rice and this will create a second green revolution” in India. This breakthrough is the  result of ICRISAT’s strong public-private partnership.

On the basis of results from three years and 21 test locations, ICRISAT scientists believe that hybrid technology in pigeonpea has become a profound success. One of the important outcomes of the research program is Pushkal (ICPH 2671). This high yielding, disease (wilt and sterility mosaic) resistant hybrid was bred at ICRISAT and gives about 30-40% yield advantage over the popular variety Maruti.  The seed production of the parental lines of Pushkal has been tried successfully.

Mr Murahari Rao, M.D. Pravardhan Seeds, said that hybrid pigeonpea technology has a great potential for enhancing yield and farmers will surely accept this hybrid and other hybrids. He also thanked ICRISAT for providing the genetic material for development of Pushkal.

For further information, contact Dr KB Saxena, Principal Pigeonpea Breeder, ICRISAT, at k.saxena@cgiar.org.

Contributed by Gopikrishna Warrier
ICRISAT
w.gopikrishna@CGIAR.ORG

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1.05  Groundnut variety maintenance at Maroua Research Centre in North Cameroon

A. Hamasselbe

In North Cameroon, groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a staple food crop that ranks third only to cotton and cereals (sorghum, millet and maize) in terms of total land area cultivated.

In order to increase groundnut production in the region, the breeding programme based at Maroua Regional Centre of Agricultural Research has released more than ten improved varieties since 1982. Of these improved cultivars, only five varieties are maintained for breeder seed production using low income obtained from the sale of foundation seeds.

These varieties were evaluated in 2007 for varietal purity, shelling percentage and 100 seed weight at the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) farm, Maroua in North Cameroon.

Each variety was grown in a 10 m x 5 m plot size. At harvest, two samples of 1 kg of dried pods per variety were collected and analysed in the groundnut section laboratory.

- Varietal purity: this character varied from 52.4% for JL 24 to 97.3% for 28-206, indicating large range of variation in the varieties tested.

- Shelling percentage: the variety 28-206 showed the least shelling percentage (15.0%) while JL 24 had the highest (72.4%).

- 100 seed weight: this character ranged from 34.4 g for K3237-80 to 51.1 g for JL 24.

The results suggest that pedigree selection could be required to improve varietal purity of the breeder varieties tested for which the satisfactory limit of varietal purity is 100%. In addition, agronomic practices could be improved to increase shelling percentage and 100 seed weight of the varieties.

In short term, it is not possible to undertake these suggestions due to the lack of research funding since the end of the Groundnut Germplasm Project (GGP) in 2001.

For more complete information on these results contact:
Aboubakar Hamasselbe
ahamasselbe@yahoo.com

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1.06  European corn production faces powerful beetle

One of the world's most dangerous pests to corn is a tiny insect known as the Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera). It is now spreading across Europe and could soon be responsible for yield losses of up to 80 percent. Permanent populations of the corn pest have become established in Austria, Switzerland and France and the pest has already emerged in the southern states of Germany.

The problem with the corn rootworm is that it has no direct natural enemies in Europe. One theoretical alternative means of control is crop rotation. This approach cannot guarantee long-term success, however. The pathogen has developed numerous resistances to this measure, including one-year egg dormancy. Longest-lasting control is achieved with crop protection agents. Effective insecticides can either be sprayed onto the leaves of the corn plant or delivered with spot precision and high effectiveness into the soil through seed dressing. Use of dressed seeds is probably the most ecofriendly way of using crop protection agents.

To read more about the Western corn rootworm, visit http://www.bayercropscience.com/BCSWeb/CropProtection.nsf/id/EN_2008-NST-033 .

Source: CropBiotech Update
25 July 2008

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

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1.07  Useful traits from earliest Mexican wheats

Hundreds of years ago, Spanish monks brought wheat to use in Roman Catholic religious ceremonies. Now scientists at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) are scouring for these sacramental wheats to be used as sources of traits like disease resistance and drought tolerance. Field trials at CIMMYT Cuidad Obregón wheat research facility show that some sacramental wheats have better early ground cover, quickly covering the soil and safeguarding moisture from evaporating. Others have enhanced levels of soluble stem carbohydrates which help fill the wheat grain even under drought, while some show better water uptake in deep soils thanks to their deep roots.

Sacramental wheats also proved to be useful in fighting a new leaf rust race that appeared on Altar 84, the most widely-grown wheat cultivar in Sonora, Mexico. The CIMMYT durum collection of sacramental wheats from Oaxaca, Mexico, displayed minor gene or major gene resistance to the new leaf rust race. CIMMYT researchers are still unlocking the potential of sacramental wheats. "We started to characterize them for resistance to leaf and yellow rust, and the collections from the state of Mexico for wheat head scab and Septoria," says Julio Huerta, CIMMYT wheat pathologist. " We were surprised to find many, many resistant lines. "But until we finish characterizing all of them, we won't know what else is there."

The complete article is available at http://www.cimmyt.org/english/wps/news/2008/jun/earliest_mexican.htm .

Source: CropBiotech Update
18 July 2008

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

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1.08  Good breeding increases shelf life - Packaged salad-cut lettuce studied for stability, freshness

The lettuce cut and packaged for food service and salad mixes is an increasingly important component of the produce industry. Lettuce is highly perishable, and the cutting required in processing further shortens its shelf life.

Packaging cut lettuce and other fresh produce in semipermeable plastic films extends shelf life via a technique called "modified-atmosphere packaging". The success of modified-atmosphere (MA) packaging for lettuce and certain salad greens has led to innovative products, marketing strategies, and enhanced sales to consumers.

