PLANT BREEDING NEWS

 

EDITION 214

30 June 2010

 

An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant Breeding

 

Clair H. Hershey, Editor

chh23@cornell.edu

 

Sponsored by GIPB, FAO/AGP 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  Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

1.02  U.S. graduates in agricultural and related fields see improved job prospects

1.03  High-yield agriculture slows pace of global warming, say Stanford University researchers

1.04  FAO urges early action on climate change responses - Agriculture can be part of solutions

1.05  Targeting research to address climate change challenges to agriculture

1.06  Biggest agricultural breakthrough in 10,000 years? Agriculture's next revolution -- perennial grain -- within sight

1.07  Emerging infectious diseases of crop plants in developing countries: impact on agriculture and socio-economic consequences

1.08  Plant breeding delivers £1 billion in additional value to UK economy

1.09  Stripe rust threat to wheat worse than predicted

1.10  The battle to build a sustainable agricultural workforce - U.S. university enrollment in crop sciences declines despite a growing demand for talent

1.11  Twenty-one new plant breeders complete the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy

1.12  Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program announces 2010 winners

1.13  Global Stevia Institute born as consistent voice on stevia science

1.14  Super high yielding wheat research and development center launched in the Henan Province of China

1.15  A new rice biotechnology Laboratory in Treinta y Tres, Uruguay

1.16  University of Reading receives £1.1m to fund pollinator research

1.17  In bid to boost food security, China's agricultural guru vows to finish work on new hybrid rice in 2012

1.18  Rice Berry, Sinlek: two new Thai rice breeds with more minerals

1.19  Boosting rice yields generates optimism

1.20  African rice gets a status upgrade

1.21  New sub1 rice lines developed in less time

1.22  Middle East: Yellow Rust epidemic affects regional wheat crops

1.23  Costly weeds drive wheat pre-breeding effort

1.24  Bean grant seeks health gains

1.25  New MAIZE and WHEAT Mega Programs to fight hunger, poverty, and resource degradation

1.26  Late blight resistant potato developed by the International Potato Center improves Andean smallholders’ production

1.27  Rewarding COGGO canola breeders investment

1.28  COGGO assault on chickpea breeding

1.29  Cowpea research examines health, food security in Africa

1.30  Germany takes stand against patents on plants and animals

1.31  US Supreme Court lifts ban on planting GM alfalfa

1.32  Years in the making, Kenya's GM law prepares to go live

1.33  Commercial GM wheat 10 years away: report

1.34  Construyen banco de genes mexicano

1.35  Peanuts: more genetically diverse than expected

1.36  Wild potato germplasm holds key to disease resistance

1.37  Scientists clarify origins of potato germplasm Neo-tuberosum

1.38  Gene leads to longer shelf life for tomatoes, possibly other fruits

1.39  New rust resistance genes added to common beans

1.40  USDA ARS scientists seek blight-resistant potatoes

1.41  New  USDA-ARS developed nematode-resistant soybean JTN-5109 used marker assisted selection

1.42  Investigation on blast resistance of rice genotypes using molecular markers

1.43  FAO launches Rust SPORE website to step up global surveillance of Ug99 strain of wheat rust

1.44  Carotenoid content and genetic variations of orange peppers

1.45  Weed-tolerant and environment-friendly sorghum

1.46  Arsenic-tolerant fern may clean toxic land

1.47  Battle of the sexes exists in the plant world too

1.48  Moth pest saliva boosts potato yield

1.49  Zinc switches found in plants

1.50  The dilemma of plants fighting infections

1.51  An R2R3 MYB transcription factor associated with regulation of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in Rosaceae

1.52  Gibberellic acid insensitive mRNA transport in both directions between stock and scion in Malus

1.53  Practical applications of manipulating plant architecture by regulating gibberellin metabolism

1.54  Positional cloning of cold tolerance trait in rice

1.55  Expression of coffee carotenoid genes examined

1.56  University of Kentucky College of Agriculture research studies shaping the plant genome

1.57  Psychedelic genes redundantly regulate carbohydrate export in maize

 

2.  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  Climate Change and Crop Production

2.02  Climate Change and Agriculture - Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

 

3.  WEB AND NETWORKING RESOURCES

(None submitted)

 

4.  GRANTS AND AWARDS

4.01  2011 Jeanie Borlaug Laube WIT Award: Call for Applications

4.02  Women in Triticum (WIT) Mentor Award: call for nominations

4.03  Graduate Assistantship, offered in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University

4.04  Call for Proposals 2010 under the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

 

5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

(None submitted)

 

6.  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

7.  EDITOR'S NOTES

 

 

1 NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES

 

1.01  Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

 

Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

 

Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity.

 

Farm commodity prices have fallen from their record peaks of two years ago but are set to pick up again and are unlikely to drop back to their average levels of the past decade, according to the annual joint report from Paris-based thinktank the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

 

The forecasts are for wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years to be between 15% and 40% higher in real terms, once adjusted for inflation, than their average levels during the 1997-2006 period, the decade before the price spike of 2007-08. Real prices for vegetable oils are expected to be more than 40% higher and dairy prices are projected to be between 16-45% higher. But rises in livestock prices are expected to be less marked, although world demand for meat is climbing faster than for other farm commodities on the back of rising wealth for some sections of the population in emerging economies.

 

Although the report sees production increasing to meet demand, it warns that recent price spikes and the economic crisis have contributed to a rise in hunger and food insecurity. About 1 billion people are now estimated to be undernourished, it said.

 

Fairtrade campaigners said the predictions of sharply rising prices provided a "stark warning" to international policymakers.

 

"Investment to encourage the 1 billion people whose livelihoods rely on smallholder agriculture is vital. Not only will this increase yields but will go a long way to increase prosperity in poverty stricken regions," said Barbara Crowther, director of communications at the Fairtrade Foundation.

 

"At the same time, the promise of increased agriculture commodity prices could spark a new surge in land grabbing by sovereign wealth funds and other powerful investors which risks marginalising further rural communities who must be included in solutions to secure and maintain food supplies."

 

The report says that agricultural production and productivity must be stepped up and it argues for a well-functioning trading system to ensure fair competition and that surplus food is getting to where it is needed.

 

It also painted a growing role for developing countries in both boosting demand and production. Brazil is by far the fastest growing agricultural producer, with output expected to rise by more than 40% in the next decade and production growth is also expected to be well above 20% in China, India, Russia and Ukraine.

 

"The role of developing countries in international markets is growing quickly, and as their impact grows, their policies also have an increasing bearing on conditions in global markets," said FAO director-general Jacques Diouf.

 

"This makes their role and contribution to global policy issues critical. Policy discussions must be global in scope and we need to improve the framework for such exchange of views."

 

Another factor driving up food prices is the controversial biofuels industry. The report predicts that continued expansion of biofuel output – often to meet government targets – will create additional demand for wheat, coarse grains, vegetable oils and sugar.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/15/food-prices-rise-un-report

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.02  U.S. graduates in agricultural and related fields see improved job prospects

 

Ames, , Iowa, USA

23 June 2010

Employment opportunities for college graduates earning degrees in agriculture and related fields will improve over the next five years, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

 

Mike Gaul, career services director for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, was part of the committee that helped prepare the report. The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Purdue University released the report this month.

 

“All of us on the committee felt like we’ve got a great story to tell. Looking ahead, it’s great news for students who are in college now and high school students who are looking at potential careers,” Gaul said.

 

The outlook projects that 5 percent more graduates college graduates in agriculture and related academic fields will be needed over the next five years compared to the jobs available from 2005-10.

 

Retirements among the baby boomer generation are creating more job opportunities for graduates, Gaul said. Other factors include consumer demand for nutritious foods; energy and environmental issues and policies; and global trends in populations, income and food consumption.

 

The agricultural, food and renewable natural resources sectors of the U.S. economy will generate an estimated 54,400 jobs each year for those with bachelor’s or higher degrees in food, renewable energy and environmental specialties between 2010 and 2015, according to the report.

 

The strongest demand is for graduates in science, technology engineering and mathematics specialties areas related to agriculture, forestry and environmental science. The majority of the new jobs, 74 percent, will be in business and science occupations; 15 percent in agriculture and forestry production; and 11 percent in education, communication and governmental services.

 

Annually the nation’s colleges of agriculture and life sciences, forestry and natural resources and veterinary medicine are expected to supply an average of 29,300 graduates. Consequently, Gaul said many companies and organizations are hiring graduates from related fields to meet the demand.

 

“Nationally, there’s not an overabundance of students coming into agriculture. So the supply and demand are in the student’s court,” he said.

 

In Iowa, undergraduate enrollment in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences this fall is expected to increase from last fall when it exceeded 3,000 for the first time in 30 years.

