PLANT BREEDING NEWS

 

EDITION 201

31 May 2009

 

An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant Breeding

 

Clair H. Hershey, Editor

chh23@cornell.edu

 

Sponsored by GIPB, FAO/AGPC and Cornell University’s Department 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  Where will the food come from?

1.02  New varieties are vital in a changing climate

1.03  Research shows maize production in Nigeria can be doubled

1.04  Hunt for “climate-ready” crops accelerates as organizations search seed collections worldwide

1.05  Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis to expand and establish the European Plant Breeding Academy

1.06  Securing future harvests of farmers in dry areas

1.07  The Plant Breeding Center at North Carolina State University gains three new plant breeders

1.08  The fastest spreading potato variety in China

1.09  Promising selection HS2180-1-31-13-1-1-1-1 for roselle industry in Malaysia

1.10  Measuring the economic impacts of transgenic crops in developing agriculture during the first decade

1.11  World wheat groups say biotech in sync is the goal

1.12  Kenya likely to commercialize Bt cotton by 2011

1.13  USDA/ARS preserves plants and animals for future needs

1.14  Brazil and South Korea to enhance cooperation in genetic resources

1.15  Modern crop varieties can increase local genetic diversity

1.16  New shipment of seeds to the North Pole

1.17  The potato Neo-Tuberosum theory questioned by microsatellite marker analysis

1.18  A better understanding of a major threat to wheat

1.19  Stripe-resistant wheat varieties from WSU

1.20  Chinese Academy of Sciences scientists cultivate new salt-tolerant wheat variety

1.21  Introgressing multiple Ty genes from wild tomato species Solanum habrochaites and S. chilense into AVRDC lines

1.22  A combination of germplasm, genetics, genomics, and stress physiology identify tomatoes with tolerance to drought and high temperatures

1.23  Indonesian scientists develop insect resistant soybean

1.24  International team finds key gene that allows plants to survive drought

1.25  Research aims to give consumers richly colored specialty potatoes

1.26  Space tomato project offers potential for drought, disease resistance

1.27  Iowa State University researchers identify genetic pathway responsible for much of plant growth

1.28  First Jatropha genome completed by Synthetic Genomics Inc. and Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology

1.29  Improving citrus rootstocks in the Mediterranean

1.30  Brazilian researchers develop Vitamin A enriched maize

1.31  DNA sequence of a key wheat disease resistance gene

1.32  Acquiring cheap genome sequence data can improve the quality of feedstocks used to create biofuels, according to a new study published in The Plant Genome

1.33  Pooling resources for crop science - New analytical methods to improve plant breeding

1.34  Genetic modification, modified: a new technique allows precision gene modification in plants

1.35  Royalties: a taxing problem for plant breeders

 

2.  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  ICRISAT mandates open access to all its scientific and scholarly publications

2.02  Proceedings available of the Eighth African Crop Science Conference

2.03  Improved and expanded IP Handbook of Best Practices Website

2.04  Cereal Breeding, in the Handbook of Plant Breeding series

 

3.  WEB RESOURCES

3.01  New  Farming First website now open

3.02  New website dedicated to Jatropha research and crop improvement

3.03  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council launches consultation on future research for food security

3.04  PAR Newsletter  -- Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research 

 

4.  GRANTS AVAILABLE

4.01  Grant funds available from the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP)

 

5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

5.01  Fellowships available under the TWAS fellowship programmes

 

6.  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

7.  EDITOR'S NOTES

 

 

1 NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES


1.01 
Where will the food come from?

 

Washington, DC

By Nina Fedoroff, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development

 

Over the past year, the world has experienced a succession of shocks: a global food crisis, spiraling energy costs, accelerating climate change and most recently, a financial meltdown. But even as each crisis sweeps the previous one out of awareness, it is important to recognize that the food crisis is neither sudden nor quickly fixed. It has developed gradually as a result of relentless increases in demand in the context of a finite natural resource base and decreasing global investment in agricultural research and development. At the present rate of growth in population and affluence, we will need to double the food supply by mid-century. Yet the amount of land farmed hasn't changed appreciably in more than half century, nor is it likely to change substantially over the next half century. And climate change is expected to decrease yields, even on today's most productive farm land. Where will the food come from?

 

Contemporary genetic modification of crop plants is embedded in a history of plant domestication that transformed plants profoundly from their wild origins. No crop better illustrates both the genetic plasticity of plants and the inventiveness of humans better than the maize (corn) plant. Thousands of years before science formally entered agriculture in the late 18th century, early peoples had transformed the hard-seeded teosinte rachis into the soft-kernelled early maize ear through the accumulation of a handful of genetic changes that completely altered the architecture of the plant.

 

Scientific advances in the understanding of plants' chemical requirements throughout the 19th century culminated in the invention of the Haber-Bosch process for synthesis of fertilizer from atmospheric nitrogen in the early 20th century, removing a major limitation on the productivity of agriculture. The rediscovery of Mendel's genetic experiments in the early 20th century led serendipitously to the development of today's highly productive maize hybrids, one of humanity's handful of major cereal grains. The identification of mutant dwarf varieties of wheat and rice that are highly responsive to fertilization belied renewed Malthusian predictions at mid-20th century, giving rise to the Green Revolution.

 

The late 20th century witnessed a second genetic revolution with the invention of recombinant DNA technology, the explosion of genome sequencing, and the development of techniques for the introduction of individual genes into microorganisms, plants, and animals. Today, it is possible to modify organisms, including crop plants, in extremely precise ways, adding just one or a few genes at a time. Curiously, these latest genetic modifications, much less profound than those that gave us our crops to begin with, have come to be viewed as unprecedented and possibly even dangerous by a largely urban public unfamiliar with farms and farming, plants and plant breeding.

 

While contemporary genetic modification (only this kind is called GM) was readily accepted both in medicine and in the food and beverage industry, GM crop plants have remained controversial for more than 25 years. Nonetheless, despite the controversies, several important crop plants modified to resist insects and tolerate herbicides have steadily gained acceptance throughout the world. Today, genetically modified cotton, corn, soybeans and canola are grown in 25 countries by more than 13 million farmers, 90% of whom are resource-poor farmers with small holdings. To date, there is no evidence of adverse effects on either human or animal health, while substantial environmental benefits have been realized, including decreased use of pesticides and increased adoption of no-till farming. Although some countries remain adamantly opposed to the use of contemporary genetic modification, there is increasing awareness that these are important tools in the success of global efforts to lift the last billion out of hunger and poverty through agricultural intensification and decreased crop loss. Moreover, molecular modification will be an indispensable tool in the adaptation of crop plants to changing climatic conditions. Let's get on with it!

 

The Council for Biotechnology Information communicates science-based information about the benefits and safety of agricultural biotechnology and its contributions to sustainable development.

 

Source: The Council for Biotechnology Information via SeedQuest.com

19 May 2009

 

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1.02  New varieties are vital in a changing climate

 

Western Australia
It’s that time of the year again, when we find ourselves looking to the heavens for the promise of rain, hoping for the best and wondering what the coming season will bring.  The weather is still the great wildcard of grain growing, isn’t it? We can plan meticulously, budget carefully and practice sustainable farming, but it all counts for nought if the rain doggedly stays away.  So, it’s little wonder that climate change, the uncertainty it brings and its impact on the long term future of grain growing is occupying the thoughts of many growers.

 

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), with other rural R&D corporations, CSIRO and federal and state governments, recently developed a draft national Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries.  In similar vein, the GRDC supported work by the Department of Food and Agriculture WA (DAFWA) to better understand the impact of climate change on the state’s grain industry. The GRDC is also involved in the state government’s Agricultural Climate Change External Reference Group which draws together representatives from industry, the private sector and government departments and which met for the first time in May.

 

The DAFWA study found that rainfall is likely to increase in summer and decrease in autumn, winter and spring in most parts of the state. Such work will help guide the grain industry’s response to climate change and in particular the all important research strategy that will help growers adjust to the many challenges of long term change.

 

Clearly, research into new grain varieties will become increasingly important. In 2007-08 the GRDC and its partners released 16 new wheat varieties, four new triticale varieties, 15 new canola varieties and a new oat variety. All offered higher yields – two of the triticale varieties by as much as 30%.

 

It’s vital that research work continues, not just to produce varieties offering increased yields, but to breed varieties that can do it in a drier climate. And lack of rain won’t be the only problem new varieties have to cope with. It’s a fair bet that climate change will spur the development of a whole gamut of new pests and diseases, while giving a few old foes of grain growers a big boost as well.

 

Breeding resistance to such diseases into new varieties will be important work. The sort of research work the GRDC and its partners is already renowned for will be absolutely vital to future generations of grain growers in a changing world.

 

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

20 May 2009

 

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1.03  Research shows maize production in Nigeria can be doubled

 

Ibadan, Nigeria
Scientists working on maize research have demonstrated the ability of local farmers to double maize yield in
Nigeria from 1.5 tons per hectare to 3 tons per hectare using improved seeds and agronomic practices.

 

Pastor O.A Adenola, President, Maize Association of Nigeria, in an interview, says farmers in the project harvested about 3 tons per hectare of maize.

 

“The good news is that doubling maize production in Nigeria is practicable. The research also proved that we can be better farmers and make more money if we use appropriate technologies,” he says.

 

Scientists say results from the two and a half-year project, which was funded by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and started in 2006 indicated that Nigeria can double her current maize production of about 7 million tons to 14 million tons.

 

The research, which involved thousands of local farmers under the auspices of the Maize Association of Nigeria, was a collaborative work by a coalition of scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), National Rice/Maize Center -National Accelerated Food Production Program, Institute for Agricultural Research, National Cereals Research Institute; the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS).

 

Dr. Oyewole Ajala, IITA’s Maize Breeder and Project Leader, says the research achieved the results after deploying maize varieties that were tolerant of low nitrogen, drought, and Striga.

 

“Other maize varieties given to farmers during the course of the project were stemborer-resistant and early maturing varieties,” he says.

 

During the research period, planting materials were distributed to farmers based on the climatic conditions in the different agroecological zones, while farmers were trained and encouraged to optimize the use of inputs.

 

“The project established that Nigeria could double maize production from 7.1 million tons to 14 million tons per annum if our recommendations are implemented,” Ajala says.

 

Findings from the project support the need for the Nigerian government to set aside money to mop up excess maize to avoid a price crash in the future.

 

Ajala says, “A guaranteed minimum price to be set by the government is required to keep farmers on the farm.” Available data indicate that between 2006 and 2007, maize varieties released by IITA and partners boosted production but the absence of an effective mop-up mechanism led to price fluctuations.

 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Nigeria’s maize production during the period rose from 7.1 million tons in 2006 to 7.8 million tons in 2007.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

12 May 2009

 

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1.04  Hunt for “climate-ready” crops accelerates as organizations search seed collections worldwide

 

Rome, Italy
Amid predictions that climate change will create hostile growing conditions, partners look to crop collections for future varieties

 

The Global Crop Diversity Trust announced today numerous new grant awards to support scientists to explore the millions of seed samples maintained in 1,500 crop genebanks around the world. They will search for biodiversity critically needed to protect food production from the ravages of climate change.

 

The awards support a wide range of innovative projects, including a search in Southeast Asia and the Pacific for bananas that are resistant to banana streak virus, which will likely become more problematic with climate change; transferring traits from a wild to a cultivated variety of potato that convey resistance to a soil-borne pathogen responsible for bacterial wilt; a search for novel traits with tolerance to heat and drought stresses in Chilean maize crop collections; a project in India to find pearl millet that can handle scorching temperatures; and a project to increase the ability of maize to cope with erratic rains, while increasing its nutritional quality for small-scale, marginal farms in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Working together with the Trust in the effort will be the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity (GIPB).

 

“We want to support scientists to probe crop genebanks for natural traits that will allow farm production to stay one step ahead of climate change,” said Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. “The data are now clear that rising temperatures, radically altered precipitation patterns and new infestations of plant pests are on the near horizon, and we need to look to our crop genebanks for the traits that will help us avoid a crisis.”

 

By the turn of the century, scientists now predict that temperatures during growing seasons in the tropics and subtropics are destined to be even hotter than what are now considered extreme temperatures. New data also show steadily dryer conditions in many regions. But there is widespread concern, particularly in the developing world, that plant breeding efforts are not moving fast enough to develop new varieties that can withstand these stresses and enable farmers to avoid steep drops in food production.

 

The Trust, in partnership with the UN Foundation and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is supporting work to probe crop collections for critical traits such as drought or heat tolerance. GCP is offering funding for scientists to use molecular mapping technology to identify the “DNA fingerprint” of the crop samples. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity (GIPB) is supporting efforts by plant breeders to use such information to breed new, high-yielding varieties adapted to conditions on the ground.