Increased demand for the convenient, pre-cut salads and lettuce has led to scientists to search for ways to select lettuce cultivars that stay fresh, colorful, and crisp. Shelf life and visual quality of salad-cut lettuce are affected by many things, including production environment, vegetative maturity, and type of lettuce chosen. Although an increasing variety of lettuce types are being grown, romaine and "crisphead" (such as iceberg) are the most widely produced for salad-cut products

Ryan J. Hayes, a research geneticist, and Yong-Biao Liu, research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, published the results of a study that should give lettuce breeders and producers enhanced product information and a market edge. During the two-year study, lettuce was processed from field-grown plants of 33 romaine and three "crisphead" cultivars. Shelf life of each cultivar was evaluated after storage in modified-atmosphere bags and in CO2-free controlled-atmosphere chambers.

Lettuce cultivars 'Clemente', 'Darkland', and 'Green Forest' performed consistently well, ranking in the top 10 in every experiment. 'Alpi', 'Dark Green Romaine', and 'Queen of Hearts' showed clearly unstable shelf life. Hayes noted, "cultivars that performed well in our MA environments will likely be useful as parents in breeding programs to develop new romaine cultivars with an acceptable shelf life. It is also clear that not all crisphead cultivars have good shelf life. Wide variation was observed between the crisphead cultivars Pacific, Salinas 88, and La Brillante."

In concluding the impact of the study outcomes, Hayes stated; "Breeders can use these methods to characterize or identify breeding lines that are suitable for salad-cut markets before release, and to select for increased shelf life within breeding populations. These practices should facilitate a consistent release of germplasm with high quality in MA environments."

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science electronic journal web site: http://journal.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/133/2/228

Source: American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) via SeedQuest.com
18 July 2008

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1.09  New DuPont markers for soybean productivity

Pioneer Hi-Bred recently announced that it has identified and incorporated new proprietary molecular markers into its soybean research program. The new markers will aid in the development of soybeans resistant to Asian soybean rust, soybean aphids and frogeye leaf spot. The company plans to commercialize soybean varieties carrying multiple sources of Asian soybean rust resistance by 2012 in Brazil and by 2013 in the United States. Frogeye leaf spot-resistant and soybean aphid-resistant soybean varieties will be released by the company in 2011.

Molecular markers act as genetic road signs, indicating where scientists should look on a segment of DNA for genes related to a specific trait. Once molecular markers are identified, researchers can use DNA analysis early in product development to screen for the presence of these specific traits. This ability to screen complements extensive trait-specific field testing, for complex traits, driving greater success in research programs.

To read more, visit http://www.pioneer.com/web/site/portal/menuitem.ada5e752304b6d5ca210a210d10093a0/ .

Source: CropBiotech Update
4 July 2008

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

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1.10  Scientists identify genes that control citrus carotenoid content

Citrus fruits are particularly rich in carotenoids, which give them their color and many of their nutritional properties. Recently, a team of scientists from the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD) has identified genes involved in the varying levels of carotenoids in different citrus species. The discovery may lead to citrus varieties with enhanced nutrient content.

There are five key stages in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway, and on the last stage the pathway can proceed to two separate branches depending on the genes expressed. The scientists found out that mandarin and oranges, which naturally contain the highest carotenoid levels, use both branches of the carotenoid biosynthetic process, accumulating all the different compounds. Environmental factors were also found to play a major role in determining the fruits' carotenoid contents. Grapefruit for instance, accumulates more lycopene in the tropics, boosting the red color of its flesh.

Read the full article at http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=959

Source: CropBiotech Update
4 July 2008

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

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1.11  Some plants can adapt to climate change

A new study conducted by scientists from Syracuse University and the University of Sheffield found that some plant species are adaptable to long-term changes in temperature and rainfall. The new findings resulted from the analysis of 13 years of data collected at the Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory (BCCIL) in the United Kingdom by Emeritus Professor J. Philip Grime and colleagues at the University of Sheffield. BCCIL is a field laboratory of grasslands consisting largely of slow-growing herbs and sub-shrubs. Thirty small grassland plots were subjected to microclimate manipulation. A similar experiment was concurrently conducted on grasslands in Southern England. In a 2000 study by Grime and colleagues, the vegetation in the southern plots was substantially altered by the climate changes, while the Buxton vegetation in the north was virtually unaffected.

"Contemporary wisdom suggests that climate changes cause plants to move or die," says Jason Fridley, study co-author and assistant professor of biology in The College of Arts and Sciences at SU. "However, our study suggests that if the changes in climate occur slowly enough, some plants have the ability to respond, adapt and thrive in their existing location."

Read the press release at http://sunews.syr.edu/story_details.cfm?id=5149.

Source: CropBiotech Update
11 July 2008

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

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1.12  Higher CO2 level means higher tolerance of barley to salinity

Barley is one of the most important crops in the world. But what does climate change do to barley in the future? A research by Usue Pérez-López of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) found that climate change will bring with it increased in tolerance to salinity in barley. It is predicted that aside from increased CO2 levels, there will be an increase in salinity in the soil in the future, because of greater rate of evaporation. As a result of this increase in salinity the hydric state of barley plants will deteriorate and imbalances in their nutrition will occur due to excess sodium and chlorine (components of salt) and due to lack of potassium, calcium and nitrogen. In essence, the plant will produce less carbohydrates and proteins, which means a reduction in its growth.

Pérez-López found out that high concentrations of CO2 attenuate the loss of water through the plant leaves, due to the fact that the stomas are kept closed and the plant tissues are dehydrated to a lesser degree. High levels of CO2 considerably enhances the hydric state of barley. It also has a positive influence on the photosynthesis of the plant because, despite the fact that the plant keeps its stomas shut, the diffusion of CO2 between the exterior and the interior of the leaf is greater. The oxidative stress level of barley (the oxidation suffered by a plant due to high salinity) was also determined. Pérez-López found that high concentrations of CO2 alleviate this stress. The study concluded that the increase in CO2 enables greater growth of barley plants subject to saline conditions, thanks to the improvement in their hydric state and turgescence, but, above all, to the increase in photosynthesis.