 

Gaul said the most recent survey of graduates (those earning their bachelor’s degrees in fall semester 2008 to summer 2009) found that 98.9 percent were employed, furthering their education or serving in the military. Of those 72.6 percent were employed, an impressive showing considering the economy Gaul said, and 25.9 percent were pursuing veterinary school and graduate education opportunities.

A summary of the report is available at: http://www.ag.purdue.edu/usda/employment/pages/default.aspx

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8071&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.03  High-yield agriculture slows pace of global warming, say Stanford University researchers

 

Stanford, California, USA

14 June 2010

Advances in high-yield agriculture achieved during the so-called Green Revolution have not only helped feed the planet, but also have helped slow the pace of global warming by cutting the amount of biomass burned – and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions – when forests or grasslands are cleared for farming. Stanford researchers estimate those emissions have been trimmed by over half a trillion tons of carbon dioxide.

 

Advances in high-yield agriculture over the latter part of the 20th century have prevented massive amounts of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – according to a new study led by two Stanford Earth scientists.

 

The yield improvements reduced the need to convert forests to farmland, a process that typically involves burning of trees and other plants, which generates carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

 

The researchers estimate that if not for increased yields, additional greenhouse gas emissions from clearing land for farming would have been equal to as much as a third of the world's total output of greenhouse gases since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in 1850.

 

The researchers also calculated that for every dollar spent on agricultural research and development since 1961, emissions of the three principal greenhouse gases – methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide – were reduced by the equivalent of about a quarter of a ton of carbon dioxide – a high rate of financial return compared to other approaches to reducing the gases.

 

"Our results dispel the notion that modern intensive agriculture is inherently worse for the environment than a more 'old-fashioned' way of doing things," said Jennifer Burney, lead author of a paper describing the study that will be published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Adding up the impact

The researchers calculated emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, converting the amounts of the latter two gases into the quantities of carbon dioxide that would have an equivalent impact on the atmosphere, to facilitate comparison of total greenhouse gas outputs.

 

Burney, a postdoctoral researcher with the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford, said agriculture currently accounts for about 12 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Although greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of fertilizer have increased with agricultural intensification, those emissions are far outstripped by the emissions that would have been generated in converting additional forest and grassland to farmland.

 

"Every time forest or shrub land is cleared for farming, the carbon that was tied up in the biomass is released and rapidly makes its way into the atmosphere – usually by being burned," she said. "Yield intensification has lessened the pressure to clear land and reduced emissions by up to 13 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year."

 

"When we look at the costs of the research and development that went into these improvements, we find that funding agricultural research ranks among the cheapest ways to prevent greenhouse gas emissions," said Steven Davis, a co-author of the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

 

To evaluate the impact of yield intensification on climate change, the researchers compared actual agricultural production between 1961 and 2005 with hypothetical scenarios in which the world's increasing food needs were met by expanding the amount of farmland rather than by the boost in yields produced by the Green Revolution.

 

"Even without higher yields, population and food demand would likely have climbed to levels close to what they are today," said David Lobell, also a coauthor and assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford.

 

"Lower yields per acre would likely have meant more starvation and death, but the population would still have increased because of much higher birth rates," he said. "People tend to have more children when survival of those children is less certain."

 

Avoiding the need for more farmland

The researchers found that without the advances in high-yield agriculture, several billion additional acres of cropland would have been needed.

 

Comparing emissions in the theoretical scenarios with real-world emissions from 1961 to 2005, the researchers estimated that the actual improvements in crop yields probably kept greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to at least 317 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and perhaps as much as 590 billion tons.

 

Without the emission reductions from yield improvements, the total amount of greenhouse gas pumped into the atmosphere over the preceding 155 years would have been between 18 and 34 percent greater than it has been, they said.

 

To calculate how much money was spent on research for each ton of avoided emissions, the researchers calculated the total amount of agricultural research funding related to yield improvements since 1961 through 2005. That produced a price between approximately $4 and $7.50 for each ton of carbon dioxide that was not emitted.

 

"The size and cost-effectiveness of this carbon reduction is striking when compared with proposed mitigation options in other sectors," said Lobell. "For example, strategies proposed to reduce emissions related to construction would cut emissions by a little less than half the amount that we estimate has been achieved by yield improvements and would cost close to $20 per ton."

 

The authors also note that raising yields alone won't guarantee lower emissions from land use change.

 

"It has been shown in several contexts that yield gains alone do not necessarily stop expansion of cropland," Lobell said. "That suggests that intensification must be coupled with conservation and development efforts.

 

"In certain cases, when yields go up in an area, it increases the profitability of farming there and gives people more incentive to expand their farm. But in general, high yields keep prices low, which reduces the incentive to expand."

 

The researchers concluded that improvement of crop yields should be prominent among a portfolio of strategies to reduce global greenhouse gases emissions.

 

"The striking thing is that all of these climate benefits were not the explicit intention of historical investments in agriculture. This was simply a side benefit of efforts to feed the world," Burney noted. "If climate policy intentionally rewarded these kinds of efforts, that could make an even bigger difference. The question going forward is how climate policy might be designed to achieve that."

 

David Lobell is a Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and at the Woods Institute for the Environment. The Program on Food Security and the Environment is a joint project of the Woods Institute and the Freeman Spogli Institute. The Program on Food Security and the Environment provided funding for Jennifer Burney's research on agriculture and energy.

 

By Louis Bergeron

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7763&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.04  FAO urges early action on climate change responses - Agriculture can be part of solutions

 

Rome, Italy

1 June 2010

“Agriculture can potentially be part of the solution to climate change in ways that respect and support the development and food security requirements of developing countries,” FAO has told a UN working group preparing long-term approaches to climate change mitigation.

 

“However to realize this potential, systematic and dedicated discussions and decisions... are needed to clarify options for actions and related support,” FAO said in a formal submission to the working group.

 

FAO called for early action allowing agriculture to help reduce and remove greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere (mitigation) and to build up the resilience of farming systems (adaptation) to warmer and more erratic weather conditions, predicted for many of the world’s poorest regions.

 

Work programme

FAO’s submission, “Towards a Work Programme on Agriculture” was tabled to coincide with the opening in Bonn of two weeks of technical talks and negotiations in preparation for next December’s climate change summit in Mexico.

 

Specifically, FAO underlined that Parties could accelerate action towards the creation of a work programme on agriculture. Such a work programme could examine scientific, methodological and technical issues that would underpin both implementation and support of action on agricultural mitigation and adaptation.

 

Behind these complex technical issues are practical questions of how to measure and verify the contribution made by large numbers of individual smallholders to GHG reductions and removals, as well as how to ensure that financing effectively reaches them.

 

Financing sources

According to FAO’s submission, clarification of such issues is needed so that millions of smallholders can access both fast-start and medium-term sources of financing for the adoption of agricultural mitigation options that also benefit adaptation, food security and development.

 

“It is crucial that farmers in developing countries are helped to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” said Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General in charge of the Natural Resources and Environment Department. “At stake is their ability to produce the food for a world population grown to more than nine billion in 2050 while also helping to prevent possibly catastrophic climate scenarios.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7008&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.05  Targeting research to address climate change challenges to agriculture

 

U.S. Crop Science Society identifies the grand challenges facing global crop production and adaptation strategies for agriculture

 

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

16 June 2010

Agriculture and climate change are inextricably linked—crop yield, biodiversity, water use, and soil health are directly affected by a changing climate. Climate change is affecting the Earth’s temperature, precipitation, and hydrological cycles, resulting in negative impacts on U.S. and global agricultural systems. In addition, the interaction of climate factors often decreases plant productivity, which can result in price increases for many important food crops.

 

Meeting the challenge of climate change will require targeted investments in crop science research. To identify the role that crop science research will play in adapting global agricultural systems to climate change and other major societal issues, the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) has identified a set of Grand Challenges.

 

The CSSA Grand Challenges poignantly identify critical research that is needed to expedite agricultural adaptation to climate change:

 

-          Crop adaptation to climate change

Increase the speed with which agriculture can adapt to climate change by using crop science to address abiotic stresses such as drought and heat.

-          Resistance to biotic stresses

Increase durability of resistance to biotic stresses that threaten food security in major crops.

-          Crop management systems

Create novel crop management systems that are resilient in the face of changes in climate and rural demographics.

 

The Crop Science Society of America has developed the Grand Challenges to respond to the pressing need to respond to changes in climate. By developing new or improved crop varieties and field testing these varieties in adapted cropping systems, we can adapt agriculture to new climate pressures,” says CSSA President Dr. Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin.

 

Tools for Adaptation

Crop breeding for development of new climate tolerant crop varieties is a key tool for adapting agriculture to a changing climate. History and current breeding experience indicate that natural biodiversity within crops has allowed for plant adaptation to different conditions, providing clear evidence that plant breeding has great potential to aide in the adaptation of crops to climate change.