 

“It’s not enough to simply identify the trait,” said Humberto Gómez, the Coordinator of GCP’s Genotyping Support Service. “To produce a viable crop variety, one has to go further and also conduct molecular analysis and then the breeding work. This work can take up to ten years from the point of discovering the trait to having a new variety actually growing in a farmer’s field. We’re seeking to speed up that process by supporting breeders in the developing world.”

 

“Together, these efforts will increase our ability to be ready for climate change,” said Elcio Guimaraes of GIPB. “It will be much easier for young plant breeders to identify and use promising traits that arm crops against climate change.”

 

The grants cover projects initiated by scientists in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. They involve a range of crops and seek a variety of important plant traits. For example:

  • Scientists in Portugal and Angola are jointly investigating the ability of 100 samples of native or “landrace” wheat varieties and 15 modern varieties to withstand high temperature and drought.
  • Scientists in India are exploring a collection of pearl millet in search of traits that will allow this important cereal grain, which originated in Africa but has been grown in India for thousands of years, to remain viable as climate change brings hotter temperatures.
  • Scientists based in the United States are analyzing sorghum germplasm maintained by the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics for resistance against multiple diseases, including downy mildew and head smut funguses. The work is being carried out by researchers based in  Texas, where sorghum production generates $1 billion annually.
  • A project will make use of conventional plant breeding and molecular markers to increase the ability of maize to cope with erratic rains, while increasing its nutritional quality for small-scale, marginal farms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The African Centre for Crop Improvement will build on previous advances in improving nutritional quality in maize, by adding in drought tolerance so that new varieties can benefit the most vulnerable growers in marginal areas.
  • In the Philippines, the Institute of Plant Breeding will widen the genetic base available for improving bananas by researching ways to eliminate the deleterious effects of viruses that have become integrated into the genetic make-up of some of the wild relatives that can contribute valuable traits to the cultivated species.

 

Source: Global Crop Diversity Trust

22 May 2009

 

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1.05  Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis to expand and establish the European Plant Breeding Academy

 

Davis, California

The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center announced plans to establish the European Plant Breeding Academy, which will open in 2010. Their highly successful Plant Breeding Academy, based at UC Davis, currently has 7 of its 23 participants in Class II working for companies that are headquartered in Europe. The expansion is designed to make the executive program for working seed professionals more accessible for European participants. The current Plant Breeding Academy program consists of six sessions each 6 days in length offered over a two year period.

 

In conjunction with the expansion to Europe, the Seed Biotechnology Center will soon advertise for the new position of Director, Plant Breeding Academy.

 

The director will be responsible for all Plant Breeding Academy activities and will be the lead instructor in the European Academy. Selection criteria include a M.S. degree required with a Ph.D. in a plant science discipline being preferred; evidence of strong managerial and administrative skills to lead and develop an international education program; demonstrated ability or potential to develop and instruct courses in plant breeding subjects, and a working knowledge of current plant breeding practices. An established plant breeder who has released commercial varieties is preferred.

 

For more information regarding the European Plant Breeding Academy or the director's position please contact Sue DiTomaso via email at scditomaso@ucdavis.edu or by phone at (530) 754-7333.

A detailed position announcement will be released soon.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

11 May 2009

 

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1.06  Securing future harvests of farmers in dry areas

 

Aleppo, Syria

The world’s dry areas – which cover 41% of the earth’s land area, and are home to a quarter of global population – will be facing the brunt of Climate Change. This will lead to unprecedented challenges to food security particularly with the food and economic crises on top of evermore erratic weather patterns.

 

“But these challenges can be overcome if policy makers, researchers and development agencies work together, in genuine partnership” stressed Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

 

Dr Solh was speaking at ICARDA’s Presentation Day, held at the International Center in Aleppo, Syria. Food prices of many staples have doubled or tripled in the past two years. Even though prices have eased slightly in 2009, food security is still a highly critical problem for poor families in most developing countries.

 

The majority of the world’s poor live in dry areas. Over 360 million people in these regions live on less than $1 per day, most of which is spent on food. In collaboration with partners in national programs, research centers like ICARDA are playing a key role in ensuring reliable harvests and affordable food supplies. “Our focus is not just research,” Dr Solh explained. “It is research for development.” This is an important difference; and this practical approach to research has generated enormous returns in terms of food production, conservation of natural resources, and rural welfare in dry areas worldwide.

 

Improved water management through applying carefully monitored small amounts of water to crops at intervals have enabled farmers to double water productivity, while using less water overall than had they applied full irrigation. The “smaller-is-better” approach, known as “supplemental irrigation” produced twice as much food per liter of water, as the full treatment. Traditional farming techniques (some millennia old!) such as rainwater harvesting have also been refined, using new scientific methods, to arrest soil erosion, rehabilitate degraded rangelands and feed its inhabitants.

 

About 900 improved crop varieties, developed over the past 30 years of ICARDA’s existence in collaboration with their national counterparts, have been released worldwide to farmers. These varieties give high and stable yields, and have resistance to such environmental stresses as drought, heat, cold, salinity), while also carrying defences against. diseases and insect pests. The extra food produced using these multiple resistant varieties is worth over US$ 850 million per year.

 

ICARDA works closely with national programs to enhance food security. Examples include Syria, which through an enabling policy environment, supplemental irrigation and varieties released by the national program, is now self-sufficient in wheat. It was an importer of wheat as recently as in the 1980’s. Iran and Uzbekistan are other examples. They are now self sufficient in wheat (except for last year in Iran because of severe drought).

 

Similarly in Africa, improved crop varieties developed in collaboration between national researchers and ICARDA,, and via the national extension services have been widely adopted by the farmers. For example, in Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, yields have increased by 25-30%, farm incomes have increased substantially. In Bangladesh, 65% of the country’s lentil area is planted to new stable, high-yielding, disease resistant varieties developed through the collaboration between Bangladesh’s scientists and ICARDA. In India, a new disease-resistant lentil variety is being adopted in areas where farmers had all but abandoned cultivation of the crop, so devastating was the disease onslaught. The new variety also enables farmers to grow an extra crop in between rice crops, and make net food gains – with potential adoption over extensive areas.

 

ICARDA’s research also covers water and land management, rangelands, livestock (sheep and goats, which are the key species in dry areas), cropping systems, and economic and policy analysis. New fodder crops and alternative livestock feeds are being explored. For example agro-industrial by-products like pulp and molasses are being put to good use in so-called feed blocks that are easy to make, store, carry and provide to livestock, This has allowed livestock owners to improve flock productivity while cutting down production costs.

 

The Center and its partners use a three-pronged approach to combat Climate Change: adaptation, mitigation and resilience. For example, improved varieties with greater tolerance to drought, extreme temperatures and salinity will enable farmers to reap harvest even under highly stressful conditions. More diverse farming systems with new synergistic crop combinations and management of the soils and water will be more resilient to external shocks. Farmers are being trained and local communities supported in adapting to these new production methods. Linkages to markers where better prices can be gained for farm products will help rural communities cope with climate-related fluctuations. Supplemental irrigation and water harvesting techniques will help address growing water scarcity. Policy makers are working to design long-term coping strategies. “Food security in dry areas is a challenging goal, particularly in the context of climate change,” said Dr Solh. “But we believe it can be achieved, if we combine good science with good partnerships.”

 

Established in 1977, ICARDA serves the entire developing world for the improvement of barley, lentil, and faba bean; and dry-area developing countries for the on-farm management of water, improvement of nutrition and productivity of small ruminants (sheep and goats), and rehabilitation and management of rangelands. In the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region, ICARDA is responsible for the improvement of durum and bread wheat, chickpea, pasture and forage legumes and farming systems; and for the protection and enhancement of the natural resource base of water, land, and biodiversity.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a strategic alliance of countries, international and regional organizations, and private foundations supporting15 international research centers that mobilizes cutting-edge science to promote sustainable development by reducing hunger and poverty, improving human nutrition and health, and protecting the environment.

 

Source: ICARDA via SeedQuest.com

4 May 2009

 

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1.07  The Plant Breeding Center at North Carolina State University gains three new plant breeders

 

Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis, Dr. Vasu Kuraparthy, and Dr. Jeremy Pattison have recently joined North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the area of plant breeding.  Dr. Kuraparthy (PhD, Kansas State University) will be working in cotton breeding in the department of Crop Science on the main campus in Raleigh, NC.  Dr. Milla-Lewis (PhD, NC State University) will be working in turfgrass breeding in the department of Crop Science on the main campus in Raleigh, NC.  Dr. Jeremy Pattison (assistant professor at Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ.) will be working in strawberry breeding in the department of Horticultural Science at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC.

 

They join a team of field plant breeders working at NCSU, now coordinated through the plant breeding center, directed by Charles Stuber. The 29 plant breeders at the center include Drs. Burton, Carter, Holland, and Marshall in the USDA-ARS, Drs. Bowman, Cardinal, Goodman, Isleib, Kuraparthy, Lewis, Milla-Lewis, Murphy, Qu, Stalker, and Tallury in Crop Science, Drs. Dvorak, Frampton, Hodge, Isik, McKeand, and Whetten in Forestry, and Drs. Ballington, Fernandez, Panthee, Pattison, Ranney, Wehner, Werner, and Yencho in Horticultural Science.

 

For more information, see http://plantbreeding.ncsu.edu/ or contact

Charles Stuber at charles_stuber@ncsu.edu

 

Contributed by Todd Wehner

7 May 2009

 

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1.08  The fastest spreading potato variety in China

 

Chinese farmers are rapidly adopting a CIP-developed potato variety that resists drought and gives much better yields than local varieties. CIP scientists developed the Tacna variety in 1993 and it was introduced into China in 1994 in the form of in vitro plantlets.

 

http://www.cipotato.org/pressroom/press_releases_detail.asp?cod=59

 

Source: CIP:

14 May 2009

 

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.09  Promising selection HS2180-1-31-13-1-1-1-1 for roselle industry in Malaysia

 

Roselle:

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) is relatively a new crop in Malaysia. Genus Hibiscus which belongs to Malvaceae has more than 300 known species which are used as ornamental plants. Many species are believed to have useful properties, among them is roselle, a tetraploid plant species. The origin is believed to be from West Africa although the plant is found native from India to Malaysia. It was introduced into Malaysia in early 1990s. Its commercial planting was first promoted by the Department of Agriculture in Terengganu in 1993 and now has spread to other States.  Today, the planted area is quite small around 150ha. The calyces from the plant are used to produce a pro-health drink due to its high contents of vitamin C and anthocyanins. To a small extent, the calyces are also processed into sweet pickle, jelly and jam and are also used for making tea.

 

HCA:

Recent findings have shown that some accessions and mutant lines of roselle have relatively high contents of HCA. It is the principal acid of fruit rinds of some Garcinia species. HCA has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of ATP-citrate lyase. The inhibition of this reaction limits the availability of acetyl-CoA required for fatty acid synthesis and lipogenesis. Hypothesis suggests that HCA may help in weight reduction through suppression of de novo fatty acid synthesis, inhibition of ATP citrate lyase and reduction food intake through appetite suppression. Therefore, HCA is potentially useful as a body weight controlling agent. HCA is now extracted in the form of salts of HCA from Garcinia cambogia. Extract from this species is now been widely used as the main ingredient of many HCA-containing products. These products are available in the markets as weight loss supplements and aids. Results from local feeding trials suggest that roselle plays an important role in the prevention of obesity.

 

Development of New Varieties Through Mutation Breeding:

In the past, research had been conducted by UM, MARDI and DOA. Roselle research in UKM began in 1999. Being an introduced crop species there is a limited number of germplasm accessions available for breeding. Genetic variation is essential for plant breeders to increase its productivity, and the present number of accession is still considered limited in terms of its genetic variation. Conventional hybridization is difficult to be carried out in roselle due to its cleistogamous nature of reproduction. Developing varieties through hybridization has not yet been attempted with success. Because of this, a mutation breeding program was initiated to generate new genetic variation. The use of induced mutations for roselle improvement was initiated in 1999 in cooperation with MINT involving gamma irradiation of seeds.

 

At present, two introduced varieties are available to growers and these varieties are called “Terengganu” and “Arab”. Growers predominantly plant the “Terengganu” variety. The variety “Arab” is considered a more recent introduction. Present varieties are reported to yield up to 8t/ha of fruits, or up to 4t/ha of calyces. With good crop care, some growers have reported yields of some individual plants to exceed 4kg of fruits per plant. The “Arab” variety yields higher than the “Terengganu” variety, both in terms of fruits and calyces. But the latter is better in terms of quality characteristics. The “Arab” variety therefore could be further improved for its quality. A mutation breeding program was conducted on variety “Arab” which resulted in six promising mutant lines. Two of the selections HS2180-1-36-49-4-1 and HS2180-1-36-23-10-1 were highlighted previously, and subsequently released as new varieties UKMR-1 and UKMR-2, respectively.