Read the complete article at http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=1819&hizk=I .

Source: CropBiotech Update
11 July 2008

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

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1.13  New Tecoma cultivars bring color to gardens

The United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has released three new cultivars of an ornamental shrub called Tecoma. It includes 14 species of shrubs and small trees from the trumpet-creeper family, found in the Americas from the southern United States through northern Argentina, and in Africa. The three Tecoma cultivars developed by ARS were named 'Miami Sunset', 'Miami Sunrise', and 'Tangelo'. All three cultivars have inherent resistance to insect pests requiring little or no pesticides.

To read more visit http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2008/080715.htm.

Source: CropBiotech Update
18 July 2008

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

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1.14  Scientists unlock the key to rice nutrition

Washington, DC
Rice is the primary food for more than 3 billion people around the world. New research, funded by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), may allow scientists to improve the nutritional value of rice, affecting the health of more than 70 million of the world's poorest people in developing countries.

Researcher Zhaohua Peng and colleagues at Mississippi State University and The Ohio State University determined that chromatin plays an essential role in the control of endosperm sizes and grain quality. The results obtained in this study are applicable not only to rice, but other cereal crops as well in improving grain yield and nutritional quality.

The endosperm portion of grain is an important component in determining the nutrient content for most cereal crops as it provides growing plant nutrition, such as starch, oils and protein. This makes endosperm an important source of nutrition in the human diet as well.

Chromatin structures store genetic information and control gene expression in cells. In chromatin, a piece of DNA wraps around a group of basic proteins called histones to form a structure similar to the coil of telephone cord. When proteins interact with the chromatin, it adjusts the tightness of the DNA and histone interaction. Genes positioned in loosely packaged chromatin regions are usually active and genes within the tightly package chromatin regions are often silenced.

The scientists used a new approach called proteomics, which examines proteins in a large scale, to gain new insight into the chromatin structure and function in rice. They identified a total of 344 unique proteins associated with chromatin and found a large number of histone variants in rice.

The researchers also determined that chromatin modification genes control the endosperm sizes and grain quality in rice. These findings suggest that manipulating chromatin modification genes may be an effective approach for the improvement of crop yield and quality. Future studies may also clarify how genes are expressed and how these genes control plant functions.

The USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) funded this research project through the National Research Initiative Plant Genome program. Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.

This impact is a service of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. News on other research can be found on the CSREES newsroom at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/newsroom/impacts.html.

By Stacy Kish

Source: SeedQuest.com
28 July 2008

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1.15  Rice genomics research without the GM

A research project led by the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture has a mission: to improve crop varieties through the study of genomics without creating genetically transformed varieties. RiceCAP, or Rice Coordinated Agricultural Project, is funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To speed up the process of plant breeding, scientists use genetic markers identified through genomic research. "Markers are genomic tools, but that doesn't mean we are developing genetically engineered rice varieties," said Jim Correll, a Division of Agriculture professor of plant pathology. Markers reveal the presence of genetic material linked to a particular genetic trait, which allows breeders to more efficiently screen plants for crossbreeding.

RiceCAP is focused on two genetic traits that have been difficult for breeders to improve - resistance of rice plants to the fungal disease sheath blight and milling yield, or the portion of rice kernels that remain whole after milling. Both are difficult problems because they are controlled by environmental factors as well as genetics, and because they involve multiple genes.

Readers can access the complete article at http://dailyheadlines.uark.edu/13139.htm.

Source: CropBiotech Update
4 July 2008

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

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1.16  Sex ratios of plants linked to environmental factors

A new research from the University of Toronto found that environmental factors can transform the ratio of females to males in plant populations. The team, composed of Ivana Stehlik, Jannice Friedman, and University Professor Spencer Barrett used genetic markers (known DNA sequences) to identify the sex of seeds. They investigated six natural populations of the wind-pollinated herb Rumex nivalis in the Swiss Alps and mapped the distance between females and neighboring males. They then measured the amount of pollen captured by female flowers and collected seeds from the plants when they were mature.

Barrett and his team found a strongly female-biased flowering sex ratios in these populations. When there were more males surrounding females, females captured more pollen, matured more seed and produced more strongly female-biased offspring. The authors suggest that when females capture large amounts of pollen, female-determining pollen tubes out compete male-determining pollen tubes to fertilize the single ovule in each flower, resulting to the observed female to male ratio.

To read more, visit http://www.news.utoronto.ca/science-and-technology/u-of-t-discovers-environmental-factors-linked-to-sex-ratios-of-plants.html .

Source: CropBiotech Update
25 July 2008

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

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1.17  UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants' diversity

KNOXVILLE -- What began with an off-the-cuff curiosity eventually led Joe Williams to hang from the limbs of a tree 80 feet above the soil of northeastern Australia.

The things Williams, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researcher found there may help explain the amazing diversity in the world's flowering plants, a question that has puzzled scientists from the time of Charles Darwin to today.

Williams' findings, published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the ability of flowering plants -- known as angiosperms -- to quickly and efficiently move sperm from pollen to egg through a part of the plant was the key to their evolutionary diversity.

His curiosity was based in the time it takes from when pollen lands on a plant to the time that its' seed is fertilized. Williams noticed a recurring theme in the research papers he read:

"They would usually describe how fertilization was occurring, but they never tell you much about timing," said Williams, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UT Knoxville.