 

Cropping system development is another tool that can help agriculture adapt. Cropping systems establish how crops are grown, by determining the arrangement of crops in time and space and the way in which they are planted (density), fertilized, irrigated, weeded, and harvested. For example, the use of crop mixtures that have several crops growing at one time can help systems exhibit greater durability during periods of high water or heat stress.

For more information on CSSA’s Grand Challenges, please visit: www.crops.org/science-policy/grand-challenges

 

CSSA is a sponsor of the Congressional Briefing, "Climate Change and Agriculture: Food and Farming in a Changing Climate" on June 16 in Washington, DC. There, experts on climate modeling, cropping systems and crop breeding, and agriculture and natural resource economics as they present information about how agriculture can adapt to a changing climate. To learn more visit: https://www.crops.org/news-media/releases/2010/0616/378/

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7883&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.06  Biggest agricultural breakthrough in 10,000 years? Agriculture's next revolution -- perennial grain -- within sight

 

Pullman, Washington, USA

24 June  2010

Earth-friendly perennial grain crops, which grow with less fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, and erosion than grains planted annually, could be available in two decades, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Science.

 

Perennial grains would be one of the largest innovations in the 10,000 year history of agriculture, and could arrive even sooner with the right breeding programs, said John Reganold, a Washington State University Regents professor of soil science and lead author of the paper with Jerry Glover, a WSU-trained soil scientist now at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

 

“It really depends on the breakthroughs,” said Reganold. “The more people involved in this, the more it cuts down the time.”

 

Published in Science’s influential policy forum, the paper is a call to action as half the world’s growing population lives off marginal land at risk of being degraded by annual grain production. Perennial grains, say the paper’s authors, expand farmers’ ability to sustain the ecological underpinnings of their crops.

 

“People talk about food security,” said Reganold. “That’s only half the issue. We need to talk about both food and ecosystem security.”

 

Perennial grains, say the authors, have longer growing seasons than annual crops and deeper roots that let the plants take greater advantage of precipitation. Their larger roots, which can reach ten to 12 feet down, reduce erosion, build soil and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They require fewer passes of farm equipment and less herbicide, key features in less developed regions.

 

By contrast, annual grains can lose five times as much water as perennial crops and 35 times as much nitrate, a valuable plant nutrient that can migrate from fields to pollute drinking water and create “dead zones” in surface waters.

 

“Developing perennial versions of our major grain crops would address many of the environmental limitations of annuals while helping to feed an increasingly hungry planet,” said Reganold.

 

Perennial grain research is underway in Argentina, Australia, China, India, Sweden and the United States. Washington State University has more than a decade of work on perennial wheat led by Stephen Jones, director WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center. Jones is also a contributor to the Science paper, which has more than two dozen authors, mostly plant breeders and geneticists.

 

The authors say research into perennial grains can be accelerated by putting more personnel, land and technology into breeding programs. They call for a commitment similar to that underway for biologically based alternative fuels.

 

Watch the video

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8102&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.07  Emerging infectious diseases of crop plants in developing countries: impact on agriculture and socio-economic consequences

 

7 June 2010

Vurro M et al (2010).

Food Security. DOI 10.1007/s12571-010-0062-7

The devastating consequences of emerging infectious diseases on crops in developing countries and their economic and social impacts are often underestimated, according to a new study by Maurizio Vurro and his colleagues from the Institute of the Science of Food Production in Italy. The authors call for local governments and international communities to establish better mechanisms for monitoring and managing emerging infectious diseases in developing countries, mirroring those already in place in developed countries. Their findings are published in Springer's journal, Food Security.

 

Emerging infectious diseases caused by plant pathogens can develop into unexpected and very serious epidemics. Although today the ability to diagnose and control them is far greater than in the past, they still cause important crop losses leading to major economic and social consequences, particularly in developing countries.

 

In order to highlight the scale of the threat posed by emerging infectious crop diseases in the developing world, the authors take an in-depth look at four of the most important plant pathogens in Sub-Saharan Africa: African Cassava Mosaic Virus, which has devastated cassava in East African countries, the parasitic weed, Striga hermonthica, which affects cereals, a species of the bacterial genus Xanthomonas, causing wilt of banana and a virulent variant of the fungus causing stem rust of wheat, which originated in Uganda - Ug99.

 

Unlike developing countries, developed countries have monitoring and management mechanisms in place to mitigate the consequences of harmful diseases of crop plants: safety nets to support those most affected; food reserves that limit the risk of famine; research capacity and technical support services to manage diseases; and warning systems that allow prompt application of control measures.

 

The authors believe that the way forward requires the involvement and collaboration of all agricultural sectors: government agencies, universities and the agricultural industry. They conclude: "In the so-called developed countries, agriculture is not without risks of pandemics. But management systems are in place that mitigate the economic and social effects of such extremely harmful diseases. Similar systems must be established urgently in developing countries to avert socio-economic disaster due to plant disease."

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7088&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source:Springer Science / Food Security journal viaSeedQuest.com

 

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1.08  Plant breeding delivers £1 billion in additional value to UK economy

 

United Kingdom

8 June 2010

Headline findings of a major new economic impact study suggest that the annual contribution of plant breeding exceeds £1 billion in additional value within the UK farming and food supply chain - equivalent to a 40-fold return on the seed royalty income received by breeders to improve the yield, quality and performance of home-grown crop varieties.

 

The work, which focused on three key crops – wheat, barley and forage maize – also estimates that the benefits of plant breeding help safeguard an additional £1.2 billion of economic activity in the UK each year which could otherwise be lost to overseas competition.

 

The BSPB-funded study, conducted by independent economists from DTZ’s life sciences group, builds on the findings of earlier research by NIAB which found that over 90% of the increase in national average cereal yields over the past 25 years is due to innovation in plant breeding.

 

Economic benefits of improved varieties identified in the DTZ study range from increased yields and input savings at the farm level through to import substitution, export earnings and enhanced processing efficiency within the food and drink manufacturing sector.

 

In wheat, for example, the yield increase attributed to plant breeding is valued at between £373 and £445 million per annum, while the development of high protein, hard-milling UK varieties for bread-making helps safeguard up to 750 UK milling jobs and £300 million of annual turnover in the UK flour milling industry.

 

Higher yielding barley varieties provide UK farmers with an additional £75 million of barley per annum, while the development of malting barley varieties with lower beta glucans for improved processability for brewers, and increased spirit yield for distillers, contribute between £238 and £592 million in extra value to the UK economy each year.

 

In forage maize, DTZ found that the combined economic benefit of higher dry matter intake, lower production costs and increased milk yield attributable to improved varieties is worth £66 million per year at the farm level.

 

Based on the findings, DTZ confirmed that the 40-fold return on investment associated with plant breeding significantly outperformed other research-based sectors and industries, which averaged between 5:1 and 15:1.

 

Newly elected BSPB chairman Nigel Moore welcomed the study as a clear demonstration of the economic contribution that has been made by the UK plant breeding industry.

 

“The recent resurgence of high-level interest in plant breeding, reflected in a growing body of related reports, consultations and research initiatives, is also extremely welcome in highlighting the future demands of crop production,” he said.

 

“It is now clearly recognised that crop genetic improvement will be a key factor in delivering the sustainable increases in agricultural productivity needed to address global challenges of food security and climate change.

 

“Our expanding knowledge of plant genetics certainly opens up major new opportunities to develop crops with increased yields and improved climate resilience. But the investment needed to exploit this rapidly advancing knowledge-base remains greater than commercial plant breeders can manage alone.

 

“Without new sources of investment and improved collaboration between public and private sector research, current rates of genetic yield gain deliverable from the limited royalty income available to plant breeders will fall short of the food security goals set for 2030,” he warned.

 

“Global food supplies must increase by up to 50% over the next 20 years, but the policy response to date has been largely piecemeal, and is only now becoming more focused on optimising the productive potential – both current and future – of UK crop production. There is an urgent need to develop crop-specific targets for sustainable output to 2030, and more coherent research strategies to meet those objectives.

 

“Since commercial plant breeding provides the only route to market for genetic improvements, the central involvement of breeders in setting and delivering the R&D agenda will be essential,” said Mr Moore.

 

Looking to the future, he warned that it is essential for the whole supply chain to work together with policy makers and regulators to create a stimulating environment for crop science, plant breeding innovation, and delivery of improved varieties to farmers. Forging these links within the UK and Europe is a priority for BSPB.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7121&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.09  Stripe rust threat to wheat worse than predicted

 

26 May 26, 2010

by Safaa Kanj

An epidemic caused by a new strain of wheat fungus could cause billions of dollars in crop losses across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, according to researchers.

 

The wheat stripe rust — or yellow rust (Yr) — epidemic is far worse than predicted, scientists from various Middle-Eastern institutions have found.

 

"The situation is severe, some farmers will suffer 30–60 per cent yield loss. In the worst cases, yield loss is 100 per cent," said Maarten Van Ginkel, deputy-director general for research at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Syria.