 

Promising Selections:

Six promising mutant lines had been developed using the “Arab” variety in a mutation breeding program. Evaluations and selections were done in every generations starting from M2 through M6 at UKM Bangi and at TFirdauce, Tasek Gelugor, Penang.  Evaluation was done based on their morpho-agronomic traits and also physico-chemical characteristic (vitamin C, anthocyanins and HCA contents). Two of the selections had been launched as new varieties to increase productivity of our roselle industry.

 

Selection HS2180-1-31-13-1-1-1-1:

This research innovation highlights and describes the promising selection HS2180-1-31-13-1-1-1-1, currently propagated at M7 generation. Morpho-agronomic characteristics of  the selection recorded include plant height (132.2 cm), canopy diameter (123.9 cm), number of branches per plant (9.2), number of fruits per plant (182.8), fruit weight per plant (1.9 kg), capsule weight per plant (1.0 kg), calyx weight per plant (0.9 kg) calyx weight per fruit (4.9 g), and capsule weight per fruit (5.3 g). In terms of physico-chemical characteristics, this selection has vitamin C content of 11.4 mg/100g fresh weight and 5% HCA-containing extract. One prominent characteristic of this selection is its calyx colour, which is light green. The absence of anthocyanins in this selection gives an advantage in the extraction of HCA. Anthocyanins may interfere in the recovery of HCA as well as in the analysis of vitamin C. Anthocyanins may also be involved in the oxidation process of the HCA extracts upon storage. The modification in HCA extraction procedures is significant to remove the anthocyanin contents for most coloured roselle; thus, reducing the extraction cost and improving the extract recovery. Therefore, the cost for HCA extraction is higher. By being green with no anthocyanin content, this selection is seen as an advantage in terms of its HCA extract apart from having higher yield and calyx percentage. This selection is primarily developed to become an important source of HCA.  Based on all the important characteristics it possesses, this selection was recently  launched as a new variety for roselle industry in Malaysia.  It is named as  UKMR-3.

 

Authors:

Mohamad,O1., Ramadan, G1., Halimaton Saadiah, O2., Noor Baiti, A. A1., Zainal, M1., Nurul Rahainah, C. M1., Zainal Abidin Aziz4., Ahmad Bachtiar, B3., Zainal, M1., Mamot, S1., and Aminah, A1.

 

Acknowledgements:

This research is funded by ScienceFund Project No:05-01-02-F0057 to UKM from the Ministry of Science , Technology and Innovation, Malaysia. The authors wish to express their gratitude to UKM, UM, MARDI, DOA, MyAgri Sdn. Bhd., and other agencies and individuals for their support. Also to Dr. Abdul Rahman Milan, Mohd Zulkifly Zainuddin and Rasli of MARDI; Marlina, Elfi, Rani, Syakireen and staff of UKM and other individuals for their assisstance.

 

Note: The article is extracted from the Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition 2009 (ITEX09) which is currently being held on 15-17 May 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For a complete copy of the poster, please contact Dr. Mohamad bin Osman.

 

Contributed by Dr. Mohamad bin Osman

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

mbopar2004@yahoo.com

 

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1.10  Measuring the economic impacts of transgenic crops in developing agriculture during the first decade

 

Approaches, findings and future directions -- an IFPRI Food Policy Review

 

Foreword

Biotechnology in agriculture has generated a great deal of controversy in recent years. Of the many scientific advances that have occurred in plant breeding since Gregor Mendel conducted his experiments about 150 years ago, crops with genetic modifications seem to have been accorded a unique status. The use of crops that are modified by the transfer of genes across species has provoked concerns that continue to be echoed in the media and the academic press and have reached into the fields and lives of farmers in both rich and poor countries. An issue that remains unresolved is that what consumers and producers in rich countries may want is not necessarily what producers and consumers in poor countries may need (and want); hence, the preferences of the rich countries—transformed into science and development policies—may hinder the poor’s access to needed technologies.

 

This review of scholarly literature explores a key concern of IFPRI’s: whether biotech crops can benefit poor farmers. The authors examine the issue by emphasizing the methods applied to empirical data from developing countries, because these methods influence the nature of economists’ findings and how they interpret them. The authors consider the economic impacts of biotech crops not only on farmers, but also on consumers, the agricultural sector as a whole, and international trade. They have also compiled a web-bibliography, bEcon, which is available to researchers, particularly those in developing countries, as a tool to further their own understanding of the evidence.

 

The authors conclude that biotech crops have promise for poor farmers. Further in-depth investigation is required. Bt cotton is by far the most studied biotech crop, but analysis of the economic impacts of other crops has only begun. Impacts on poverty, inequality, health, and the environment need more rigorous exploration. Particular aspects of biotech crops—such as the institutional organization of their supply, the way that knowledge and transgenic seed are diffused in communities, and the costs and benefits of biosafety regulations—warrant in-depth investigation. So far, the published economics research that has applied a clearly identified method to empirical data collected in the fields of farmers in developing countries is limited. One reason is that few biotech crops have been introduced in developing-country agriculture, partly due to slow or hindered bio-policies and regulatory frameworks. Development cooperation organizations have not sufficiently invested in these; the above-mentioned preferences of some rich countries come into play here again. IFPRI is assisting developing countries to develop and implement such appropriate regulatory frameworks.

 

I trust that this report and the related web-bibliography will assist developingcountry researchers in establishing their own evidence base and will help in their endeavors and encourage them to address the important questions that remain to be answered. Agricultural productivity and environmental challenges—including climate change—and growing long-term food needs will require access to and utilization of advanced biotechnology in developing-country agriculture.

 

Joachim von Braun
Director General, IFPRI

 

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Food Policy Review No. 10

Measuring the Economic Impacts of Transgenic Crops in Developing Agriculture during the First Decade

Approaches, Findings, and Future Directions

Melinda Smale, Patricia Zambrano, Guillaume Gruère, José Falck-Zepeda, Ira Matuschke, Daniela Horna, Latha Nagarajan, Indira Yerramareddy, and Hannah Jones

2009

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

May 2009

 

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1.11  World wheat groups say biotech in sync is the goal

 

Australia, Canada and USA

Organizations representing the wheat industry in the United States, Canada and Australia announced Thursday they will work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in the wheat crop.

 

Noting that “none of us hold a veto over the actions of others,” they agreed it was in the best interest of all three producer communities to introduce biotechnology in a coordinated fashion to minimize market disruption.

 

The announcement came in a statement of joint principles on the issue of biotechnology in wheat, which has been a sensitive subject in some parts of the world, including major export markets in Europe and Asia. There is currently no commercial production of genetically modified wheat anywhere in the world.

 

The statement highlighted the importance of wheat to the food supply and declining acres in all three countries due in part to competition from crops that have the advantages of biotech traits. The statement also noted the slow growth trend of wheat yields compared to other crops and the lack of public and private investment in wheat research worldwide.

 

Noting that biotechnology is not the only answer to a host of agronomic questions facing wheat production, the groups agreed it could be a “significant component” to tackling major issues facing the industry.

 

U.S. signatories of the statement include NAWG, U.S. Wheat Associates and the North American Millers’ Association. Canadian signatories include Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission. Australian signatories include Grains Council of Australia, Grain Growers Association and Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia (Inc.).

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

15 May 2009

 

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1.12  Kenya likely to commercialize Bt cotton by 2011

 

The lead Bt cotton researcher in Kenya Dr. Charles Waturu predicts that the country will commercialize the crop in three years time.

 

Bt cotton has been undergoing contained field trials (CFT) under the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) for about five years.

 

Speaking to senior policy makers from agriculture sector ministries who were on a fact-finding mission at the Bt cotton CFT site in Thika, near Nairobi, Dr. Waturu, who is also the KARI Thika Center Director, said biotech cotton was urgently need to help boost production, which was in a free fall due to challenges caused by pests and diseases.

 

Cotton production in Kenya has fallen by 70% from 70,000 bales in the mid 1980s to less than 20,000 bales last year. This has forced the country to import about 100,000 bales to meet the shortfall.

 

Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com

29 May 2009

 

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1.13  USDA/ARS preserves plants and animals for future needs

 

Washington, DC

When the Russian wheat aphid spread to the United States in 1986, all of the country's commercial wheat was susceptible to it.

 

To find resistance to this insect that cost American wheat and barley farmers billions of dollars in losses, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists turned to the agency's National Small Grains Collection in Aberdeen, Idaho, to screen more than 30,000 wheat accessions and 24,000 barley accessions for resistance. The collection is part of ARS' National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).

 

ARS researchers identified more than 300 resistant wheat germplasm accessions and 40 promising barley lines as potential sources of resistance genes, mostly from the ARS germplasm collection. Breeders began a "crash program" using this germplasm to develop new varieties, and the crisis was averted.

 

The NPGS preserves thousands of agronomically important plants and their relatives in working collections around the country. Each collection concentrates on specific types of plants. In addition, the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Fort Collins, Colo., keeps plant germplasm in long-term cryogenic storage.

 

The NPGS is an important heritage of plant diversity. It is also a stockroom for tools to deal with problems like the mutation of a pathogen, explains David Ellis, a curator and plant physiologist at NCGRP.

 

Researchers from all over the world turn to the NPGS to solve disease problems and also to expand plants' drought and temperature tolerance, adapt plants to new growing conditions, and make them more productive, nutritious, durable, or simply better tasting. The NPGS distributed more than 182,800 plant samples worldwide in 2008.

 

Germplasm preservation is not an action that can wait until new genes are needed. Global climate change, loss of habitats, and even war and political instability threaten genetic variation in agriculture and in the wild. Pathogens and pests continue to evolve. Protecting as wide an array as possible of crop varieties and their wild relatives is the best insurance policy, because it's impossible to tell ahead of time just what genes a plant may offer that may one day be needed.

 

By Kim Kaplan

Agricultural Research Service, USDA

Source: SeedQuest.com

15 May 2009

 

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1.14  Brazil and South Korea to enhance cooperation in genetic resources

 

Brazil and South Korea are engaged in a new form of partnership to increase their collaboration in genetic resources and related research areas. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Organization - Embrapa, one of the largest agricultural research networks in the world has developed ten years ago the concept of Virtual External Laboratory – or Labex – as means of increasing its scientific and technological ties with advanced research organizations around the world. The concept, which has been tested and validated in the United States, with the Agricultural Research Service – USDA-ARS, and in Europe, with Agropolis-Montpellier, in France, involves posting experienced scientists to leading-edge laboratories with a three-fold objective: to develop cutting edge research in areas of mutual interest, to monitor the development of agricultural science and technology in the host country and to articulate partnerships among Brazilian and the host country research teams. The experience is being expanded now to South Korea, with an innovation: the host organization, the Rural Development Administration – RDA, is also implementing its version of Labex in Brazil, posting a scientist with Embrapa. One of the key research areas chosen by Embrapa and RDA is genetic resources. The two organizations will look for opportunities to enhance their processes of enrichment, conservation, characterization and value addition to genetic resources, as well as new ways to boost their ability to use genetic variability as means of overcoming challenges and seeking new opportunities for agriculture, agribusiness and bioindustries in both countries. Another important priority is animal sciences. RDA already posted a scientist in the area of animal reproduction with Embrapa and soon another Brazilian scientist will join RDA to work in the area of animal health.

 

For further information on the Embrapa Labex Program contact:

 

Dr. Elisio Contini – Contini@embrapa.br

Head of the International Cooperation Office of Embrapa

Dr. Bonifacio Magalhaes – Bonifacio.Magalhaes@embrapa.br

International Cooperation Officer for Asia

Dr. Mauricio Lopes – Mlopes@cenargen.embrapa.br

Labex South Korea Researcher – Genetic Resources

 

Contributed by Mauricio Lopes

Mlopes@cenargen.embrapa.br

 

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1.15  Modern crop varieties can increase local genetic diversity

 

It is often claimed that the introduction of high-yielding crop varieties threatens agricultural biodiversity. Farmers who adopt the modern varieties abandon their traditional varieties and overall genetic diversity falls as a result. Generally this is true, but a new paper published online in Field Crops Research shows that it need not be the case, especially if the modern varieties count farmer varieties among their parents.