For a seeded plant to fertilize, pollen that lands on the flower must grow a tube to carry sperm to the egg. In non-flowering plants, the pathway is usually short, because the pollen tube must destroy cells in its path, which is a time-consuming process. In flowering plants, though, pollen tubes are able to cover longer distances to the egg by essentially "squeezing" between cells. It is a trait that Williams says is vital to their diversification.

"The longer a plant takes to fertilize, for the pollen to reach the egg," said Williams, "the more chance there is for it to die."

When he studied the data he had collected through the years, Williams found that older lineages of flowering plants -- those on lower branches of the angiosperms' evolutionary family tree -- grew shorter tubes of pollen than those that went on to evolve into the diverse array of flowering plants that exist today.

That's what brought Williams to a harness in the rainforest of Australia. To confirm what he found in the data analysis, he pollinated -- by hand -- an ancient vine known as Austrobaileya that grows high in the canopy. He chose that plant, along with another plant found only on the Pacific island of New Caledonia and a water lily that grows high in the Colorado mountains, to test because they developed as species early in flowering plants' evolution.

He found that, when compared to more recently evolved species of angiosperms, the older plants grew shorter pollen tubes and took longer to do so than more diverse modern species. According to Williams, this indicates that these pollen tubes likely played a previously unknown role in spurring the evolution of the roughly 250,000 species of flowering plants we see today.

"As these plants gained the ability to grow pollen tubes faster and over longer distances," said Williams, "It gave them the ability to develop the much larger and more complex flowers as well as deeper ovaries with more seeds -- that is to say, larger fruits -- that we see around us today."
###
Williams' work was funded by UT Knoxville and the National Science Foundation.

Contact: Jay Mayfield
jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu

Source: EurkaAlert.org
28 July 2008

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1.18  Workshop on the use of modern molecular breeding techniques in plant breeding held in Nairobi, Kenya

A workshop on “Molecular Breeding Capacity Building” highlighting the use of modern molecular breeding techniques in plant breeding in Africa, was held at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi.

It was attended by 22 plant breeders from several countries in Africa. The objectives were to identify the opportunities and constraints for applying marker assisted selection (MAS) in national and international plant breeding programs in Africa; and to strengthen Maize and Sorghum Molecular Breeding Community of Practices (CoP) in Africa. Among the issues identified include access to germplasm, breeding materials, training manuals and molecular markers. In addition, ways and means to address these constraints were identified by the participants.

The workshop program included descriptions and discussion on issues in molecular breeding including molecular markers and genotyping systems; marker assisted breeding; genetic diversity and association mapping; and breeding informatics. It is hoped that the theoretical training on MAS will bridge the gap between molecular biologists and conventional plant breeders, resulting in better communications.

The workshop was organized by three international agricultural research centers including CIMMYT, IITA and ICRISAT, and the BecA Hub with financial support from the Generation Challenge Program and the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Yunbi Xu of CIMMYT Mexico maize molecular breeder chaired the organizing committee.

Further details about the BecA research platform are available from s.kelemu@cgiar.org, and on marker assisted capacity building workshop from y.xu@cgiar.org or s.hearne@cgiar.org.

Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com
18 July 2008

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2  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  FAO Biotechnology Glossary now available in seven languages - Russian version just released

Rome, Italy
The FAO Biotechnology Glossary is now available in Russian.

Apart from a translation of the over 3,000 terms and definitions contained in the original English glossary, the 381-page publication also contains an additional English-Russian vocabulary of biotechnology-related terms.

The glossary provides consolidated, comprehensive and accessible definitions of terms and acronyms that are used regularly in biotechnology, including genetic engineering, and closely allied fields.

The initial draft was prepared by G. Camarova (State Agricultural University of Moldova, Republic of Moldova) and revised by T. Gavrilenko, I. Anisimova and O. Antonova (N.I.Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry, Russian Federation) for plant-related terminology and by O. Kuznetsova and S. Kharitonov (Russian State Agrarian University, Russian Federation) for animal-related terminology. It is available in PDF, and soon as a web-based searchable database, at http://www.fao.org/biotech/index_glossary.asp.

The book was prepared by FAO's Research and Extension Division, in collaboration with the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. The original English version was prepared by A. Zaid, H.G. Hughes, E. Porceddu and F. Nicholas in 2001. The glossary has previously been translated into Arabic, French, Serbian, Spanish and Vietnamese and all these seven versions can be downloaded from the above website.

Source: SeedQuest.com
16 July 2008

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2.02  The Plant Genome: A new journal of the Crop Science Society of America

The Plant Genome is an international open-access electronic journal published by the Crop Science Society of America. The goal of The Plant Genome is to provide the readership with a short submission-to-online publication of the latest advances and breakthroughs in plant genomics research.

The Plant Genome publishes original research investigating all aspects of plant genomics. Technical breakthroughs reporting improvements in the efficiency and speed of acquiring and interpreting plant genomics data are welcome. The editorial board will give preference to novel reports that use innovative genomic applications that advance our understanding of plant biology and that may have applications to crop improvement. The journal also publishes invited review articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in genomics and their potential for agronomic improvement.

The first edition of the journal was published on 16 July 2008.

For more information on The Plant Genome, including instructions to authors and the editorial board, please go to The Plant Genome.

Papers may be submitted through The Plant Genome's online submission website at:
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/plantgenome.

We look forward to receiving your manuscripts for publication in The Plant Genome.

David A. Somers
Editor

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2.03  Geneconserve: an open access journal

As an open access journal,Geneconserve (www.geneconserve.pro.br ) is made freely available online to all readers.

In addition to being open access, Geneconserve  will differ from traditional scholarly journals in a number of important ways.