 

Key cereal production regions are affected and in some countries, like Syria, up to 80 per cent of fields are affected, according to recent surveys. Wheat agriculture provides food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people in these regions, which already suffer from production constraints caused by drought.

 

"Urgent action is needed to protect wheat crops on some 50 million hectares, and research centres and industry are urged to work together to fight the disease," Mahmoud Solh, director general of ICARDA, told SciDev.Net.

 

The comments come as experts gather for a meeting next week (30–31 May) in St Petersburg, Russia to map out new strategies for combating wheat rust pathogens that are threatening the world's wheat supplies.

 

The areas most affected by the stripe rust include Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Syria, according to scientists at ICARDA. Wheat fields in Afghanistan, Algeria and Tunisia are also affected.

 

Yellow rust attacks all plant parts, causing most damage to the leaves. It occurs early in the season and can continue to affect the crop until maturity, if night temperatures remain sufficiently low. Because of this long cycle, damage can be severe, said Van Ginkel.

 

The pathogen race able to overcome a major wheat resistance gene first emerged in 2002 in South Asia but unfavourable weather conditions limited its spread until 2009, when it started re-appearing.

 

Van Ginkel said his team is documenting and analysing the impact of the recent outbreaks.

 

Newly developed, resistant varieties of wheat are already available. But national research programmes must accelerate the process of releasing these varieties for cultivation and producing and distributing enough seeds from these varieties.

 

Governments will have to take appropriate measures, such as planting high-yielding, resistant varieties and continually monitoring affected areas, to prevent new outbreaks next year, Solh told SciDev.Net.

 

Yellow rust is different from the reddish brown fungus, Ug99, which is a type of stem rust that emerged in East Africa ten years ago.

 

"While the Ug99 race of stem rust has received considerable global attention in recent years, ICARDA has always stressed to need to remain vigilant against stripe rust," Solh said (see The race is on to stop the red menace fungus: Ug99).

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7015&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: Source: SciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.10  The battle to build a sustainable agricultural workforce - U.S. university enrollment in crop sciences declines despite a growing demand for talent

 

Lawrence, Kansas, USA

28 June 2010

 

While the U.S. job market remains in the doldrums in the wake of one of the deepest recessions in history, there is at least one profession bucking the trend. Job opportunities in the crop sciences are booming.

 

One driver: an aging workforce. Many predict that up to half of all crop scientists in industry and government jobs will retire over the next decade. A recent report by Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture predicts more than 54,000 agriculture-related job openings annually between 2010 and 2015.

 

“There isn’t a better business to be in right now,” says Randy Smith, a member of the Weed Science Society of America and a field research and development leader for Dow AgroSciences. “Agricultural scientists have an opportunity to feed a hungry world and to write the next chapter in the ‘Green Revolution.’ It’s a cutting-edge profession and a noble calling.”

 

But despite the promising employment outlook, there is a talent shortage in the applied agricultural sciences. Data from the National Academies shows 4,010 baccalaureate degrees awarded in agriculture business and management in 2007 – but only 177 in crop production. A 2008 USDA review shows Bachelor’s degrees awarded in agronomy and the crop sciences decreased by almost a third between 1984 and 2003. Several universities have dropped or consolidated programs in the agricultural sciences because of low enrollment and dwindling funds.

 

“The issue of talent development in the agricultural sciences is a topic of paramount concern within higher education and industry circles,” says Emilio Oyarzabal, technology development manager, Monsanto. “There are many students pursuing degrees in the marketing, sales and business side of agriculture, but the number in the applied agricultural sciences is declining steadily.”

 

Oyarzabal and other experts say a number of intersecting trends are contributing to the dwindling talent pool. Publicly funded graduate assistantships have evaporated. Budget cuts, retirements and competition from higher-paying industry jobs have resulted in the steady drain of agricultural sciences faculty – the very individuals responsible for recruiting and training. Grant monies are pouring into molecular biology and other basic sciences – not into applied sciences like agriculture. One possible reason:

 

“There is a misperception that the agricultural sciences have matured and aren’t as exciting as some of the newer, emerging sciences, such as biotechnology and molecular biology,” says Roger Gast, product development leader, Dow AgroSciences. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”

 

Don Wyse, Ph.D., a professor of agronomy and plant genetics and director of the Center for Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota, says changing demographics also play a role.

 

“The number of students raised on a farm has plummeted, and we haven’t yet figured out how to engage and recruit students from urban communities,” he says. “The link between their lives and how their food is produced is really remote at best.”

 

Initiatives to build a sustainable agricultural workforce

What’s the solution? The Weed Science Society of America and nearly 30 other scientific societies and agricultural industry partners have begun to collaborate on ideas for building a sustainable agricultural workforce. Some of the proposed initiatives include:

  • Promoting an awareness of career opportunities in the crop sciences.
  • Building a pipeline of students in middle and high schools who are interested in pursuing degrees in applied and basic agricultural sciences.
  • Generating awareness of the importance of sustainable agro-ecosystems and the crucial role of the agricultural sciences in feeding a growing world population.
  • Funding scholarships to attract the best students into agricultural science studies and to support applied learning programs.
  • Developing innovative recruitment and training programs to attract high-quality graduate students with leadership potential.

 

Most agree it will take a sustained investment of resources to reverse the talent shortage. And the need has never been more critical.

 

“To feed a growing population, experts predict we will need to produce more food over the next 40 years than we’ve produced over the past 10,000 years combined – and with diminishing land and water resources,” says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., science policy director of the Weed Science Society of America. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8142&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.11  Twenty-one new plant breeders complete the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy

 

28 June 2010

 

Davis, California. Helping to fill a critical need for additional plant breeders, the University of California, Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) graduated its’ second class of students on June 11, 2010. This class is composed of an international group of working professionals from 10 countries who have spent more than 300 hours in classes, workshops and the field, training to enhance their plant breeding knowledge. Dr.  Howard Shapiro, Director of Plant Sciences for Mars Corporation, was the keynote speaker at the graduation. Dr Shapiro is a long-time supporter of sustainable agriculture and plant breeding.

 

Congratulations to the following PBA Class II graduates:

Dustin Batt, Crookham Company, USA

Bob Brunic, MillerCoors, USA

Damien Courtier, HSR Seeds Pty Ltd, Australia

Bruno Efombagn, Institute for Agricultural Research, Cameroon

Cody Fasbinder, Syngenta Seeds Inc., USA

Anthony Gorin, Technisem, France

Donny Gray, WestBred LLC, USA

Randy Kallen, Pioneer Hi-Bred, USA

Marty Madesko, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA

Andrea Maraldi, Maraldi Sementi, Italy

Arnon Osri, A.B. Seeds, Israel

Andrea Pabon, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA

Lisa Polewczak, Syngenta Seeds, Inc. , USA

Esther Pullen, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, USA

Paul Readly, American Takii, Inc., USA

Aneta Strachota-Jacobs, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, USA

Marcel Sturre, University of Gröningen, The Netherlands

Carolina Uquillas-Herrera, Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA-La Platina), Chile

Andre vant Slot, De Ruiter Seeds, Spain

Richard Volz, HortResearch, New Zealand

Adam Young, Syngenta Seeds, Inc., USA

 

The PBA includes six week-long sessions at UC Davis and provides each student integrated post-graduate training to prepare them to advance their careers as plant breeders. Each qualifying graduate receives a UC Davis certificate and 19 units of academic credit.

 

“UC Davis is committed to training plant breeders. We are very proud to have 36 participants complete the Plant Breeding Academy programs over the last 4 years, 15 in Class I and now 21 in Class II” said Allen Van Deynze, co-founder of the PBA.

 

The PBA was developed by the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center in direct response to industry concerns over the reduced number of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. The two-year course provides an opportunity for companies to invest in dedicated personnel who are currently involved in breeding programs, but would like further formal instruction in genetics, statistics and plant breeding theory. In addition to coursework, each student designs a breeding program as a final project for the academy. The course schedule allows students to maintain their working positions while enrolled.

 

Academy courses are taught by internationally recognized plant breeders Doug Shaw and Larry Teuber, both of UC Davis, and Todd Wehner from North Carolina State University, with guest lecturers speaking on their specific areas of expertise.

 

Class III of the PBA will begin in September and is filling rapidly. Applications and further information can be obtained at http://pba.ucdavis.edu or by contacting Joy Patterson at jpatterson@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-4414.

 

Media contact(s):

Allen Van Deynze, Seed Biotechnology Center, (530) 754-6444, avandeynze@ucdavis.edu

 

Contributed by Donna Van Dolah

Seed Biotechnology Center

Davis, CA

dlvandolah@ucdavis.edu

 

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1.12  Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program announces 2010 winners

 

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

21 June 2010

The Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program today announced its second set of fellowship recipients, featuring seven women and seven men from around the world dedicated to improving rice and wheat breeding.