 

In the early 1990s, while a PhD student at Bangor University in the UK, Bhuwon Sthapit, now a senior scientist at Bioversity International, was instrumental in breeding three new varieties of rice suitable for upland rice farms in Nepal. This was no ordinary breeding programme, however. Sthapit worked closely with farmers in a client-oriented approach that involved the farmers in both setting the goals of the breeding programme and participating in the selection of the final varieties from the many crosses. The varieties were selected from crosses of Chhomrong Dhan, a local landrace well adapted to the cold conditions of high-altitude rice farms in Nepal, with Fuji 102 and IR36, more productive material from international breeding programmes.

 

Farmers selected three lines: Machhapuchhre-3 (M3), Machhapuchhre-9 (M9, which is similar to M3 but with lower cold tolerance) and Lumle-2 (L2, like M3 with better grain quality and easier threshing). Only M3 was officially released, but M9 and L2 have been adopted widely thanks to informal seed exchanges among farmers. By 2004 about 60% of the land in the study villages was sown to one of the three COB (client-oriented breeding) varieties, while traditional varieties occupied the remaining 40%. In adopting the COB varieties, many farmers had dropped traditional landraces, but there was no clear pattern to which landraces were dropped in which villages. The variety dropped most commonly was Chhomrong Dhan, one parent of all three COB varieties.

 

To assess genetic diversity an international team of researchers from Bangor and Nepal analyzed DNA from the three COB varieties, a random selection of landraces and a control group of modern varieties. Overall, genetic diversity was greatest in the landraces, and least in the COB varieties. However, there was no loss of genetic diversity across the district as a whole, at least as long as the three COB varieties were adopted on less than about 65% of the land. Indeed there is an increase in diversity as the COB varieties are adopted because the high-yielding parental varieties contribute alleles not previously encountered in the area.

 

Another crucial result is that although some farmers grow COB varieties on 100% of their land, nevertheless, at least 11 diverse landraces survived on some 40% of the land. These landraces clearly meet needs not fulfilled by the COB varieties. For example, although the most commonly dropped variety was Chhomrong Dhan, farmers in the Gurung community continued to grow that variety.

 

“It is the preferred rice for preparation of the dish Madeko Bhat used during funerals and other ritual and social ceremonies,” Sthapit explained.

 

The client-oriented breeding programme was clearly a success; it resulted in farmers adopting modern varieties adapted to high altitudes, whose cultivation improved the livelihoods of the farm families. The adoption of the new varieties reduced the number of households and the area for some landraces, but overall genetic diversity increased because the modern varieties contained alleles not seen before in the district. They also contained alleles from the landraces, so preserving that genetic diversity too.

 

“The conclusion is clear,” said Sthapit. “Participatory breeding and client-oriented breeding programmes should choose locally adapted varieties as parents for breeding. It ensures that landrace genes are conserved and increases the likelihood that the breeding programme will succeed.”

 

Source: Bioversity International via SeedQuest.com

6 May 2009

 

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1.16  New shipment of seeds to the North Pole

 

As the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Svalvard Global Seed Vault (Norway) draws near, CIAT has made a second shipment of duplicate seeds of beans and tropical forages to this fortress built on a remote archipelago near the North Pole to safeguard the world's most important food crops in case of any catastrophe.

 

For more information see http://www.ciat.cgiar.org/newsroom/release_36.htm

 

Source: CIAT, 22 April, 2009
:

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.17  The potato Neo-Tuberosum theory questioned by microsatellite marker analysis

 

Researchers at the International Potato Center and the University of Wisconsin have recently published their findings from a microsatellite marker analysis of cultivated potato gene pool. This study follows a previous large analysis of the native gene pool (Spooner et al., 2007) and the identification of a set of robust microsatellite markers (Ghislain et al., 2009). Unlike what has been thought over the last 40 years, their analysis does not support an Andigenum origin of the Irish potato and the broadening of genetic diversity of cultivated potato using the Neo-tuberosum germplasm. This material refers to cultivated potato adapted to long-day tuberization and related morphological and physiological traits which were obtained by intercrossing and selection of short-day adapted potatoes of the Solanum tuberosum Andigenum Group. This re-creation of the modern potato helped support the theory of an Andean origin of potato in temperate regions. The study, using the 24 SSR markers of the recently published Potato genetic Identity kit and a plastid DNA marker data, revealed that Neo-Tuberosum germplasm is unexpectedly closely related to Chilotanum Group landraces from lowland south-central Chile rather than to Andigenum Group germplasm. This marker analysis expanded to CIP breeding material show also that despite of the effort of incorporating diversity from the Andigenum Group, the bred material grouped with the Chilotanum Group landraces. The authors conclude their study by summarizing old references suggesting that gene flow or volunteers of Irish potato might be responsible for the observed Chilotanum genetic background. Additionally, the authors show how confusion about Neotuberosum led to incorrect conclusions about evolutionary ideas of cultivated potato.

 

The article and references are freely accessible at the journal web pages as indicated below.

Download Neo-Tuberosum article:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/722k437480m20231/fulltext.pdf

 

Download Spooner et al., 2007 on the potato gene pool:

http://www.pnas.org/content/104/49/19398.full.pdf?ck=nck

 

Download Ghislain et al., 2009 on the new Potato Genetic Identity kit:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/722k437480m20231/fulltext.pdf

 

Contributed by Marc Ghislain

Head, Applied Biotechnology Laboratory

International Potato Center CIP, Lima, Peru

m.ghislain@cgiar.org

 

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1.18  A better understanding of a major threat to wheat

 

Washington, DC
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
By Dennis O'Brien

The pathogen that causes the world's most common wheat disease is a moving target, but scientists are now better equipped to keep track of it, thanks to some genetic sleuthing by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

 

Up to 60 resistance genes have been known to combat Puccinia triticina, the fungus that causes wheat leaf rust. But the pathogen is so genetically diverse and quick to adapt that most wheat resistance genes prove ineffective within a few years.

 

The stakes are high. Leaf rust is the world's most widely distributed wheat disease, and in Kansas alone wheat producers lost 14 percent of their crop--some 50 million bushels--to a leaf rust epidemic in 2007. Emerging strains of P. triticina are an increasing threat to soft red winter wheat in the southeastern United States, and to hard red winter wheat and hard red spring wheat in the Great Plains, according to James Kolmer, a plant pathologist at the ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn.

 

Kolmer recently completed a comprehensive genetic analysis of emerging strains of P. triticina collected in a recent survey of North America's major wheat-producing areas, probing the strains with DNA markers specifically developed for the leaf rust fungus and for virulence capable of overcoming wheat leaf rust resistance genes.

 

Kolmer found that the strains of P. triticina infecting wheat in North America fall into five genetically distinct groups, with two widely distributed groups accounting for 90 percent of the total population. The five groups also differ in their ability to overcome a number of resistance genes, an indication that different groups of P. triticina develop virulence traits at different rates.

 

The work, to be published in the journal Phytopathology, will help researchers identify the origins of emerging strains of P. triticina, unravel clues about migration patterns, monitor shifts in virulence and figure out why some resistance genes are more effective and long-lasting than others.

 

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

5 May 2009

 

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1.19  Stripe-resistant wheat varieties from WSU

 

Two new improved wheat varieties have been released by researchers at the Washington State University (WSU). The new wheat varieties JD and Babe are resistant to the stripe rust. Caused by the fungus Puccinia striiformis, stripe rust is a major problem for US wheat growers. Virulent forms of the stripe rust fungus have been causing average losses of 23 million bushels per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

 

"JD has excellent yield potential across a broad range of production conditions and has exceptional milling and baking quality." said Kim Kidwell, WSU professor and developer of the new wheat strains. Babe, on the other hand, is targeted as a high-yielding replacement to popular spring wheat varieties.

 

The complete article is available at http://www.wsutoday.wsu.edu/pages/publications.asp?Action=Detail&PublicationID=14437&TypeID=1

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 30 April 2009

 

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.20  Chinese Academy of Sciences scientists cultivate new salt-tolerant wheat variety

 

China
Scientists with the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (EGI), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, have recently cultivated a new species of salt-tolerant wheat with an output of more than 400 kilograms per mu (about 666.67 square meters).

 

With obvious advantages of salt-tolerance and high yield, the new species "Xindong No. 34" can produce 403.32 kilograms of wheat per mu, ranking the first in all testing species. This makes its harvest 6.89 percent higher than that of "Xindong No.26", the first salt-tolerant wheat in China.

 

The new medium gluten wheat is also good at disease-resistance and lodging-resistance, said Ren Wei, associate researcher of the EGI.

 

Soil salinization is widespread in west China, which poses as a great obstacle for crop production. Current farming and irrigation methods also threaten to spread secondary salinization. Solonchak agriculture such as cultivation and promotion of salt-tolerant wheat will help relieve pressure of traditional salnization control, and reduce its cost of both financial and time input, said researchers.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

7 May 2009

 

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1.21  Introgressing multiple Ty genes from wild tomato species Solanum habrochaites and S. chilense into AVRDC lines

 

Tainan, Taiwan

Dr. Peter Hanson, Global Theme Leader, Breeding, shared details of a recent breakthrough in developing disease-resistant tomatoes in a seminar on 22 May and a field demonstration on 26 May at AVRDC headquarters.

 

Through “gene pyramiding”— introgressing multiple Ty genes from wild tomato species Solanum habrochaites and S. chilense into AVRDC lines—breeders have developed lines with resistance to several whitefly-transmitted begomoviruses, which cause Tomato yellow leaf curl virus disease.

 

In the tropics and subtropics, TYLCVD leads to 100% crop loss if the infection occurs at an early stage, and farmers often misuse pesticides in an attempt to control the disease.

 

“AVRDC is the first to develop and distribute open pollinated lines with Ty resistance for small-scale farmers,” says Dr. Hanson. Multilocation trials are ongoing in Mali and Tanzania, and in July will begin in Karnal, north India.

 

Ty-resistant varieties must also satisfy yield and fruit quality requirements of farmers and markets.

 

Socioeconomics researcher Dr. Simone Kathrin Kriesemer will conduct participatory evaluations with farmers in Karnal to help determine which varietal traits are most important and how economic standing, gender or other factors affect farmers’ choice of tomato variety.

 

Source: AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center - Newsletter via SeedQuest.com

29 May 2009

 

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1.22  A combination of germplasm, genetics, genomics, and stress physiology identify tomatoes with tolerance to drought and high temperatures

 

Tainan, Taiwan

Global food security depends on genetic diversity. To develop vegetable crops capable of thriving in the extremes of a changing climate, plant breeders must evaluate hundreds of crop relatives in search of genes linked to important agronomic traits such as drought tolerance and disease resistance. Once identified, these genes can be built into commercial varieties through conventional breeding or genetic engineering.

 

You could say our breeders are spoiled for choice: AVRDC maintains the world’s largest public vegetable genebank with over 56,000 accessions from 150 countries, including over 44,000 accessions of globally important vegetables and close to 12,000 accessions of indigenous vegetables. Yet even with a wealth of germplasm at hand, the right gene or combination of genes may remain elusive. Although molecular characterization and genetic diversity analysis of germplasm collections greatly enhances the efficiency of breeding programs in identifying key genes, breeding for tolerance to environmental (abiotic) stress continues to challenge plant breeders. Refining methods to evaluate phenotype—a plant’s observable physical characteristics, which are a product of its genes and its response to the environment it is growing in—can reveal a great deal about its defense mechanisms.

 

The drought pool screening method used by AVRDC researcher Dr. Rachael Symonds has been useful in assessing the comparative drought tolerance of different lines or germplasm accessions under the same soil moisture conditions. “The drought pool is a simple and practical method that allows a large number of genotypes to be screened quickly for drought tolerance,” says Dr. Symonds. “Plants have to compete against each other for the same soil water, so genotypes with a competitive advantage are easily identified.” She also has developed protocols to monitor the transpiration response of test plants to a progressive water deficit. By applying these screening protocols, drought tolerance was identified in Solanum pimpinellifolium and S. pennellii, wild relatives of cultivated tomatoes.

 

A prolific tomato line may stop producing fruit when temperatures start to climb. In high heat, tomatoes release less pollen, and less viable pollen, which decreases fruit set and yield. Selecting tomatoes for pollen viability under heat stress was found to be another valuable screening method for heat tolerance.

 

Vegetable cultivars with tolerance to heat and drought would help improve the livelihoods of resource poor farmers in developing countries. AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center together with its partners the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India; Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany; Central Queensland University (CQU), Australia; University of Dar-es-Salaam (UDES), Tanzania; Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute (MARI), Tanzania; and Academia Sinica, Taiwan is addressing the problem of drought and heat stress in tomato through a project funded by BMZ/GTZ to improve productivity and enhance yield stability of tomato in the tropics.