First, the journal will employ a completely transparent peer review system, in which authors and reviewers interact directly throughout the review process. Submitting authors will be asked to suggest potential reviewers for their manuscript, and if these reviewers are approved by the journal's Editorial Office, they will be sent a review request. Reviewers who agree to submit a report will be asked to provide an assessment of the quality of the manuscript, a written critique addressed to the authors, and a written commentary addressed to the journal's readers.

Once the review reports for a manuscript have been submitted, authors will have the choice of revising their manuscript in order to address any concerns raised by the reviewers, or if they have received positive evaluations from at least three reviewers they can choose to move ahead with the publication of their article in its current form. Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, The author is consulted, if he accept,the positive ,stimulative analytic  reviewers' commentaries and their assessment of the manuscript's quality  may  be published alongside the final version of the article.

Another aspect of Geneconserve  which  differs  from many traditional journals is the ability for readers to comment on, and evaluate, published articles (provided acceptance of concerned authors).  This will effectively create a discussion forum around  published article. It will be a source of learning more about experimentation, research and publication too.

Our scope is Plant genetic resources and their manipulation: Topics on taxonomy, conservation and  evolution will receive greatest interest. No any fees will be charged, except in case of translation from Portuguese to English. All other expenses will be covered by a special fund created by Nagib Nassar from his own resources.

If you would be interested in submitting an article to Geneconserve , you may do so using a simple email message to nagnassa@rudah.com.br  Pleae  feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Contributed by Nagib Nassar
Editor
www.geneconserve.pro.br

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2.04  Mycotoxins: detection methods, management, public health and agricultural trade

A new book "Mycotoxins: detection methods, management, public health and agricultural trade" edited by Prof. John Leslie (Kansas State University, USA), Ranajit Bandyopadhyay (IITA) and Dr. Angelo Visconti (Institute of Sciences of Food Production, ISPA, Italy was published by CABI Publishing. The book is the principle proceedings from the MycoGlobe mycotoxin conference organized by IITA and the MycoGlobe Project of the European Commission in Accra during 13-16 September 2005. It comprises of 35 chapters authored by the renowned experts from all over the world, and provides an overview and introduction to mycotoxins and their impact from a public health viewpoint and examines the health, trade and legislation issues involved. Management of mycotoxins – from technical (includes chapters on breeding and molecular biology), institutional and policy aspects -- is discussed in detail as well as the global problems caused by them. More details about the book can be found at http://www.cabi.org/bk_BookDisplay.asp?PID=2114

Contributed by Ranajit Bandyopadhyay
Plant Pathologist
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
r.bandyopadhyay@cgiar.org

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2.05  Call for papers for the UNESCO-EOLSS Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems

We are looking for a few more authors who would be willing to write a 15-20 page peer-reviewed article for a new online encyclopedia sponsored by UNESCO and would appreciate your help in identifying possible collaborators. The project is described in more detail below and is followed by a list of topics to be included in the encyclopedia. Please consider becoming a part of this exciting project! If you are unable to participate at this time, would you please forward this information to colleagues who might potentially be interested in participating? Thank you very much for your help.

Description of Encyclopedia
The UNESCO-EOLSS Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is an integrated online compendium of 16 encyclopedias on themes ranging from Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Biological, Social and Water Sciences, to Food and Agricultural Sciences, Human and Natural Resources Policies and Management, and Development and Economic Sciences. This project attempts to forge pathways between disciplines in order to show their interdependence and helps foster the transdisciplinary aspects of the relationship between nature and human society. It deals with both interdisciplinary and disciplinary subjects, as each major core subject is covered in great depth by world experts.  The EOLSS is the result of an unprecedented global effort and a decade of planning. The leading experts who have contributed to this state-of-the-art publication come from diverse fields. You are invited to visit the EOLSS website www.eolss.net for more information on the concept and structure of this ambitious project.

The Encyclopedia is designed to be a guide and reference for a wide range of users: from natural and social scientists to engineers, economists, educators, university students and professors, conservationists, entrepreneurs, law and policy-makers. The project is coordinated by the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee.

The present edition covers now about 200 themes, each managed by an internationally recognized expert in the field.  Teams of experts are working to regularly update the various sections of the web-based encyclopedia, making EOLSS a living library. The EOLSS already grew to about 57 million words, equivalent to about 130,000 standard pages, and several thousand tables, graphics, boxes, and photographs. Soon, it will mature to its full size of about 70 million words (equivalent to about 200 volumes) by augmentation and updating as often as every week. EOLSS is rapidly becoming the most sought after reference site in the World. A recent count showed that the average number of daily visitors over a week was approximately 81,000. The one-day high recorded over 99,000 visitors! These figures are steadily increasing.

EOLSS-online is made available free of charge to universities on the United Nations list of least developed countries and disadvantaged individuals worldwide. We invite you, your friends and colleagues to visit the online encyclopedia at www.eolss.net for further information on free trial access provisions.

Description of Review Articles
As Honorary Theme Editors of Theme 1.5A: Crop and Soil Sciences we are responsible for the publication of the titles listed below. For many of the topics a suitable author has already been identified; however, for a number of others we are still in search of interested people who are willing and interested in contributing. In this context we are inviting you to write a peer-reviewed paper of approximately 15-20 pages on one or more of the topics listed below. The objective is to come up with a well documented REVIEW PAPER on the topic, to be submitted within a maximum timeframe of SIX MONTHS from now. Authors receive an honorarium of US$30 per thousand words. We are looking for either Retired Professors or Senior Research experts, who are willing and able to put their long-time experience on paper or for young dynamic Researchers and Assistant Professors aware of modern developments in their particular fields, but supported in co-authorship by an experienced Senior Scientist or Full Professor. The objective is NOT to present a research report but a scientifically sound and up to date review paper on the topic.