 

Eleven countries are represented among the group, including three winners from India. Each recipient receives a full package of support to pursue his or her research. Recipients' projects include: enhancing resistance to aphids in wheat; developing rice for cold tolerance in Brazil; and improving drought tolerance in wheat. A complete listing of the winners and their projects is available on the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Web page.

 

The program honors the accomplishments of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug, who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively.

 

"What excites me the most is that within the first two years of the program, we've had winners from 17 countries and universities represented on six continents," said Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Director Dr. Ed Runge. "This is truly a program with global reach. The panel of judges and I are confident the students are making a difference in the breeding research behind two of the world's most important crops."

 

Of the 14 winners, six are pursuing their Ph.D. at U.S. universities, two in India and one each in Brazil, England, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden. The program calls for award recipients to conduct two seasons of field work split between a developing country and a developed country. The dual country experience is to ensure that students gain a worldview early in their careers, Runge said.

 

"The students' contributions to agriculture and science will have an impact on rice and wheat production for generations," Monsanto Vice President of Global Plant Breeding Ted Crosbie said. "The projects are innovative and impressive, and many of us in the agriculture community look forward to reading about their results."

 

An independent panel of global judges chaired by Runge reviewed the applications. Runge is also a Professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy (Emeritus) within the Soil and Crop Sciences Department at Texas A&M University at College Station.

 

The program will begin accepting applications for 2011 on Nov. 1, 2010. Students interested in applying to the program can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2011.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7998&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.13  Global Stevia Institute born as consistent voice on stevia science

 

Chicago, Illinois, USA

25 25, 2010

Stevia, the naturally zero-calorie sweetener, is gaining in popularity with consumers and food manufacturers alike. To help provide reliable, consistent information on stevia, PureCircle today announced that it has created the Global Stevia Institute (www.globalsteviainstitute.com), which will launch in June 2010. The Institute will promote accurate, credible and consistent information and resources about stevia to health professionals, consumers and the food industry.

 

The Institute has enlisted Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., RD, FADA as its executive director. Dr. Ayoob is a practicing pediatric nutrition specialist with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York where he directs the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Ayoob will lead a team of scientific advisors from around the world to better educate the greater public about stevia, how it can fit into today’s diet and the current science behind the plant-based sweetener.

 

“Dr. Ayoob is an ideal leader for the Global Stevia Institute,” said Magomet Malsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle. “He is an internationally known educator on nutrition issues. We trust that he will empower the Global Stevia Institute to reach people across the globe with science-based stevia education and how it applies to today’s consumers as they strive for better health and wellness.”

 

Over the past few decades Americans have developed quite the sweet tooth -- consuming on average 100 pounds of sweeteners per yeari . At birth we have over 10,000 taste buds and we start craving sweet foods in infancy. But an insatiable appetite for sweet is adding to our waistlines with more than 64% of U.S. adults either overweight or obeseii.

 

“Now more than ever, it is important to find tasty, calorie-free alternatives for sweetening foods and beverages to help those battling obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases,” said Dr. Ayoob. “This Institute will play such an important role in educating health professionals, food and beverage manufacturers, public affairs leaders and of course, the consumer about the benefits of incorporating a plant-based sweetener like stevia into their diets.”

 

Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is a plant native to Paraguay. The leaves from the plant have been safely used for hundreds of years in Paraguay and Brazil to naturally sweeten local teas, and as a “sweet treat”. There are several related substances that can be derived from the stevia plant, but the best tasting, purest and sweetest of all of them is Rebaudioside-A.

 

Stevia was first included in tabletop sweeteners and beverages, and has quickly made its way into other categories because of its ability to naturally reduce calories. Thirty-five countries across six continents have now launched a stevia-sweetened product. According to Mintel, more than 100 new products sweetened with stevia have been launched so far in 2010.

 

The Global Stevia Institute is supported in full, by PureCircle, Limited™. PureCircle is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products – its stevia-derived Reb-A has helped customers eliminate a half-trillion calories from American dietsiii . Stevia by PureCircle is the natural, zero-calorie sweetening ingredient of choice by major companies and brands around the world.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8103&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.14  Super high yielding wheat research and development center launched in the Henan Province of China

 

China

17 June 2010

Recently, Quality and Super High-Yielding Wheat Research and Development Center had its unveiling ceremony in Henan Zhongpu Wheat Technology Co., Ltd.

 

After the inception of this center, its main task would be protection and utilization of the existing 15,000 specimens of germplasms of the company, research on integrated breeding technology, developing new varieties of super high-yielding wheat, as well as demonstration, extension, utilization, and industrialization. This center will be directly led and administrated by China Technology Market Association and operated by Henan Zhongpu Wheat Technology Co., Ltd.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7939&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: Farmers' Daily via Ministry of Agriculture via SeedQuest.com

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1.15  A new rice biotechnology Laboratory in Treinta y Tres, Uruguay

 

The National Agriculture Research Institute of Uruguay, INIA, proudly informs the opening of a new Regional Biotechnology Laboratory. Belonging to the National Rice Research Program, this Laboratory is located in the heart of the country’s main rice growing area. The Lab facilities, with the R & D support from Biotechnology Unit located near Montevideo, allow the local generation of capabilities for molecular biology techniques, marker-assisted selection and development of doubled haploid lines by anther culture, and help rice breeders speeding up and going along with the field work.

 

The current worklines are: a) incorporation of durable resistance to Pyricularia grisea by introgression of resistance genes into the elite varieties El Paso 144 and INIA Olimar, using molecular markers to identify resistant individuals in each selection cycle. b) Molecular characterization of red rice hybrids resistant to imidazolinones obtained from rice fields where the Clearfield® production system was used. c) Obtaining doubled-haploids lines from parentals with valuable traits, significantly speeding up the time required to obtain fixed lines.

 

The vast amount of rice genomic information generated in recent years makes possible an increasingly important role for biotechnology in rice breeding. The activity of this new laboratory, surrounded geographically and thematically by the rice agro-industrial chain, will contribute towards bringing basic science efforts to tangible achievements for domestic production.

 

Contributed by Juan Rosas

Laboratorio de Biotecnología

INIA Treinta y Tres

Uruguay

j.e.rosas@gmail.com

 

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1.16  University of Reading receives £1.1m to fund pollinator research

 

United Kingdom

29 June 2010

The University of Reading has been awarded £1.1m to help identify the main threats to bees and other insect pollinators and how to reverse a decline in their numbers.

 

Dr Simon G. Potts, Principal Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, will be working with colleagues at other institutions across the country on the Insect Pollinators Initiative.

 

Pollinators, including honey and bumble bees, butterflies and moths, play an essential role in putting foods on our tables through the pollination of many vital crops. These insects are susceptible to a variety of environmental threats including loss of natural habitats, misuse of pesticides, diseases and climate change.

 

Dr Potts will be involved with the three of the projects - ‘Sustainable pollination services for UK crops', ‘Linking agriculture and land use change to pollinator populations' and ‘Urban pollinators: ecology and conservation'.

 

He said: "The University is delighted to be working on this vital research initiative. Pollination by insects is vital for agricultural production and maintenance of biodiversity - 80% of British wild flowers and 84% of EU crops depend on insect pollinators, mainly bees. Given that the value of insect pollinators to UK agriculture is estimated to be worth more than £430m per year, this research will make an important contribution to our food security."

 

The projects will address three critical questions to ensure pollinators and pollinations services are safeguarded now and in the future:

 

  • How dependent on pollinators are our UK crops and how can we guarantee there is no shortfall in pollination services?
  • What changes in our British landscapes are responsible for the loss of pollinators and what can we do make sure there is plenty of bee-friendly habitat available in the future?
  • Which urban environments are important for pollinators and how can we make our cities better places for pollinators?

 

The three projects draw upon the world-leading expertise at the University of Reading and the project partners: University of Leeds, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, the Food and Environment Research Agency and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

 

The funding has been made available under the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership. This is a joint initiative from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8174&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.17  In bid to boost food security, China's agricultural guru vows to finish work on new hybrid rice in 2012

 

Beijing, China

21 June 2010

Yuan Longping, known as the "father of hybrid rice", said on Sunday that his team was working on a new version of high-yield hybrid rice and might complete it in 2012.

 

Yuan, director of the National Hybrid Rice Engineering Technology Research Center and a faculty member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, made the remarks at the World Expo's third theme forum, which opened on Sunday in Wuxi, in east China's Jiangsu Province.

 

The new hybrid, the phase-III super hybrid rice, was expected to yield 13.5 tonnes of rice per hectare, Yuan said.

 

The previous hybrid, the second-generation super hybrid, was released for commercial production in 2006, yielding 9 tonnes of rice per hectare, on average

Rice is a major food crop that feeds more than half of the world's population, Yuan said.

 

China is now planting 440 million mu (29 million hectares) of rice per year, with an average output capacity of 6.3 tonnes per hectare.

 

Among the acreage, hybrid rice accounts for about 57 percent of the total, with an average output capacity of 7.2 tonnes per hectare.