 

The heat tolerance trials conducted at HQ and at UDES, Tanzania demonstrated that heat tolerant varieties developed at AVRDC-HQ are useful sources for Africa as well. In a farmer participatory evaluation trial conducted by our partner, the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the AVRDC-developed heat tolerant tomato varieties were highly preferred by farmers.

 

by Andreas Ebert and Kadirvel Palchamy

 

Source: AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center – Newsletter via SeedQuest.com

29 May 2009

 

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1.23  Indonesian scientists develop insect resistant soybean

 

Scientists at the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Research and Development, Bogor, Indonesia have successfully introduced the proteinase inhibitor II (pin II) gene to a soybean variety through the particle bombardment technique.

 

Pin II gene is implicated in the defense mechanisms of many crop species.

 

Two plants of soybean variety Wilis (WP1, WP2) and three plants of the Tidar variety (TP1, TP2, TP3) produced transgenic plants. However, molecular analysis of these regenerated plants using the polymerase chain reaction technique showed that only WP2 contained the pinll gene.

 

Further evaluation of this positively transformed plant will be conducted and more transgenic plants will be generated in the future.

 

More information on this research can be obtained from http://digilib.biologi.lipi.go.id/view.html?idm=30140.

 

For information on biotechnology in Indonesia, contact Dewi Suryani of the IndoBIC at dewisuryani@biotrop.org.

 

Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com

29 May 2009

 

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1.24  International team finds key gene that allows plants to survive drought

 

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A team of scientists from Canada, Spain and the United States has identified a key gene that allows plants to defend themselves against environmental stresses like drought, freezing and heat.

 

"Plants have stress hormones that they produce naturally and that signal adverse conditions and help them adapt," says team member Peter McCourt, a professor of cell and systems biology at the University of Toronto. "If we can control these hormones we should be able to protect crops from adverse environmental conditions which is very important in this day and age of global climate change."

 

The research team, led by Sean Cutler of the University of California, Riverside, has identified the receptor of the key hormone in stress protection called abscisic acid (ABA). Under stress, plants increase their ABA levels, which help them survive a drought through a process not fully understood. The area of ABA receptors has been a highly controversial topic in the field of plant biology that has involved retractions of scientific papers as well as the publication of papers of questionable significance. A receptor is a protein molecule in a cell to which mobile signaling molecules may attach. Usually at the top of a signaling pathway, the receptor functions like a boss relaying orders to the team below that then executes particular decisions in the cell. "Scientists have been trying to solve the ABA receptor problem for more than 20 years, and claims for ABA receptors are not easily received by the scientific community," says Cutler.

 

This team used a new approach called chemical genomics to identifying a synthetic chemical, designated pyrabactin, which specifically activates an ABA receptor in the model laboratory plant Arabidopsis. With pyrabactin in hand it was now possible to directly identify the ABA receptor. "This approach not only found a gene that had been long sought by the plant science research community but also showed that chemical genomics can identify new chemicals like pyrabactin that may have profound impacts on the way we farm in both the developing and developed world," says McCourt.

 

The study results will appear April 30 in Science Express and in the May 22 issue of Science magazine. Lead author Sean Cutler is a former University of Toronto scientist who is now an assistant professor of plant cell biology in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. In addition to the University of Toronto and the University of California, Riverside, team members were from University of California, San Diego, Universidad Politecnica, Spain, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, University of California, Santa Barbara; and the Medical College of Wisconsin.Research was funded by the Canada Research Chair program, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

30 April 2009

 

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1.25  Research aims to give consumers richly colored specialty potatoes

 

Parma, Idaho

Harvest a red, yellow or purple specialty potato and its skin color will be shiny and bright. That’s paramount, because skin quality drives buyers to put a particular potato in their shopping cart. Store that potato for a month or two, and its skin color will be noticeably duller. It may even have developed unappealing blemishes that prompt consumers to leave it in the store.

 

Across southern Idaho this year, University of Idaho agricultural researchers will be investigating the in-season, harvest, storage and packing processes that affect skin color and quality in specialty potatoes. They will examine the potentially positive or negative effects of growth regulators, in-season and post-harvest fungicides, harvest timing, disinfectants and storage conditions. Roy Navarre, a research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Prosser, Wash., will add a nutritional twist—studying the impacts of these factors on the healthful phytonutrients in potato skins.

 

Project leader Mike Thornton, a University of Idaho potato physiologist at Parma, expects the results of the multi-year effort to be a comprehensive set of recommendations for skin quality-enhancing practices. “I think we can make some progress with some fairly simple treatments,” he said.

 

At Kimberly, colleague Nora Olsen, a University of Idaho Extension potato specialist, will concentrate on the critical, early-storage “wound healing” period when potatoes temporarily need higher humidity and temperatures. She will also evaluate disinfectants and other compounds that are applied as potatoes enter the storage shed or leave the packing shed. Olsen hopes to identify strategies for putting the shine back on the spuds and for keeping appearance-marring diseases and disorders from getting a foothold.

 

“A bright, beautiful color and top-quality appearance are very important to marketing specialty potatoes: they need to catch the buyer’s eye,” said Olsen.

 

At Aberdeen, potato pathologist Phillip Wharton will address silver scurf—a blemish-producing disease that leaves only a slightly noticeable silvery sheen on thicker-skinned russet potatoes but very evident dry patches on specialty spuds.

 

And in Prosser, Navarre will tease out the relationships among the various management approaches and the healthfulness and hue of two sizes of potatoes—tiny one- or two-ounce “baby” potatoes harvested in June and a second crop harvested later and larger in August. Previous research has shown that very small, immature and deeply colored specialty potatoes are exceptionally rich in phytonutrients and that these phytonutrients do not decrease after steaming, boiling, baking, microwaving or stir-frying.

 

“We have two very desirable goals—higher amounts of phytonutrients and an even more visually appealing potato,” Navarre said. “Hand in hand, that’s a very good combination to have.”

 

The trial will include Yukon Gem, a white-skinned potato with yellow flesh; All Blue, a purple-skinned potato with purple and white flesh; Red LaSoda, a red-skinned potato with white flesh; Purple Pelisse, a purple-skinned fingerling potato with purple flesh; Bintje, a white-skinned potato with light-yellow flesh, and POR01PG20-12, a red-skinned potato with red and white flesh. Purple Pelisse is a recent release from the Tri-State Potato Variety Development Program, in which the University of Idaho participates.

 

The project is funded by both the Idaho Potato Commission and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

4 May 2009

 

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1.26  Space tomato project offers potential for drought, disease resistance

 

Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansas - home of thousands of backyard gardens, farmer’s markets, and a summer festival that pays annual homage to the tomato - also is home to a team of scientists based at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) that is developing a tomato plant hearty enough to grow in space and surviving down-to-earth droughts and disease.

 

More than providing fresh produce for astronauts on extended missions to Mars, the research has important implications for developing crops resistant to drought and other stresses while improving the nutritional value of food.

 

Dr. Mariya Khodakovskaya, assistant professor of applied science, and Dr. Stephen Grace, associate professor of biology, at UALR and researchers at Arkansas State University and University of Central Arkansas are preparing to patent their new and effective ways to increase production of antioxidants in plants and make them more tolerant to stresses such as drought and disease.

 

“We are working now on tomatoes, but we are identifying mechanisms and genes that are responsible for other traits and can be used for other crops more important in countries that have droughts,” Khodakovskaya said. “It has implications for earth agriculture as well as space agriculture, which is why the project has been funded for three years by Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.”

 

The scientists believe future investments will promote collaborative partnerships between UALR and private and public institutions throughout Arkansas that will make UALR more competitive in attracting research dollars to further expand undergraduate and graduate studies in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, and related disciplines.

 

A year when she was affiliated with North Carolina State University, Khodakovskaya placed her experiment growing cherry tomatoes aboard the International Space Station.

 

“It was the first transgenic tomato tested in space conditions,” she said.

 

Her transgenic tomato plants show dramatic increases in drought tolerance, vegetative biomass and fruit lycopene concentration. Studies in Arkansas and worldwide have shown that antioxidants such as lycopene are important in the prevention of cancer and many other chronic diseases. These established tomato plants are an excellent model for identification of novel means to enhance production of lycopene and other antioxidants in plants.

 

Grace, who earned his Ph.D. at Duke University, has focused his research on diverse aspects of plant biology, including biochemical analysis of secondary metabolic pathways to environmental signaling mechanisms and the physiology of stress on plants.

 

He and Khodakovskaya’s cross-linked research projects are supported by grants from the P3 Research Center of Arkansas NSF EPSCoR Program - the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research - and the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.

 

Dr. Khodakovskaya will identify key genes and gene networks involved in stress tolerance and activation of antioxidant production in tomato plants. Her team will also create new reproducible biological source of antioxidants by establishment of highly productive tomato “hairy roots” cultures.

 

Dr. Grace works on the biochemistry of flavonoids, another important group of plant phytochemicals that act as health promoting antioxidants. Flavonoids have shown promise in protection against coronary heart disease, neuron damage, certain cancers, and other age-related diseases.

 

“For this reason, there is great interest in developing crops with optimized levels and composition of these high value natural products,” Grace said. “Our group studies the light regulation of flavonoid synthesis in tomato in order to develop strategies to increase flavonoid levels for improved nutritional content.”

 

Other scientists working on the project are Dr. Nawab Ali, research associate professor in UALR’s Graduate Institute of Technology; Dr. Fabricio Medina-Bolivar of Arkansas State University; and Dr. J.D. Swanson of the University of Central Arkansas. Undergraduate and graduate students at each institution are involved in research projects directed at enhancing nutritional and pharmaceutical value of crops by genetic approaches.

 

“As soon as we develop a new tomato with drought tolerance and more antioxidants, we will test how it grows in space conditions,” Khodakovskaya said.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

7 May 2009

 

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1.27  Iowa State University researchers identify genetic pathway responsible for much of plant growth

 

Ames, Iowa

Researchers at Iowa State University have discovered a previously unknown pathway in plant cells that regulates plant growth.

 

Yanhai Yin, an assistant professor in genetics, development and cell biology, examined signaling mechanisms of a plant hormone called brassinosteroids. The hormone controls the growth of cells.

 

The brassinosteroids (BRs) have a major impact on how large the plant grows, says Yin.

 

"Previously, we knew that steroids promote growth," said Yin. "In model plants like Arabidopsis (a relative of mustard) and crops such as corn and rice, if you have more steroids, you have more growth, and if you have less steroids, you have less growth and the plant is smaller."

 

Now Yin knows that the HERK1 (named for Hercules -- the Greek and Roman god who possessed superhuman strength) pathway, induced by BRs, is controlling much of that growth.

 

Yin and his team's findings are in the May 5 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

 

There are many other internal and external factors such as light, nutrition and hydration that effect plant growth, but the HERK1, along with some unknown signals, have a great effect.

 

Yin and his team of Hongqing Guo, assistant scientist; Lei Li, Huaxun Ye, and Xiaofei Yu, all graduate students; and Alexandria Algreen, undergraduate student; have shown that by over-expressing HERK1, they were able to increase a plant's size by 10 to 15 percent.

 

By under-expressing HERK1, the plants were about 50 percent smaller.

 

Now Yin and his group are trying to find what regulates HERK1 and how HERK1 controls growth.

 

Understanding what make plants get bigger could be a critical component when producing grain and bio-mass for biofuels.

 

"With that knowledge, maybe we have one more tool to manipulate corn and rice if we want more grain, or if we want more mass for bio-energy crops," he said.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

22 May 2009

 

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1.28  First Jatropha genome completed by Synthetic Genomics Inc. and Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology

 

La Jolla, California and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Partners analyze Jatropha genome and associated microbial genomes to understand and improve plant yield and health to develop renewable fuels, biofertilizers, and disease control solutions

 

- Jatropha genome represents second mMilestone accomplishment for partners who announced complete oil palm genome sequence in 2008

 

Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), a privately held company applying genomic-driven commercial solutions to address global issues, and Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology (ACGT), a company focused on the commercial application of genome technology to improve oil palm and other crops, today announced completion of a first draft, 10X assembly of the jatropha genome. The completed jatropha genome represents another significant milestone in the ongoing joint venture between ACGT and SGI announced in 2007. The partners previously announced completion of the oil palm genome in 2008. ACGT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asiatic Development Berhad, an oil palm plantation company and a member of the Genting Group.

 

ACGT and SGI have focused on Jatropha for several reasons: it is a tropical tree that is one of the highest yielding oilseed plants in the world; it can be grown on marginal, non-food producing lands; has a very short generation time; can be productive for 30 to 40 years; and its seed oil and biomass are ideal for biofuel production. Jatropha is a non-domesticated plant which makes it an ideal subject for genetically engineered improvements.