Colleagues interested in collaborating on this project are requested to contact us at their earliest convenience. Potential collaborators should include a short CV documenting their experience in the subject. They will then receive additional information on format and editing rules.

Melanie Bayles
Co-Editor EOLS-UNESCO Encyclopedia Theme 1.5A
Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences
378 AG Hall
Stillwater OK 74078
melanie.bayles@okstate.edu

Em. Prof. W. Verheye
Honorary Theme Editor EOLS-UNESCO Theme 1.5A
c/o Acacialaan, 21, B-9840 De Pinte, Belgium
WLVerheye@telenet.be

List of the topics in Theme 1.5A: Crop and Soil Sciences
(Only titles that are open for new authors are listed)

15A.01: Soils and General Agronomy
15A.10:  Seed Physiology
15A.11:  Seed Production and Technology
15A.13:  Corn Science and Production
15A.15:  Rice Science and Production
15A.17:  Growth and Production of Soybeans
15A.18:  Growth and Production of Pulses
15A.22:  Growth and Production of Sugarcane
15A.23:  Growth and Production of Tropical Food Crops: Cassava, Yam and Sweet Potato
15A.24:  Growth and Production of Citrus and Bananas
15A.25:  Growth and Production of Tropical Food Tree Crops: Avocado, Papaya, Litchi and Mango
15A.26:  Growth and Production of Coffee, Cacao and Tea
15A.33:  Crop Quality

Contributed by Melanie Bayles, melanie.bayles@okstate.edu via Ann Marie Thro, ATHRO@CSREES.USDA.GOV

3.  WEB RESOURCES

3.01  GIPB Knowledge Resource Center launches the Plant Breeding Electronic Journal Club
 
The GIPB Knowledge Resource Center is launching the Plant Breeding Electronic Journal Club, a virtual place that allows communities to meet and critically evaluate plant breeding and related fields' articles in the scientific literature.

This e-Journal Club is directed to professionals and students interested in discussing relevant plant breeding themes and issues.   Its majors objectives are to help improve skills of understanding and debating current topics of interest to plant breeding and to promote intellectually stimulating and  professionally rewarding exchange with colleagues from around the world.

This e-Journal Club will use Fireboard, a forum component fully integrated to the GIPB website, which allows implementation of many e-Journal Club groups simultaneously. Dr. Fred Bliss kindly agreed to serve as the convener of this first GIPB e-Journal Club, which will discuss the article “Quantitative  Genetics, Genomics, and the Future of Plant Breeding” by Dr. Bruce Walsh.

In order to participate you just need to follow the instructions in the front page of the GIPB website (http://km.fao.org/gipb).  Registration is now opened and the e-Journal Club will start on Wednesday, 6 August 2008.

Please, note that discussion in this first e-Journal Club will be held in English, but proposals of conveners willing to start e-Journal Clubs in other languages can be sent to gipb@fao.org.

We look forward to your participation.

Contributed by:
Elcio Guimarães
Maurício Lopes
Michela Paganini
E-Journal Club Facilitators

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4.  GRANTS AVAILABLE

4.01  United States Department of Agriculture announces $28.4 million in funding for specialty crop research

Washington, DC
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced today that USDA is making available $28.4 million for research and extension projects in fiscal year 2008 to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops.

"This is a substantial investment in scientific research and technology for production of specialty crops that will advance their large contribution to America's agriculture both domestically and in world markets," said Schafer.

The U.S. specialty crop industry is comprised of producers and handlers of fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops, including floriculture. It is a major contributor to the U.S. agricultural economy, accounting for 10 million harvested cropland acres in 2004. The total value of U.S. specialty crops is over $50 billion in sales, which puts the combined value of these crops in league with the five major program crops.

Funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative was a major initiative in USDA's farm bill proposal and is authorized through the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. The 2008 farm bill provides an additional $50 million each year for fiscal years 2009 through 2012 for a total of $230 million over the five years of the farm bill. Those interested in applying for funding can access the request for applications online at www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/rfas/specialty_crop.html

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative has five focus areas:
1) plant breeding, genetics and genomics research to improve crop characteristics;
2) efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases;
3) innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening;
4) efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity and profitability; and
5) methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.csrees.usda.gov.

As of Friday, July 11, 2008, application forms and instructions for completing and submitting those forms via the Grants.gov Web site are not available for download. These materials will be available on our site Monday, July 14, 2008.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: August 14, 2008

Source: SeedQuest.com
11 July 2008

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4.02  Generation Challenge Programme – Genotyping Support Service proposals

Please note that the deadline for submission of proposals for the GCP’s Genotyping Support Service has been extended to 10th September 2008.

This new deadline supersedes the 31st August 2008 deadline in GCP News Issue 32.

For more information, please visit http://www.generationcp.org/latestnews.php?i=1279

Source: GCP News

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5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

5.01  Deputy Administrator for Science and Education Resources Development, CSREES

CSREES vacancy announcement number CSREES:SES:08-13 for the position of Deputy Administrator for Science and Education Resources Development is now open.  Application and supplemental information must arrive at the address shown in the announcement by the September 3, 2008, closing date.  A copy of the vacancy announcement may be obtained from the Office of Personnel Management website at http://www/usajobs.gov/

For more information about the position, contact Betty Lou Gilliland on 202-720-5506.  For information on the application process, contact Deborah Crump on 301-504-1448. "CSREES Science and Education Resources Development (SERD) Deputy Administrator Vacancy Announcement:

For ag scientists who are U.S. citizens and have an interest in education, this is a leadership position for USDA's activities in education, from kindergarten through graduate school.  SERD also includes the CSREES International Programs unit, which collaborates with U.S. universities in international activities; and the Current Research Information System (CRIS).   The position is an exciting opportunity in a time when there is renewed reason for attention to ag science education and globalization.