 

"The average yield of hybrid rice is at least 20 percent more than that of inbred rice, feeding 70 million more people annually," Yuan said.

 

China is faced with a challenging grain situation this summer because of strong rainfalls in the south during the summer harvest season. Other problems include droughts in northern grain production areas and lingering low temperatures in the south.

 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, China needs to maintain an annual grain output of 500 million tonnes to feed the nation's 1.3 billion people.

 

China's summer grain output rose six years in a row to top 123.35 million tonnes in 2009, which was 2.6 million tonnes more than the previous year.

 

"Hybrid rice will play a key role in ensuring food security worldwide in the new century," Yuan said.

 

"If 50 percent of the world's rice paddies were planted with hybrids, rice production could be increased by another 150 million tonnes, and 400 to 500 million more people could be fed," he said.

 

Yuan believes food security is "a war people can not afford to lose" .

 

"The global economic downturn will always end, but food security is the problem we have to face every second," Yuan said.

 

Statistics from the United Nations showed about 1 billion people were suffering from hunger and malnutrition and every six seconds saw a child dying of hunger or related diseases.

 

With the theme "science & technology innovation and urban future", the two-day forum focuses on innovations in science and technology.

 

The previous two theme forums of the World Expo centered on communications and cultural heritages.

 

Yuan started working on hybrid rice in 1964.

 

"I often drive my car to go to rice paddies to do research," said the 80-year-old, "The only difference is that when I was young, I rode a bicycle or motorcycle ....you could attribute it to improving life."

 

Hybrid rice has also been commercialized in other countries, including India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh and the United States.

 

"For the benefits of the world' s people, we are well prepared to help other countries develop hybrid rice," he said.

 

(Xinhua)

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8018&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.18  Rice Berry, Sinlek: two new Thai rice breeds with more minerals

 

Thailand's plant breeding researchers have successfully developed the durable genomic resources of Thai rice containing special traits of higher minerals and antioxidants which they claim can reduce the risk of diabetes.

 

Rice Berry, a cross-bred unmilled rice producing dark violet grain, is a combination of Hom Nin Rice, with well-known antioxidant properties, and Thai Hom Mali Rice, also known as Thai Jasmine/ Fragrant Rice or Khao Dawk Mali 105.

 

Sold at Bt75 (US$2.50) per kilo, Rice Berry contains three times more iron than other varieties. And not only does it contain a high level of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, gamma oryzanol, vitamin E, and folic acid (folate) in itself, but it becomes soft and is aromatic when cooked, which is the outstanding trait of Thai Hom Mali Rice.

 

Prof Dr Soottiporn Chittmittrapap, secretary-general of the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), said Kasetsart University's Rice Science Center & Rice Gene Discovery Unit (RSC&RGDU) discovered important rice genes for higher nutrition by genomic technologies, which could contribute to improving rice yields and quality.

 

In addition to Rice Berry, Sinlek, or the so-called 'rice against diabetes', is another variant which contains a low glycemic index. The dietary fibre in its bran has properties to help hinder the absorption of sugar into the  blood, making it suitable for patients with diabetes. Consuming Sinlek rice also helps reduce the body's barriers against insulin, lower the average of triglyceride in the body, and improve the functioning of the pancreatic system.

 

Like Rice Berry, Sinlek is cross-bred between Hom Nin Rice and Thai Hom Mali Rice but its grains are white and yellowish, so it is soft and delicately scented when cooked, thanks to the properties of Thai Hom Mali Rice.

 

Proved also to contain high levels of iron, Sinlek tends to enable a higher level of hemoglobin in the blood, as stated on the RSC&RGDU website according to an experiment on promoting Sinlek consumption among pupils with iron-deficiency anaemia.

 

Prof Soottiporn said that official statistics indicated around 13 million Thais are iron-deficient, and insufficient iron in children affects both their intelligence and physical development, and cause low immunity in their bodies.

 

As a result, Thai rice in the future will not only provide carbohydrates, but will also be a therapeutic food for health.

 

To make both the rice breeds more functional and practical for consumers, the genes of Rice Berry and Sinlek are extracted to make rice bran oil in capsules and in the form of snacks for young children.

 

"Researchers are continually planting both rice breeds in different areas to experiment with outstanding traits of the crops. For example, if you grow rice in a cool area, the harvest will be of darker colour. But if you grow it in an area with a certain suitable condition like in the northeast, then the rice have a more hearty aroma," Dr Soottiporn said.

 

So far, experimentation with planting both the Rice Berry and Sinlek varieties has succeeded in all regions of Thailand. The two types of rice are found to be resistant to drought, floods, and the rice blast disease, one of the world's most destructive rice diseases that can strike all aerial parts of the plant.

 

However, as there is still only a limited amount of seed available for the new rice varieties, so only farmers in the central part of the country have been given seeds for their own rice planting. Thailand’s Rice Science Center together with Agriculture Department are jointly continuing to interbreed to produce more seedstock.

 

As the main food in Thailand is rice, the discovery of the specialised rice genes will help add value to Thai rice and benefits to health-conscious rice consumers. (TNA)

 

http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/72214.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.19  Boosting rice yields generates optimism

 

The goal is to increase by 50 percent the yield of rice, which about half of the world’s population depends on as a staple.

 

11 June 2010

Early research on improving photosynthesis in rice plants is giving investigators reason for optimism, Cambridge University plant scientist Julian Hibberd told the International Association for Plant Biotechnology (IAPB) 12th World Congress.

 

Hibberd’s work on the C4 Rice Project is searching for ways to genetically modify rice plants, which use C3 photosynthesis, to the more productive C4 form found in plants such as maize and sorghum. He is part of a project coordinated by the International Rice Research Institute and funded by an $11 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

The goal is to increase by 50 percent the yield of rice, which about half of the world’s population depends on as a staple. Because rice feeds more people than any other crop and yields have started to plateau worldwide, Hibberd said, increasing production is critical to food security,

 

“The challenge is absolutely huge, but we should be able to understand the mechanisms underlying C4 photosynthesis with enough time and money devoted to it,” Hibberd told members of the Congress, attended by about 800 scientists, science policy leaders and others from more than 50 countries around the world.

 

Members of the C4 rice project have started to identify mutant lines of rice that show alterations in leaf structure that could help rice to be modified into a C4 plant.

 

“The C4 pathway is extremely complicated, so engineering it into a crop like rice is a massive challenge,” Hibberd said. “But it has evolved many times independently, so that’s one reason for optimism. We also know there are a large number of enzymes that are recruited in the C4 pathways, but they are all present in plants that use the C3 pathway.”

 

Part of the difficulty of engineering C4 rice is understanding and controlling the interaction between changes in the rice leaf’s structure, biochemistry and cell biology. The leaf structure is an area with the least amount of research and on which the C4 Rice Project is intended to have an impact.

 

“We have to manipulate all three,” Hibberd said. “We are probably still at least 15 years away from seed production, but the fact that it has evolved many times alongside some promising initial results from the C4 rice project provide cause for optimism.”

 

This presentation was one of 60 major presentations by invited speakers and more than 200 short talks. Presenters discussed biotechnology in terms of agriculture challenges as a result of climate change and global population growth. More information is available online at www.iapb2010.org.

 

http://southwestfarmpress.com/grains/boosting-rice-yields-generates-optimism-0611/

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.20  African rice gets a status upgrade

 

Cotonou, Benin

3 June 2010

by Bande Moussa Sissoko

Africa's indigenous rice varieties are to be granted 'elite' status by scientists in the hope that they will play a central role in making farmers' crops more resilient.

Elite rice varieties are recognised to be high-yielding and include Asian rice, which has sometimes been improved with individual traits taken from lower-yielding African rice. Now scientists have shown that African varieties are resilient and high-yielding in their own right.

 

According to Savitri Mohapatra, spokesperson for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, scientists from the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Benin, did a series of studies on the yield of African rice and the factors that determine high yield — the latest of which was conducted last year (2009).

 

They concluded that, contrary to common belief, the yield of African rice is not inferior to that of Asian rice under the unfavourable growth conditions that often prevail in parts of Africa.

 

"This is contrary to the conventional thinking of rice researchers — that African rice has low yield potential," Mohapatra said.

 

African rice — Oryza glaberrima — was first domesticated in West Africa more than 3,000 years ago. Now it is on the verge of extinction and most African farmers have turned to Asian rice (O. sativa).

 

Some 20 years ago scientists developed two rice varieties — known as New Rice for Africa (NERICA) — that combined the adaptability of African rice with the high yields of Asian rice. NERICA has since been developed into more than 80 varieties.

 

But, over the past five years, scientists have been improving African rice to produce varieties that are both hardy and high-yielding and can overcome lodging (where ripe grain causes plants to fall over) and shattering (where ripe grain sheds at crop maturity). These new varieties are now being evaluated in farmers' fields, such as Danyi plateau in Togo where results have been promising.