 

The sequencing of the genome, using both traditional Sanger sequencing and next generation sequencing, has revealed that the jatropha genome is approximately 400 million base pairs in size, similar to the size of the rice genome. The teams are now working on annotating the genome to identify particular genes of interest and to discover genetic variations for use in marker assisted breeding. The teams are also applying traditional breeding tools, as well as modern plant molecular biology tools, to improve plant yield, oil quality, fertilizer requirements and to enhance stress and disease tolerance.

 

ACGT and SGI have also been exploring the microbial life around the jatropha tree using environmental genomic techniques to sequence and analyze jatropha's root, soil and leaf bacterial and fungal communities. By understanding these environments SGI and ACGT will be able to develop diagnostic tests for plant diseases and agents for disease control, leading to healthier and more productive crops. These genomic solutions also allow for more efficient land usage with improved stewardship of the plantation environment.

 

"Having the sequenced genome of jatropha will enable us to develop new, sustainable energy feedstocks that grow on marginal land or in more arid climates and that do not compete with agriculture for food production," said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., founder and CEO of SGI. "SGI and ACGT will be hard at work on the next steps to use our methods to improve these oilseed crops so that we have higher yielding plants for biofuels, microbial fertilizers, and biologically-based disease control methods."

 

"The completion of the jatropha genome is yet another significant milestone for ACGT and SGI. It will accelerate our goal of commercially cultivating high-yielding jatropha for biodiesel production," said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chief Executive of Asiatic Development Berhad.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

20 May 2009

 

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1.29  Improving citrus rootstocks in the Mediterranean

 

The European Union project on Citrus Breeding for Efficient Water and Nutrient Use, led by six research organizations working in the Mediterranean including the French Agricultural Research Center for international Development has just been completed. The project has developed standard protocols to identify physiological and molecular indicators for tolerance to salt and water stress which became the basis to identify candidate genes for salt, water and iron stress useful for varietal breeding and selection. The researchers also developed some ten new somatic hybrids through cell fusion via somatic hybridization of four Citrus x Poncirus. Intergeneric combinations for disease tolerance from Poncirus and abiotic stress tolerance from Citrus were conducted. In addition, the researchers found out  that the diploid and tetraploid progenies regulate the synthesis of abscissic acid - the key hormone in water and salt stress response as it triggers the closure of the stomata, hence avoiding water loss - in different ways.

 

Two regional networks have been set up: one will assess the new rootstocks at various sites and the other will improve the management and use of citrus genetic resources, particularly in Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco.

For details, view the press release at: http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=1117

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 30 April 2009

 

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.30  Brazilian researchers develop Vitamin A enriched maize

 

Maize varieties with increased pro-vitamin A content could be growing in Brazil by next year. Researchers at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) are developing maize varieties with increased levels of beta-carotene. So far they have bred maize that contains 9.2 micrograms beta-carotene per gram kernel. That's four times the beta-carotene content of traditional yellow maize varieties. The EMBRAPA researchers are being supported by Harvestplus, a research initiative implemented by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) that focuses on using the tools of plant breeding to biofortify staple food crops.

 

The agronomic performance of the vitamin A-fortified maize cultivar will be evaluated this planting season. If everything goes well, the new maize variety will be available to farmers by 2010. EMBRAPA is also doing biofortification research on cassava, beans, sweet potato, cowpeas, and wheat.

 

For more information, read http://www.cnpms.embrapa.br/noticias/mostranoticia.php?codigo=525

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 8 May 2009

 

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.31  DNA sequence of a key wheat disease resistance gene

 

Scientists uncover A global team of researchers that includes CIMMYT scientists has uncovered the molecular basis of a "wonder" gene that, in tandem with other resistance genes, has helped protect wheat from three deadly fungal diseases for more than 50 years, providing farmers benefits in excess of USD five billion in harvests saved.

http://www.cimmyt.org/english/wps/news/2009/feb/dnawheat.htm

 

Source: CIMMYT

 

Contributed by Margaret E. Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding & Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.32  Acquiring cheap genome sequence data can improve the quality of feedstocks used to create biofuels, according to a new study published in The Plant Genome

 

Madison, Wisconsin
With the costs of genome sequencing rapidly decreasing, and with the infrastructure now developed for almost anyone with access to a computer to cheaply store, access, and analyze sequence information, emphasis is increasingly being placed on ways to apply genome data to real world problems, including reducing dependency on fossil fuel. For the efficient production of bioenergy, this may be accomplished through development of improved feedstocks.

 

A recently published study examined the impact of very cheap sequence data (approximately 1USD per genome) on improvement of switchgrass, a perennial grass well suited to biomass production. Results were published in the current issue of The Plant Genome.

 

Acquiring the genetic component of natural variation is or will soon become cheap enough that it will soon be able to be incorporated through marker-assisted selection into almost all breeding programs. With availability of cheap sequencing capacity, neither complete sequence assembly nor gene annotation is required to apply these techniques.

 

In a species such as switchgrass there exists a great deal of phenotypic variation derived from latitudinal adaptation across its natural range and local adaptation to soil, temperature, and moisture conditions. It is still largely undomesticated and thus large gains might be realized through fixation of beneficial alleles in breeding populations. There are likely to be a few genes with large effects that will dramatically impact yields once incorporated into breeding programs. This has occurred during the domestication of all our grain crops, but it may take just a fraction of the time now.

 

The development of a dollar genome sequence could provide information highways that would cut across several disciplines and drive the development of next generation biomass feedstocks, bioproducts, and processes for replacing fossil fuels. New feedstocks could produce sustainable high yields with minimal inputs in regions where competition with food is minimized, as well as provide ancillary environmental benefits associated with carbon sequestration and environmental remediation.

 

Another result of inexpensive sequencing would be an increased use of comparative genomics. A comprehensive survey of genetic diversity would help guide conservation efforts to preserve germplasm diversity and allow reconstruction of past speciation events at a more detailed level.

 

As a result of access to multiple related genomes, similarities between closely related species would allow inference of missing data. For example, if a draft switchgrass genome assembly does not provide a complete assembly as judged by comparison to an inbred genome or more closely related grass, it will be possible to infer unresolved regions, including retrotransposon family composition and composition of other abundant repetitive elements. Comparative approaches would be applied to better understand the molecular basis for differences between species that result in higher or lower yields in different environments.

 

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://plantgenome.scijournals.org/content/2/1/5.full.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

11 May 2009

 

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1.33  Pooling resources for crop science - New analytical methods to improve plant breeding

 

Germany
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing up to 40 million euros to fund four Networks of Competence in the field of agricultural research over five years.

 

Headed by Bonn University and the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the "CROPSENSe" Network of Competence is one of four projects to have emerged as a winner in the "Networks of Competence in Agricultural and Food Research" competition run by the BMBF.

 

Working together with many partners from universities and the private sector, new analytical methods are being developed to improve plant breeding and research in the agricultural sciences. CROPSENSe will use innovative sensor systems to make the invisible visible for agricultural research. The key crop processes and structures will be analysed by contact-free, high-speed methods in the future.

 

New technologies will contribute significantly to raising yields, while simultaneously conserving resources. This is why new sensor systems are being developed to catalogue, adapt and combine properties of plants and stands. It will then be possible to recognise plant and soil conditions quickly, precisely and non-destructively, for example, to develop better plant varieties.

 

The funding amounts to 9.7 million euros over the next five years. North Rhine-Westphalia will add 4.7 million euros. The Network of Competence brings together a total of 41partners from universities throughout Germany, plus non-university research and industrial partners.

 

http://www.research-in-Germany.de/Newsletter

 

Source: : Research in Germany, Newsletter Issue 1 April 2009 via SeedQuest.com

April 2009

 

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1.34  Genetic modification, modified: a new technique allows precision gene modification in plants

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota
University and
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers used a new method of genetic modification to alter a single gene in tobacco plants.

 

The controversy surrounding genetic modification of plants stems partly from the way it's done: Genes are introduced in scattergun fashion, with little control over where they integrate into the genome and what effects that may have.

 

But a new, precise method promises to restore much of that lost control. Developed by University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital researchers, it uses an enzyme that reads DNA like Braille and makes pinpoint changes in the gene targeted for modification.In a paper published April 29 online in Nature, a team led by University of Minnesota researcher Daniel Voytas describes how they used the method to engineer tobacco plants for resistance to herbicide. Only one gene was changed, and no genes were added to the plant's chromosomes.

 

The method has potential for changing the way researchers approach a host of tasks, such as making crops more nutritious or resistant to adverse conditions, coaxing algae to produce more biofuel, or even curing diseases in humans and other animals.

 

"My colleagues and I demonstrated the first use of the technology in plants, and we and others have shown it to work in human cell lines and other animal models, such as fruit flies and roundworms," says Voytas, a professor of genetics, cell biology and development and director of the University's new Center for Genome Engineering.

 

"The method offers enormous potential for gene therapy, and its advantage is its precision."

 

The enzymes at the heart of the technology are known as zinc finger nucleases, or ZFNs. In doing their job, ZFNs explore the DNA in a cell nucleus, probing with extensions—"zinc fingers"—until they find the particular DNA sequences they have been designed to ferret out. They then chop those sequences out of the chromosome, replacing them with new sequences—provided by the researchers—that confer herbicide resistance or other traits.

 

In the case of the tobacco plant, "the modified gene is a widely used target for herbicides," says Voytas. When functioning normally, the gene instructs the cell to make a protein that's crucial for life but that can be disabled if a herbicide molecule attaches to it.

 

But the modified gene instructs the cell to make a slightly altered version of the protein, one that can still perform its cellular duty but offers no foothold for a herbicide. And so the plant becomes herbicide-resistant.

 

Voytas is now testing the method in rice, the world's most important crop; a member of the mustard family called Arabidopsis, a widely studied model plant; and algae with the potential to produce biofuel. If successful, ZFNs could become the tool of choice for getting more bang for the agricultural buck.

 

Or, as Voytas puts it, "The technology is ready for prime time."

 

By Deane Morrison

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

5 May 2009

 

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1.35  Royalties: a taxing problem for plant breeders

 

United Kingdom
Special issue of
Insight, UK Agriseeds Business Source: Green Resources

 

Traditionally the certified seed price of field crops includes the cost of royalty. This practice of ‘front end’ loading royalty is now not only outmoded but paradoxically is proving to be counterproductive. Furthermore, as long as royalty remains attached to the seed price it will be regarded as a tax rather than a reward for innovation.

 

This article addresses some of the issues facing the European Plant Breeding Industry and its intention is to stimulate debate on how to achieve better intellectual property management.

Link to full article

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

21 May 2009

 

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2  PUBLICATIONS

 

2.01  ICRISAT mandates open access to all its scientific and scholarly publications

 

Patancheru, India

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has formally launched an open access (OA) system for its scientific publications. ICRISAT has declared the Green OA Mandate in the Institute, thereby making available a digital, web-accessible repository of pre-prints of the scientific and scholarly publications emerging from ICRISAT’s research.

 

According to the registry on global OA initiatives maintained by the University of Southampton in the UK, ICRISAT is among the earliest agricultural research institute to declare the Green Mandate. The University of Southampton maintains the database which is called Roarmap.

 

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, said that the OA mandate will further enhance the profile of the Institute through improved citations to published scientific work. “Our Institute’s Green OA Mandate is in keeping with our guiding principle of developing international public goods, and it will further demonstrate the public value, and social and economic relevance of ICRISAT’s research.”

 

The spiraling journal subscription costs have impacted the availability of critical research information to researchers across the globe. In the current global economic scenario, even institutions in developed countries find it difficult to meet increasing journal subscription costs.

 

Since the beginning of this decade, the open access movement has sprung up with roots in many developed countries. Champions of the OA movement believe that in spite of publisher-mandated copyright restrictions, authors of scientific and scholarly papers have the fullest freedom to share their findings with their peer community.

 

The OA repository of ICRISAT can be accessed at http://openaccess.icrisat.org.

Most of ICRISAT’s print publications can be accessed at http://books.icrisat.org

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

27 May 2009

 

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2.02  Proceedings available of the Eighth African Crop Science Conference

 

The proceedings are now available online of the Eighth African Crop Science Conference  held 27-31 October 2007, El-Minia, Egypt. The publication includes more than 400 high quality papers, 10 plenary, as well as, 5 keynote lectures, in different fields, presented orally or in poster format in the conference, which constituted the bulk of the four parts of the proceedings, 2200 pages (African Crop Science proceedings, October 2007, volume 8). The theme of the conference was “Crop research, technology dissemination and adoption to increase food supply, reducing hunger and poverty in Africa.