Deadline for applications is Sept. 3, 2008.

Contributed by Betty Lou Gilliland, via Ann Marie Thro
CSREES, USDA
athro@csrees.usda.gov

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5.02  Research Geneticist (Plants), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

The USDA-ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Georgia is seeking a permanent full-time scientist to conduct research requiring the application of molecular and conventional technologies in order to develop germplasm and cultivars of adapted, warm-season grasses.  The primary focus will be on turfgrasses.  Specific objectives include: 1) identification and characterization of traits important in developing germplasm suitable for turf; 2) development and use of marker assisted selection to accelerate development of improved warm-season grass germplasm; 3) development and evaluation of new genetic resources using traditional and molecular approaches; 4) technology transfer of research results to customers, including other public and private industry researchers.  Team research will include the development of warm-season grasses for bioenergy and forage purposes.  Candidate will responsible for reporting research results and for providing general supervision to one technician and students.

For details and application directions, a full text vacancy announcement may be obtained via the Internet at www.afm.ars.usda.gov/divisions/hrd/index.html.  Announcement number ARS-X8S-0177 or call Debbie Padgett, 229-386-3504.  U.S. Citizenship is required.  A Federal benefits package is available.  Applications must be postmarked by October 10, 2008.  USDA-ARS is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Contributed by Kathy Marchant
Kathy.Marchant@ARS.USDA.GOV

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6. MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

*
New listings. May include some program details, while repeat listings will include only basic information. Visit web sites for additional details.


24 – 29 August 2008. International IUFRO-CTIA 2008 Joint Conference: Adaptation, Breeding and Conservation in the Era of Forest Tree Genomics and Environmental Change, Loews Le Concorde, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. www.iufro-ctia2008.ca

September 2008.UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center announces second session of the Plant Breeding Academy, Davis, California.
The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is pleased to be accepting applications for its second class, starting in September 2008. Visit the Plant Breeding Academy website for more information and to apply for the 2008-2010 Academy.

8-9 September 2008. Course on cassava genetic resources and their manipulation for crop improvement, offered by prof. Nagib Nassar at  ESALQ, USP, Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil

For inscription, kindly contact prof. Paulo Kageyama, email kageyama@esalq.usp.br,  Dept. Florestal, ESALQ.

Audiovisual support for the course can be found at:
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/parte1.pdf
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/parte2.pdf
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/parte3.pdf
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/parte4.pdf
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/parte5.pdf

*(NEW) 10-12 September 2008. National Seminar on Recent Trends in Research on Spices and Aromatic Plants, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar – 125 004 (HARYANA)
Topics:
i) Biodiversity Conservation and Evaluation
ii) Crop Improvement
iii) Crop and Seed Production
iv) Crop Protection
v) Biotechnological Approaches
vi) Post harvest, Management and Processing
vii) Marketing
viii) Scientists, growers and traders interaction

Correspondence Addresses:
1. For Spice Crops:
S.K. Arora, Department of Vegetable Science, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, aicrpspices@hau.ernet.in; vegscience@hau.ernet.in

2. For Aromatic Crops:
P. K. Verma, Medicinal, Aromatic & Under-Utilized Plants Section, Department of Plant Breeding, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar-125 004 (Haryana).
mauup@hau.ernet.in; pkverma@hau.ernet.in

Contributed by EVD Sastry
evdsastry@aol.in

11- 15 September 2008. 5th International Hybrid Rice Symposium. Changsha, China. www.5thishr.cn.

14 – 18 September 2008. Harlan II: An International Symposium – Biodiversity in Agriculture: Domestication, Evolution, & Sustainability, University of California, Davis. http://harlanii.ucdavis.edu/index.htm

14-18 September 2008. The 12th International Lupin Conference, Fremantle, Western Australia conference@lupins.org. http://www.lupins.org/

17-20 September 2008. 19th New Phytologist Symposium -- Physiological Sculpture of Plants: new visions and capabilities for crop development, Mount Hood, Oregon, USA.www.newphytologist.org .

22 – 26 September 2008. All Africa Congress on Biotechnology, Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the Congress will be ‘Harnessing the Potential of Agricultural Biotechnology for Food Security and Socio-Economic Development in Africa’.
www.abneta.org/congress and www.absfafrica.org and www.africa-union.org 

29 September 2008 – 5 June 2009.International Master in Plant Breeding (17th edition), Zaragoza (Spain),
http://www.iamz.ciheam.org/ingles/cursos08-09/mejveg0809-pub-ing.htm

6 – 31 October 2008. Regional training programme on Plant Genetic Resources and Seeds: Policies, Conservation and Use, Ethiopia.
www.cdic.wur.nl/UK/newsagenda
Application forms can be downloaded from the website of Wageningen International, and should be submitted by e-mail to: training.wi@wur.nl

20–31 October 2008. International Course on Crop Prebreeding, Maracay, Venezuela.
( http://km.fao.org/gipb/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=24&Itemid=112 ).

26–31 October 2008. 4th International Silicon in Agriculture Conference, Wild Coast Sun Resort, Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
www.siliconconference.org.za.

*(NEW) 3-5 November 2008. Workshop: "Mixed Models in Plant Improvement".The University of Western Australia, International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research.