 

"Scientists all over the world can now make use of the full genetic potential of African cultivated rice by developing varieties better adapted to the difficult rice-growing conditions of Africa," AfricaRice researcher Semon Mande told SciDev.Net.

 

"The NERICA varieties were developed from just a handful of O. glaberrima parents. Yet we have at our disposal nearly 2,500 samples of O. glaberrima preserved in the gene bank," he said in a press release, adding that "most of its wealth of genetic diversity remains to be tapped".

 

The research is part of a wider strategy to develop a range of rice varieties adapted to the continent's varied ecology through projects with the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute and others.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7085&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SciDev. Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.21  New sub1 rice lines developed in less time

 

PHILRICE, Nueva Ecija—The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have developed the rice line PSB Rc82-Sub1 through marker-assisted breeding approach that makes the transfer of submergence-tolerant gene (sub1) significantly less time-consuming.

Rice breeding typically takes eight to 11 years to complete.

 

Loida Perez, lead author of the paper titled “PSB Rc82-Sub1: A New Submergence Tolerant Rice Cultivar Developed Through Marker-Assisted Breeding,” said that DNA marker-assisted breeding is estimated to save at least three to six years in the breeding process.

 

She explained that DNA markers are “landmarks that point plant breeders to a specific region of interest in the chromosome, thereby lessening the process.”

 

“With the strong partnership of scientists between PhilRice and IRRI and funding from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the IRRI-Japan Submergence Tolerance Project of Dr. David J. Mackill, we have embarked on the project of transferring the sub1 from NSIC Rc194 (IR64-Sub1) into PSB Rc82, a popular and high-yielding irrigated rice cultivar with known resistance to major rice pests and diseases,” she said.

 

PhilRice and IRRI identified four PSB Rc82-Sub1 materials.

 

Initial morpho-agronomic traits such as grain quality revealed that the improved PSB Rc82-Sub1 materials were comparable to the original PSB Rc82 (non-sub1).

 

All four lines had fixed sub1 and were established in 2010 dry season at PhilRice Central Experiment Station to determine yield and yield-related parameters and to produce seed for evaluation and promotion in submergence or flash flood-prone areas in the country.

 

The paper discussed that sub1 is responsible for submergence tolerance in rice at vegetative stage for up to two weeks.

 

From Indian rice variety FR13A, it was successfully transferred to IR64 via marker-assisted breeding at IRRI producing IR64-Sub1, which was recently registered as commercial variety by the National Seed Industry Council of the Philippines as NSIC Rc194 with a local name “Submarino 1” for the flood-prone ecosystems in the country.

 

With the release of Submarino 1, however, Perez said researchers continued to develop other lines or varieties with submergence tolerance such as the PSB Rc82-Sub1 for farmers to have options on the variety to use in pest and disease-stricken rain-fed areas in the country.

 

Submergence or flash flood-prone rice areas in the Philippines are estimated at around 300,000 hectares. In addition to damage brought by typhoons and floods in lowland farms, rice farming productivity is very low in these areas because farmers there plant rice only once a year.

 

http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25858:new-sub1-rice-lines-developed-in-less-time&catid=53:agri-commodities

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.22  Middle East: Yellow Rust epidemic affects regional wheat crops

 

Agricultural scientists at the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research for the Dry Areas (ICARDA) have reported that a major outbreak of a virulent new strain of yellow (stripe) rust has been identified in prime Middle Eastern wheat growing regions. The outbreak has reached epidemic proportions in Syria’s major grain producing provinces bordering Turkey and Iraq, with significant national crop losses expected. Outbreaks have also been reported in central and southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north, west and southern Iran, and in Lebanon. Outside the Middle East, yellow rust outbreaks have also been identified in Morocco, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan this year.

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2010/06/Middle%20East/images/MidEast_WheatRust_map_May2010.jpg

 

The current outbreak is primarily affecting soft bread wheat varieties, which form the backbone of the regions wheat crop. Hard wheat’s such as Durum are also grown in the region, but these varieties are a minority of total acreage. Scientists report that the new strain of yellow rust has plagued soft wheat crops that were previously resistant to the fungus owing to the incorporation of the gene Yr27. This implies that the majority of soft wheat grown in the region is under threat until newer resistant varieties are developed. The last major outbreak of yellow rust in the region was reported in the late 1980’s, resulting in a 21 percent reduction in regional wheat production.

 

Prior to the announcement of the current rust epidemic, wheat production in the Middle East was expected to rebound from several years of drought to a level of 41.1 million tons (an increase of 12 percent). The generally favorable environmental conditions which prevailed during the current winter growing season which would normally create bumper crop production potential, including above normal rainfall, mild winter temperatures, and lush crop growth, also apparently contributed to enhancing the spread of yellow rust and the severity of infection this season. Ideal meteorological conditions encouraged rapid development of yellow rust infections, massive spore production, and a lengthy period of time to infect regional crops.

 

SYRIA:

In Syria, USDA has learned that record crop prospects have been dashed by severe infections of rust over broad regions. Crop development was especially lush this season, and repeated winter showers coupled with warmer than normal temperatures catalyzed a massive outbreak stretching from its borders with Lebanon in the west to the Iraq border in the east. Unfortunately, Syrian farmers reportedly did not spray preventative fungicides during the developing rust outbreak, and the epidemic was not able to be contained. Yellow rust generally afflicts the leaves of the wheat plant, consuming the stored nutrients and leaving them with a striped yellow or brown appearance. The fact that the plant leaves themselves are damaged or consumed during the lifecycle of the rust infection causes reductions in crop yields, as fewer stored nutrients are available to be transported to developing grains in the wheat head. The wheat head and its spikelet’s (where grain formation occurs) can also be infected, resulting in very serious yield losses In badly affected wheat fields, yield losses of 35-50 percent can occur, while in the worst instances nearly total crop loss is possible. Although the current yellow rust epidemic has been reported to predominantly affect soft wheat varieties, regional crop scientists in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey indicate that spikelet infection has been observed in some hard wheat crops as well.

 

The Syrian government has preliminarily reported that 2010/11 wheat production may fall as low as 3.3 million tons, an 18 percent reduction from last year and 35 percent below record levels thought possible a month ago. Harvest activities are ongoing across the country, and are some 30-40 days earlier than normal. Crop scientists at ICARDA indicate that early infections occurred in wheat crops during February and March, coinciding with vegetative and reproductive growth stages. Government estimates in late April indicate that rust-infected wheat acreage totaled 442,000 hectares, of which 300,000 hectares were un-harvestable (total loss). The un-harvested acreage estimate equates to 19 percent of total planted wheat area in Syria this year. Owing to the latest field information from crop scientists in the country, and acknowledging that it is still early in the harvest, USDA currently estimates 2010/11 Syrian wheat production at 3.75 million tons, down 1.25 million or 25 percent from last month. Wheat crops not seriously infected with rust are still expected to produce higher yields than last year, given the ideal moisture conditions experienced during the winter.

 

TURKEY:

Of equal concern is the fate of wheat crops in both Turkey and Iran. The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) has reported that yellow rust outbreaks have occurred in the Middle East’s two major wheat producers, who collectively account for 80 percent of total regional wheat production. Crop stage in these two countries are less advanced than in Syria, and have had similarly favorable environmental conditions for rust incubation and development. The severity of the epidemic in northern Syria ensured massive spore production occurred, with unknown consequences to adjoining wheat lands in Turkey. Local and regional officials in Turkey have reported yellow rust outbreaks in the prime Central Anatolian and southeastern wheat growing regions. The epidemic appears most concentrated, however, in Turkey’s southern and southeastern provinces where up to 20-25 percent of the national wheat crop is grown. Farmers have reported that the rust epidemic is widespread in these southern regions, and is affecting both soft and hard wheat crops. Wheat harvest activities are just beginning in southeastern Turkey and will continue into August in the later-maturing highland growing regions. Farmers have not reported the degree of yield loss in the hard-hit areas being harvested, so it is as yet uncertain what level of yield reduction has occurred. At this early stage USDA estimates 2010/11 wheat production in Turkey at 17.5 million tons, down 1.0 million or 5 percent from last month. Continued monitoring of crop yields and harvest progress will be needed to more accurately gauge the actual impact on national wheat production.