 

Click on the link to access these Free-publications: http://www.acss.ws/?t=a_conf&s=4

 

Contributed by Kasem Zaki Ahmed

President, African Crop Science Society

Minia University, El-Minia, Egypt

 acss@acss.ws

 

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2.03  Improved and expanded IP Handbook of Best Practices Website

 

Improved and Expanded IP Handbook of Best Practices Website just launched thanks to collaboration with Concept Foundation and funding from the Rockefeller Foundation (now Online: www.ipHandbook.org )

 

Major improvements and expansions to the website launched today, thanks to a new collaboration with Concept Foundation and funding by the Rockefeller Foundation:

 

1. Special video presentations, downloadable with synchronized slides, prepared by the ipHandbook community. Includes a unique & growing list of links to other relevant videos.

2. An exclusive list of distance learning courses, including one prepared by and for the ipHandbook community in collaboration with UNIDO’s e-Biosafety Training Programme

3. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates (read our twitter strategy on the homepage) or use the new RSS Feeds on selected pages.

4. Improved navigation with pull-down menus.

5. Integrated Google translation on each page.

6. Improved search functions.

7. The full content now shared under a Creative Commons license.

8. An updated and expanded Resources section (more updates to follow soon).

9. A vibrant blog on current IP topics, including a list of over 60 IP related blogs by third parties.

10. Translation by PIPRA of 31 chapters into Vietnamese. Everyone is encouraged to request a royalty-free license to translate individual chapters or the executive guide into other languages.

 

Over the next 6 months, we will gradually update and expand patent search tools, information resources, publications, sample agreements and much more. Most importantly, however, we are aiming at establishing a virtual global network of IP and innovation managers, policymakers, scientists and R&D leaders. We are in the process of developing interactive tools, allowing people from around the world to interact and build a social IP network. Specific features to become avail-able include:

 

- Networking features (using LinkedIn), capitalizing on the Web 2.0 possibilities.

 

- Discussion boards, including the possibility for users to upload references, comments, upcoming events and links, thus allowing the content to be expanded and remain current.

- An index of relevant statutory protection and licensing regulations in selected countries.

- The addition of additional topics and resources, including Wiki-type features on such topics as “knowledge gov-ernance” (or what lies beyond IP), “global access strategies” and more.

Stay tuned and follow-up on Twitter to be updated in real-time on new features

 

About the Handbook and Executive Guide:

 

􀀹 The comprehensive Handbook and Executive Guide provide substantive discussions and analysis of the opportunities awaiting anyone in the field who wants to put intellectual property to work. The printed version includes 153 chap-ters on a full range of IP topics and over 50 case studcomposed by over 200 authors from North, South, East, and West.

 

􀀹 It is available in print form, sold to high-income countries (click here to purchase your copy now) and distributed for free to low- and middle-income countries (see if you quali-fy), subject to availability of funding for distribution support.

 

􀀹 Each of the chapters can be downloaded in PDF. Photocopying and distribution through the Internet for non-commercial purposes is permitted and encouraged, providing all such copies include complete citation and copyright notices as given on the first page of each chapter. Thanks to support from the Global Forum for Health Research, a CD-ROM is also available and can be downloaded. Click on the CD-ROM image t

 

“Pragmatic IP management is build-ing bridges between the world’s islands, be they economic, institu-tional, or geographic. The choice of this metaphor is not accidental. It affirms a key claim that reverberates within the resource: the global IP system and innovation management are not about changing islands. Rather, it is about building bridges between them” noted Anatole Krattiger, the Handbook’s Editor-in-Chief.

 

For further information, please contact:

editors@ipHandbook.org

Or:

Peter Hall, Acting CEO of the Concept Foundation (peterehall@spamarrest.com)

Alan Bennett, Executive Director, PIPRA (abbennett@ucdavis.edu)

Anatole Krattiger, Editor-in-Chief (afk3@cornell.edu or anatole@asu.edu)

 

Contributed by Anatole Krattiger

Editor-in-Chief

afk3@cornell.edu

 

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2.04  Cereal Breeding, in the Handbook of Plant Breeding series

 

Agriculture depends on improved cultivars, and plant breeders are those who develop improved cultivars through proper germplasm choice. Breeding methods and molecular tools are secondary to germplasm choice in plant breeding. The lack of funding presents a serious threat to plant breeding programs focused on cereal commodity crops. This loss of public support affects breeding continuity, objectivity, and, perhaps equally important, the training of future plant breeders for the utilization and improvement of current plant genetic resources, especially those that are genetically broad based. The research products of breeding programs are important not only for food security, but also for commodity-oriented public and private programs, especially on the fringes of crop production and rural communities.

 

This volume, as part of the Handbook of Plant Breeding series, aims to increase utilization of plant genetic resources and to heighten awareness of the value and impact of plant breeding and biotechnology. Ensuring strong applied plant breeding programs with targeted use of molecular tools to specific traits (e.g. qualitative and highly heritable traits that are difficult to measure) will be essential in ensuring a sustainable use of plant genetic resources. We have an opportunity to greatly enhance agricultural production and value through germplasm adaptation, increased genetic diversity on farms, and maximization of genetic improvement under environmental stresses to meet the growing demands for food security, food quality, and environmental conservation.

 

Cereals presents breeding efforts in major cereal crops (maize, sorghum, rice, spring wheat, winter wheat, durum wheat, barley, rye, and triticale) and chapters devoted to increasing the value of cereal breeding under different scenarios (GxE interaction, grain quality, silage quality, and participatory plant breeding). We hope to include other cereal crops in future editions.

 

The book is a novel and exciting contribution to the field of cereal breeding and should be of great interest to students and scientists alike. Thirty-nine authors representing over 10 developed and developing countries as well international centers (e.g. CIMMYT, ICARDA, FAO) have done an excellent job sharing knowledge and experience to the next generation of plant breeders that will develop the future cultivars for different purposes. We feel this book is very opportune since there has been a serious erosion of public plant breeders especially in the past 10 years.

 

This book is a call to policy makers, breeders, educators, instructors, students, industry leaders, grant donors, grant reviewers, economists, and many others to meet the need for continuous and holistic long-term applied plant breeding programs that will supply the future generation of plant breeders. Without them, there will be no development of future cultivars. More than ever, scientists are encouraged to be creative in their search for needed research in order to address current and future challenges before searching for funding. The conduction of long-term research with applied impact will be beneficial as well as the exploration of plant breeding paradigms and scientific alternatives between enhanced productivity (and uniformity) and enhanced quality of life for all human beings. Millions of people have the right to access to adequate food (FAO, 2008). While food distribution is still a challenge all over the world to alleviate hunger, there is still enough food for an increasing human population and cereal breeding is the best investment to maintain enough food supply under the environmental challenges facing our planet (e.g. global warming, biofuel demand, abiotic stresses).

 

Marcelo Carena is Associate Professor from the Department of Plant Sciences at the North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo, ND, USA. Since 1999, Dr. Carena is the Director of the NDSU Corn Breeding and Genetics Program, the most northern public corn research program in North America focused on increasing genetic diversity, drought tolerance, and grain quality in early maturing maize cultivar development. He teaches Quantitative Genetics and Crop Breeding Techniques at NDSU. Prof. Carena is currently Editor of Euphytica and Maydica, and Chair of the Crop Science Society of America Maize Registration Committee. Dr. Carena has trained five Ph.D. and eight MS students, two Visiting Scientists, and several interns over the past 10 years. In the same time, he has released eight early maturing corn inbred lines, has released four improved early maturing populations, and has published over 50 scientific papers, abstracts, book chapters, and editions on maize breeding and genetics.

 

Written for: Plant breeders, researchers, courses in plant breeding

Keywords:

  • cereal crop breeding
  • cereal genomics
  • cereals
  • crop breeding
  • plant science

 

http://www.springer.com/life+sci/plant+sciences/book/978-0-387-72294-8

 

Series: Handbook of Plant Breeding , Vol. 3

Carena, Marcelo J. (Ed.)

2009, XIV, 426 p. 40 illus., 13 in color., Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-387-72294-8

Online version available

 

Contributed by Marcelo Carena

marcelo.carena@ndsu.edu

 

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3.  WEB RESOURCES

 

3.01  New  Farming First website now open

 

The Farming First website developed by CropLife International in partnership with the International Fertiliser Association (IFA), the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) is now available for viewing at http://www.farmingfirst.org.

 

Farming First is a joint policy platform that highlights six areas for action with regards to food security and the future of agriculture.

 

Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com

15 May 2009

 

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

 

3.02  New website dedicated to Jatropha research and crop improvement

 

A website dedicated for researchers who are focusing on Jatropha crop improvement, molecular biology, genetics and genomics has recently been launched.

 

The website is a one stop portal for the scientific community to create a common platform to upload expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and full length DNA sequences for free.

 

Submitted sequences are accepted from registrants and are checked by a technical group before uploading.

 

For further information, visit http://jatrophagenomics.rellife.com/.

 

Suggestions to further improve the website are welcome.

Comments may be posted on the website or write to jatropha_genomics@relbio.com.

 

Source: CropBiotech Update via SeedQuest.com

29 May 2009

 

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3.03  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council launches consultation on future research for food security

 

United Kingdom

The UK’s biggest funder of agri-food research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has launched a consultation on future research to tackle the growing but preventable food security crisis.

 

With an inexorably growing population, global harvests threatened by climate change, the very real threat of exotic and endemic animal disease and with a global economic downturn disrupting the flow of trade, the world faces a growing food security crisis. Research will play a vital role in finding solutions to this challenge and preventing the crisis.

 

The consultation, on behalf of the UK Research Councils, is seeking views on research relating to the production, supply and consumption of food both for UK needs and more widely in an international context of global food security. The Research Councils have identified topics as potential priorities for future research and the barriers preventing delivery and we are seeking stakeholder views on these.

 

Responses to the consultation will shape a food security research road map. This will set out the research across a wide range of disciplines that will be needed to address the challenges of ensuring future food security, including both long-term research and work with more immediate impact.

 

Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research, said: “We need to increase global food supply by 50% by 2030. This consultation is the opportunity for all interested organisations and individuals to comment on the future research we need to deliver this and avoid a growing food security crisis. We are looking for responses to questions that include research targets in food production and supply, ways to ensure knowledge transfer into practical application and public policy and providing the skills and training we need.”

 

The consultation is open now and will close on 17 July 2009. Further information and the full consultation document is available at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/consultations.

 

The UK Research Councils support research and training in a wide range of disciplines that relate to food security, including biological, environmental, nutritional, economic and social sciences.

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

27 May 2009

 

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3.04  PAR Newsletter  -- Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research 

 

No 3, May 2009

 

Dear colleagues,

the Platform websites are back online!

Together with this good news we send you our latest newsletter. Even if some time has passed since our last issue we hope you will enjoy reading our information and you will visit our websites at 

www.agrobiodiversityplatform.org and climate.agrobiodiversityplatform.org

 

Contents

 

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4.  GRANTS AVAILABLE

 

4.01  Grant funds available from the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP)

 

CSREES Announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP)

(Note: for US only)

 

Program Areas of Emphasis FY 2009 Funding Cycle includes Agricultural Sciences and Engineering for Bioenergy – specifically in agronomy, agricultural process engineering, agricultural biotechnology, and crop science to address the workforce demands for expertise to meet demands of a renewable energy economy  

 

CSREES solicits applications for the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program to support undergraduate and veterinary (first professional) training scholarships for both baccalaureate and D.V.M. levels of study in the identified Program Areas of Emphasis. Applications are also being solicited for SEL funding for USDA MSP Scholars.  Applicants should be institutions that confer a baccalaureate degree in at least one of the areas of food and agricultural sciences, and/or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Awards are made to eligible colleges and universities. Individuals are not eligible to apply for these grants to support their D.V.M. and/or baccalaureate education in food and agricultural sciences.

 

Program Goal:   To increase participation of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the highly trained, technical workforce for food, agricultural, and natural resource sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.

 

Closing Date: July 28, 2009

 

Proposed Award DateJanuary 15, 2010

 

Funding Opportunity NumberUSDA-CSREES-HEMS-002301

 

Program Code: KF

 

Funds Available: $0.8 million

 

CFDA Number: 10.220

 

ONLY ELECTRONIC APPLICATIONS THROUGH WWW.GRANTS.GOV ARE ACCEPTABLE.

 

Contributed by Ann Marie Thro

 (CSREES), USDA

athro@csrees.usda.gov

 

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5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

5.01  Fellowships available under the TWAS fellowship programmes

 

TWAS-CSIR Fellowships for Postgraduate Studies in India*

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and TWAS offer fellowships for scientists from developing countries (other than India) who wish to obtain a PhD in newly emerging areas in science and technology. SANDWICH and FULL-TIME fellowships available.