A hands-on workshop for plant breeders seeking to improve the design and analysis of single/multi environment experiments.  Register your interest to receive more information with Assoc Prof Wallace Cowling. (Look for the website in next month’s newsletter)

Contributed by Wallace A. Cowling
The University of Western Australia
wcowling@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

3–7 November 2008. 7th International Safflower Conference, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. http://www.australianoilseeds.com/registration

*(NEW) 4-8 November 2008. 3rd International Conference for Peanut Genomics and Biotechnology on Advances in Arachis through Genomics and Biotechnology (AAGB-2008), ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India

AAGB-2008 is focusing on improving the productivity, quality and safety issues of peanut/groundnut using modern genomics and biotechnology tools. The conference will be organized under well-structured technical sessions that will include invited lectures by eminent speakers/experts in their field across the world. The conference will be dealing with following themes - Genetic Resources, Allelic Diversity, Germplasm Enhancement, Genomic Resources, Comparative Genomics, Gene Discovery, Biotic and Abiotic Stresses, and Product Quality and Safety. A poster exhibition on these major themes will also be arranged during the conference. Excursions and sight seeing tours to some of the world heritage sites in Hyderabad will also be arranged. The Organizing Committee is endeavoring to make this event scientifically rewarding and socially enjoyable.

For further details, please visit http://www.icrisat.org/aagb-2008 / http://www.peanutbioscience.com  or contact Rajeev Varshney (r.k.varshney@cgiar.org) for further details

*(NEW) 17-28 November 2008. Molecular methodologies for assessing and applying genetic diversity in crop breeding, ICRISAT Campus at Patancheru, Greater Hyderabad, India.
 
ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG), supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, is pleased to announce its second Training Course. The course will provide participants a hands-on opportunity to gain expertise in the use of molecular markers (SSRs, SNPs and DArTs) in diversity analysis, gene/QTL mapping and marker-assisted breeding.

Details about the training course and online submission of applications are available at http://www.icrisat.org/CEG/   . For questions, please contact Rajeev Varshney (r.k.varshney@cgiar.org).

*(NEW) 3-7 November 2008. 7th International Safflower Conference, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. http://www.australianoilseeds.com/registration/conference_information

*(NEW) 9-14 November 2008. 5th International Symposium of the European Amaranth Association. Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovak Republic. Organized by the Institute of Plant Genetics and Biotechnology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovak Republic and AMR AMARANTH a.s., Blansko, Czech Republic.

New deadlines:
Registration form and abstract submission   -  August 31, 2008.
Payment (we will confirm before Sept.15)  -  September 15, 2008

Please, do not pay before we confirm that the conference will be organized in this year.

Main topics:
1. Agrotechnical aspects of amaranth cultivation
2. Amaranth genetic resources – environmental, nutritional and molecular evaluation
3. Breeding and biotechnology approaches for amaranth improvement
4. Impact of amaranth cultivation on sustainable agriculture, phytoremediation, forage and biomass production
5. Importance of amaranth in human nutrition -impact on human health, biomedicine and industrial processing.

Contributed by Helmut Knüpffer
Genebank Department, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
knupffer@ipk-gatersleben.de, HKnuepffer@web.de

24 – 27 November 2008. Conventional and Molecular Breeding of Field and Vegetable Crops. Novi Sad, Serbia. For more information contact: tanja@ifvcns.ns.ac.yu.

7-11 December 2008. Vth International Symposium on Horticultural Research, Teaching and Extension, Chiang Mai, Thailand. http://muresk.curtin.edu.au/conference/ishset/topic.html

7-12 December 2008. International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics IV Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  http://www.ccg.unam.mx/iclgg4/

9-12 December 2008. Global Potato Conference 2008. NASC Complex, New Delhi, India. http://www.gpc2008.in. For registration inquiries, contact Dr JS Minhas at minhasjs@excite.com

9-12 December 2008. Second International Symposium on Papaya, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. http://www.ishs-papaya2008.com/About%20the%20symposium.html

*(NEW) 8-11 February 2009. International Conference on “Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance,”  Vienna, Austria http://www.univie.ac.at/stressplants/

The conference will cover the following topics:
-Plant Response to Cold and Heat Stresses
-Plant Response to Drought, Salt, and Osmotic Stresses
-Plant Response to Heavy Metal and Oxidative Stresses
-Plant Response to Nutrient Stresses
-Signal Transduction of Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants
-Functional Genomics of Abiotic Stress Tolerance
-Breeding and Biotechnology of Abiotic Stress Tolerance

For any questions please contact conference organisers: stressplants.pflanzenmolbio@univie.ac.at

Contributed by Marie Baubin
baubin@mondial-congress.com

24 – 26 March 2009. Sixth International Integrated Pest Management Symposium. Transcending Boundaries, Portland, Oregon. www.ipmcenters.org/ipmsymposium09

*(NEW) 26-29 May 2009. 19th EUCARPIA Conference, Genetic Resources Section, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Early registration and abstract submission: February 2009. www.eucarpia.kis.si

Contributed by Helmut Knüpffer
Genebank Department, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
knupffer@ipk-gatersleben.de, HKnuepffer@web.de

1-5 June 2009. 6th International Triticeae Symposium. Kyoto University Conference Hall, Kyoto, Japan
Contact:
Taihachi Kawahara kawatai@mbox.kudpc.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Kazuhiro Sato kazsato@rib.okayama-u.ac.jp

21–25 September 2009. 1st International Jujube Symposium, Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding, China. www.ziziphus.net/2008

*(NEW) 11-16 October 2009. Interdrought-III, The 3rd international conference on integrated approaches to improve crop production under drought-prone environments; Shanghai, China. Conference web site: http://www.interdrought.org/. Previous Interdrought conferences at www.plantstress.com

Contributed by Abraham Blum
Conference Chair
ablum@plantstress.com

2-5 August 2010. 10th International Conference on Grapevine Breeding and Genetics.  http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/hp/events/

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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 a component of the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB), and is published monthly 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 Ann Marie Thro (athro@reeusda.gov). The editor will advise subscribers one to two weeks ahead of each edition, in order to set deadlines for contributions.

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.

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