Duration: up to 4 years        Deadline for applications: was 1 June each year *now extended to 1 JULY 2009*        Age limit: 35

 

*TWAS-DBT Biotechnology Fellowships for Postgraduate Studies in India*

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (DBT) and TWAS offer fellowships for scientists from developing countries (other than India) who wish to obtain a PhD in biotechnology. SANDWICH and FULL-TIME fellowships available.

Duration: up to 5 years            Deadline for applications: 31 August each year               Age limit: 30

 

*TWAS-CSIR Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research in India*

CSIR and TWAS offer fellowships to scientists from developing countries (other than India) who wish to pursue postdoctoral research in newly emerging areas in science and technology.

Duration: 6 to 12 months    Deadline for applications: was 1 June each year *now extended to 1 JULY 2009*   Age limit: 45

 

*TWAS-DBT Biotechnology Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research in India*
DBT and TWAS offer fellowships to scientists from developing countries (other than India) who wish to pursue postdoctoral research in biotechnology.

Duration: 6 to 12-18 months    Deadline for applications: 31 August each year        Age limit: 40

 

Please visit the TWAS website regarding TWAS's programmes: http://www.twas.org > Programmes > Exchange for updated news regarding all the Fellowship programmes, participating countries and where you may download the application forms or contact us at fellowships@twas.org.

 

Contributed by the TWAS Fellowships Office
TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world

http://www.twas.org/

 

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6. MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

New and updated listings may include some program details, while repeat listings will include only basic information. Visit web sites for additional details.

 

 

(NEW) 22-23 July 2009. Breeding for Resistance to Whitefly-transmitted Viruses, University of Florida/IFAS, Plant Pathology Department, Royal Plaza Hotel in the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida

www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/whitefly 

 

Topics to be discussed include

  • Begomoviruses,
  • Description and Current Taxonomy of Criniviruses,
  • Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV),
  • Whitefly Vectors,
  • Methods of Inoculation of Whitefly-transmitted Viruses,
  • Inoculation of Begomoviruses and Criniviruses by Whiteflies,
  • the Mechanics of Working with Begomoviruses and Criniviruses,
  • Cultural Practices for Management of Whitefly-transmitted Viruses for use in Plant Breeding Programs,
  • Interactions Between Whitefly-transmitted Viruses and Other Viruses, and
  • Breeding for Begomovirus resistance in Tomato

 

Enrollment is limited to 25, so register early to secure a place in the workshop.

Advance registration is required.

 

For more information please contact:

Jane Polston, Workshop Organizer
jep@ufl.edu

 

3-5 August 2009. 3rd Annual Plant Breeding Workshop, National Association of Plant Breeders,  Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/gpb/pr/pbccmain.html

Sponsored by SCC-080, the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee. The workshop has three goals: 1) to carry out discussions on strategies to shape the future of plant breeding, 2) to expose participants to state of the art plant breeding research through invited speakers, and 3) to encourage the exchange of knowledge through poster presentations by participants. Register online at: http://www.peopleware.net/2723/index.cfm?siteID=358&eventDisp=0-43-01.  For more information, visit http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/gpb/meetings/pbccmeeting2009.html.

 

10-14 August 2009. 14th Australasian Plant Breeding & 11th Society for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia & Oceania Conference, Cairns Convention Centre, Tropical North Queensland, Australia
http://www.plantbreeding09.com.au/Home/tabid/1129/Default.aspx

 

1-16 September 2009. Rice Breeding Course: Laying the Foundation for the Second Green Revolution. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Email/web contact information

Dr. Edilberto D. Redoña

Course Coordinator

e.redona@cgiar.org

or

Dr. Noel P. Magor

Head, Training Center

IRRITraining@cgiar.org

 

2-4 September 2009. Meeting of the Biometrics in Plant Breeding section of Eucarpia, Dundee, Scotland UK.

 http://www.scri.ac.uk/events/forthcomingevents/eucarpia2009

 

7-9 September 2009. International Conference on Heterosis in Plants: Genetics and molecular causes and optimal exploitation in breeding, University of Hohenheim. Stuttgart, Germany. www.uni-hohenheim.de/heterosis

 

 8–10 September 2009. 2nd World Seed Conference: Responding to the challenges of a changing world, FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy

Visit the 2nd World Seed Conference website for more information.

 

9 September 2009. Registrations open for the first of the John Innes Centenary Events  More»
Advances is available in both PDF and HTML format at
www.jic.ac.uk/corporate/about/publications/

 

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

 

24-27 September 2009. Foundations Centennial Meeting: A celebration of 100 years of private grape breeding with North American Vitis, Sweet Briar College and Chateau-A, Virginia.

http://chateau-z.com/downloads/Foundations%20Centennial%20Meeting%20announcement.pdf

28 Sept. – 1 Oct. 2009. 9th African Crop Science Society Conference, Cape Town, South Africa. Conference theme: Science and technology supporting food security in Africa.  http://www.acss2009.up.ac.za.

 

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

 

13-16 October 2009. 12th International Cereal Rusts and Powdery Mildew Conference, Antalya, Turkey

12th ICRPMC-2009, Antalya (http://www.icrpmc2009.org and http://www.crpmb.org

 

1-5 November 2009. Footprints of Plant Diversity in the Agricultural Landscape. (A symposium of the CSSA/ASA/SSSA annual meetings, Pittsburgh, PA, USA).

https://www.acsmeetings.org/

Division contact:  2009 Division Chair Ann Marie Thro,

athro@csrees.usda.gov

 

2 November – 6 December 2009. UPOV distance learning course

Introduction to the UPOV System of Plant Variety Protection under the UPOV Convention

The UPOV Distance Learning course (DL-205 - Introduction to the UPOV System of Plant Variety Protection under the UPOV Convention)

 

(Update) 6 to 9 November, 2009, Lima Peru. 15th Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops: Tropical Roots and Tubers in a Changing Climate: A convenient opportunity for the World, The International Potato Center, Lima, Peru. http://www.cipotato.info/

 

Tentative Program. Based on paper submissions, the Program now includes 11 sessions. The new session added (Session IV-A) is related to New Technologies for Production of Planting Materials in Roots and Tuber crops.

All Satellite Sessions from the first notice were eliminated from the Program. We will be happy to schedule a satellite session at your request. The individual or group requesting the session will be responsible to organize and run it. Other participants may join the group later, after registration.

The Program Committee (Drs. A. Westby, Chair and W. Roca, Co-Chair) welcome your suggestions by Satellite Sessions, up to the end of September. Click here for More

 

Exhibition. We ask exhibitors to notify us as soon as possible your intention to reserve exhibition space. When you contact us please tell us the topic of your exhibition. Click here for More

 

Abstracts If you are planning to present your paper either as an oral presentation or as a poster, you must prepare your abstract in English. Send your abstract as soon as possible!!. Click here for More

 

Posters Prepare them in English. Discussions of posters can be done in English or Spanish, with the support of other scientists who might be ready to assist in translation. Click here for More

 

Send your Registration as soon as possible.  Click here for More

 

(UPDATE) 9-12 November 2009. OECD-GenomeAssociation-OZ09, The International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research (ICPBER), The University of Western Australia, Perth. www.oecd-genomeassociation-oz09.com

 

Towards the application of association mapping to plant genetic improvement.

 

It is with pleasure that we announce and call for abstracts for "OECD-GenomeAssociation-OZ09", a conference of vital importance to plant breeders and molecular geneticists.  While based on the Brassica crops, the conference is designed to challenge all plant breeders with the new technologies of association mapping emerging from human and animal genetics.

 

This important OECD conference is hosted by the International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research, The University of Western Australia, and will take place in Perth, Western Australia, from 9-12 November 2009. It comes at a time when major advances are occurring through genome association mapping in humans, animals and some plant species.  The challenge of this conference is to provide plant breeders with a clear path towards the application of association mapping to plant genetic improvement. OECD invited speakers are international experts in molecular marker discovery, plant genetic mapping, new biometrical approaches to plant breeding, human genetics and animal breeding.

 

We encourage all plant breeders and molecular geneticists to join the event by way of contributed papers and/or by registering to attend as a delegate.

 

Please visit the website www.oecd-genomeassociation-oz09.com which provides:

 

.         Details of our team of invited speakers and their paper topics

.         Simple explanation of how to lodge an abstract (please note that deadline for           abstracts is June 30)

.         An overview of the conference logistics

 

Conference registrations will open late May or early June.  We draw your attention to the $100/head discount that applies to those who register and pay prior to July 30. 

 

Apart from anything else, this is a fantastic reason to come to Perth, Western Australia in late spring!

 

All conference inquiries to:

.         Conference Manager Esther Price - esther@estherprice.com.au

.         Convenor, Wallace Cowling - wcowling@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

(International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research, The University of Western Australia)

 

Contributed by Wallace Cowling

International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research (ICPBER),

The University of Western Australia

wcowling@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

 

(NEW) 9-13 November 2009. TDWG Annual Conference,  Congress Center ‘Le Corum’ in downtown Montpellier, France. Organized by Agropolis International and Bioversity International.

 

Detailed information at: www.tdwg.org/conference2009

 

The TDWG conference will be the platform to start implementing the biodiversity informatics roadmap developed during e-Biosphere for the next decade. The annual conference is open to anyone working with biodiversity information and informatics wishing to discuss and define the most recent informatics tools and standards applying to taxonomy, imaging, biodiversity data exchange, specimen observations, and diversity analysis.

 

Themes

1. Outcomes of the eBiosphere 09 meeting in London – and taking the Roadmap for biodiversity informatics forward

2. Agricultural biodiversity informatics – developing and expanding standards

3. Data integration

Candidate topics for the sessions

• TDWG standards architecture

• Geospatial information

• Collection management

• Invasive species

• Multimedia standards

• Semantic web (linked data, ontology)

• Graphical standards for species identification

• Genomics

• Data exchange protocols

• Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs)

• Citizen sciences, traditional knowledge

• Multiple classification / taxonomies

• Integrating functional traits

• Integration of wild and cultivated species

 

Contributed by  Helmut Knüpffer
Abt. Genbank, Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK),
Gatersleben, Germany
knupffer@ipk-gatersleben.de

 

(NEW) 24-26 November 2009. 60th Plant Breeders Conference, Raumberg, Gumpenstein, Austria

 

Topics:

1. Breeding and genetic resources against abiotic stress

2. Marker assisted selection in practical breeding

3. Free topics

We invite you to submit your oral or poster contribution using the submission form

until 31st August 2009

Alternatively you can submit your contribution online at: www.saatgut-austria.at (follow the frame “Jahrestagung”)

The official conference language is German, however we also welcome contributions

in English.

Final registration for participation is possible from September 1 onwards with a separate

registration form or online at www.saatgut-austria.at

 

(UPDATE) 26 to 30 April 2010. The 5th International Food Legumes Research Conference (IFLRC V) and 7th European Conference on Grain Legumes (ECGL VII), Convention Center of Kervansaray Hotel, Lara, Antalya Turkey. http://www.iflrc-ecgl.org

 

The conference will deal with all major food legumes including chickpea, lentil, pea, faba bean, common bean, cow pea, pigeonpea, grass pea and neglected food legumes. It will provide an opportunity to all participants to interact, share knowledge and experience, and in developing mutual collaboration and joint programs. Theme of the conference is “Legumes for Global Health, Legume crops and products for food, feed and environmental benefits”. As a bridge from Asia to Europe, Turkey is one of the most important variation centers and cradle of cool season food legumes according to the oldest archeological records, wide variation in cultivated species, growing of wild endemic species and progenitors in Turkey.

 

Contributed by Mucella Tekeoglu

Ondokuz Mayis University

Samsun/Turkey

mtekeoglu@omu.edu.tr

 

 

2-5 August 2010. 10th International Conference on Grapevine Breeding and Genetics, Geneva, New York, USA.
http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/grapebreeding2010/

 

 2010. Hanoi, Vietnam to host 3rd International Rice Congress in 2010

The 3rd International Rice Congress (IRC2010) will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2010, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

 

 

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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.

 

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.

 

REVIEW PAST NEWSLETTERS ON THE WEB: Past issues of the Plant Breeding Newsletter are now available on the web. The address is: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/AGRICULT/AGP/AGPC/doc/services/pbn.html  Please note that you may have to copy and paste this address to your web browser, since the link can be corrupted in some e-mail applications. We will continue to improve the organization of archival issues of the newsletter. Readers who have suggestions about features they wish to see should contact the editor at chh23@cornell.edu.

 

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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