 

IRAN:

In Iran, outbreaks have been identified by BGRI and ICARDA scientists in north, western and southern provinces. The BGRI indicated that farmers in Iran had observed the outbreaks and had sprayed fungicides in order to attempt to control the spread of the infection. News updates, however, have not yet been posted to inform the public on the effectiveness of their efforts. USDA’s Middle East remote sensing program has been monitoring the region this winter and is currently seeing much less evidence of potential crop damage inside Iran when compared with its neighbors. One of the key observable signals of severely infected wheat crops is premature senescence or maturation of the crop. Prolonged exposure to the rust pathogen causes severe damage to the green leaf biomass, causing it to turn necrotic (yellow or brown). This premature loss of green vegetative crop biomass can be identified by satellites which measure the growth and development of the crop via normalized vegetation index’s or NDVI. The NDVI signal in virtually all severely infected regions this year indicates crops are entering maturation growth phases 4-6 weeks earlier than normal. In Iran, the nation’s wheat growing areas are widely dispersed in a very mountainous environment. Many areas may have been sheltered to some degree from exposure to rust spores generated in Syria and Turkey. Whatever the reason, satellite image analysis indicates Iran’s wheat crop is generally maturing on a normal schedule, with the exception of a few growing areas in the west and south which are maturing 2-4 weeks early. USDA is currently estimating Iran’s 2010/11 wheat production unchanged at 14.4 million tons.

 

IRAQ:

BGRI, ICARDA, and Iraqi field scientists have also confirmed yellow rust outbreaks in at least four northern Iraqi provinces, namely Ninawa, At-Tamin (Kirkuk), Arbil, and Salah ad Din. These four provinces normally account for 40 percent of the national wheat crop. Ninawa sits astride the northeastern Syrian border, and is the home of Iraq’s breadbasket, producing approximately 20 percent of the national wheat crop on its own. The most serious and concentrated rust infections in Syria were reported to have occurred in the northeastern province of Al-Hassakah, which shares a border with Ninawa. Wheat crops in western, central and northern Ninawa are believed to be seriously infected. Northern Iraq, like Syria, had an extremely favorable winter rainfall pattern this year which contributed to record-level crop vegetative development. Lush wheat fields grew over large areas in the rust-affected provinces which had largely lain barren the past two years during a prolonged and severe drought. Much of the projected rebound in Iraq’s national wheat production outlook this year stemmed from the increased crop acreage and improved growing conditions in northern growing areas. The proximity of northern Iraq’s wheat lands to the rust epidemic in Syria, and the prevailing westerly wind direction, ensured it had a high probability of becoming infected. As of early June field scientists were not overly concerned with the degree of damage they were observing, indicating that crops in affected areas might suffer 10-15 percent yield declines. USDA currently estimates 2010/11 Iraq wheat production unchanged at 2.0 million tons. Provincial yield estimates, however, were much changed, with Ninawa, Arbil, and At Tamin being estimated lower, while crop yields in Dahuk and As Sulaymaniyah were increased. The regional wheat yield adjustments essentially canceled each other out. Foreign Agricultural Service reports concerning the harvest are expected in the next several months, and they will further reveal the extent of damage from this serious fungal epidemic.

 

Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

 

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2010/06/Middle%20East/

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.23  Costly weeds drive wheat pre-breeding effort

 

Australia

15 June 2010

• Weeds continue to impact on crop productivity in southern Australia

• GRDC supporting pre-breeding of weed competitive wheat

 

Despite grain growers in southern Australia spending around $80/hectare/year on herbicides, weeds continue to have a major impact on crop productivity.

 

The development of widespread herbicide resistance in ryegrass and other weed species has led to a sharper focus on integrated weed management and increased research into the weed competitive abilities of crops.

 

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), on behalf of growers and the Australian Government, is supporting pre-breeding efforts to increase the weed competitive ability of wheat, in particular.

 

Gurjeet Gill and Michael Zerner from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, are undertaking research involving selecting for weed competitive ability from a population of 6000 wheat lines developed at the CSIRO.

 

Dr Gill says wheat is widely accepted as the weak link in weed management in Australian cropping systems.

 

“Research undertaken in a previous GRDC-funded project showed that the increase in ryegrass seed bank after wheat was significantly greater than after other cereals such as barley or oaten hay,” Dr Gill said.

 

“Farmers face an ongoing need to use selective herbicides year after year, partly due to the poor capacity of wheat to compete and suppress surviving weeds thereby reducing their seed production.”

 

Dr Gill said if the competitive ability of wheat could be enhanced to a level close to barley (50% greater than current wheat varieties), it was expected to have a major influence on weed populations on Australian farms.

 

He said current pre-breeding research had achieved significant progress in enhancing the competitive ability of wheat against weeds.

 

“The challenge now is to select lines which not only possess high weed competitive ability but also possess high yield, good disease tolerance and grain quality.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7791&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.24  Bean grant seeks health gains

 

By Meagan Choi

14 June 2010

For the next two weeks, Jim Kelly will be planting thousands of rows of beans at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center near Frankenmuth, Mich.

 

Kelly, a professor in the MSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, is a co-principal director of a $4 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, which involves 10 institutions to discover new nutritional benefits of the common bean and provide the corresponding tools for plant breeders.

 

Kelly, whose specialty is dry bean breeding and genetics, said the Common Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project, or BeanCAP, will be identifying and matching genetic markers from different dry bean varieties — such as navy, black, pinto and kidney — to about 15 nutritional characteristics, including anti-cancer properties, vitamins and minerals.

 

“Beans are an important crop in Michigan,” Kelly said. “They have a $125 million value in the state.”

 

If greater nutritional benefits are discovered and made available to plant breeders, Kelly said it would not only benefit consumers, but Michigan bean producers, too.

 

“There’s a recognition that beans are good for you, so a purpose would be to enhance the nutritional value and make (knowledge) available to the general public,” he said.

 

Although the institutions, mainly universities and USDA laboratories, are conducting research, Kelly said. Michigan is one of the locations where the beans are being grown. The seeds will then be shipped to other research centers from the state.

 

Phillip McClean, the project director and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University, or NDSU, said another objective of the project is outreach, to those who might consider plant breeding as a career and the general public. McClean’s lab has a total of 16 undergraduate and high school students during the academic year who assist in the research.

 

“There is a high demand for plant breeders in companies, but the applicant pool is weak,” he said.

 

When the project began last fall, the grant went directly to NDSU for administrative purposes. NSDU then subcontracted the other institutions, including MSU, and a total of 17 project directors, McClean said.

 

“We engaged nearly every plant geneticist, breeder and nutritional specialists in the U.S.,” he said.

 

Jim Kells, a professor and chairman of the MSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, said this is the third project from the USDA that MSU has been part of in the past few years and it is a prestigious and competitive grant to be involved with.

 

“It generates funds which are needed for the research,” Kells said. “We want to be involved in those large, multi-institutional projects that focus on these complex problems.”

 

Michael Grusak, a USDA Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist, is working at one of the labs in Houston, Texas, where bean seed lines will be analyzed for their genetic “signatures.”

 

“This has relevance internationally, not just in the U.S.,” Grusak said. “We know there are nutritional deficiencies in parts of the world where bean consumption is quite high.”

 

This project will provide the tools plant breeders need to develop bean varieties that are enhanced, instead of the typical nutritional supplements added after harvest, Grusak said.

 

Grusak has been working on national and international projects for more than 10 years and said using such a large range of specialists is not uncommon.

 

“In today’s age with the Internet and conferencing, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “So many projects are multi-institutional because you need expertise from many institutions and that’s just modern science.”

 

http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2010/06/bean_grant_seeks_health_gains

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.25  New MAIZE and WHEAT Mega Programs to fight hunger, poverty, and resource degradation

 

Mexico City, Mexico

June 2010

In collaboration with other CG centers involved in maize and wheat research, most prominently IITA and ICARDA, CIMMYT has recently developed a new strategy – called the MAIZE and WHEAT Mega Programs – describing how the world's maize and wheat research and development community needs to work together to help secure food security, provide maize and wheat at prices affordable to the poor, and do so in the face of rising demands and climate change, while protecting the environment.  

 

The Mega Programs offer a clear vision, a concerted strategy and describe expanded and reformulated interactions with research and development partners worldwide to implement a results-oriented maize and wheat research agenda. These draft proposals have been sent to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium Board and will be developed into more complete proposals by September 2010 after receiving the feedback of partners worldwide.

 

 

MAIZE - Global Alliance for Improving Food Security and the Livelihoods of the Resource-poor in the Developing World

 

MAIZE - Executive summary

 

 

WHEAT- Global Alliance for Improving Food Security and the Livelihoods of the Resource-poor in the Developing World

WHEAT - Executive summary

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7846&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.26  Late blight resistant potato developed by the International Potato Center improves Andean smallholders’ production

 

Lima, Peru

11 June 2010

A new report released by the International Potato Center (CIP) has shown that disease resistant potato cultivars bred by the Center have made an important impact in the Peruvian Andes, with an estimated net benefit accruing to farmers through the adoption of one particular variety, Amarilis, amounting to almost US $ 9 million.

 

Late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete pathogen, Phythophtora infestans, delivers a double economic blow to the region’s farmers. It lowers yields so they have less to live on and sell, and it increases their reliance on expensive chemical fungicides. When weather conditions are favorable to the pathogen, this disease can wipe out a potato crop in a mere few weeks. Late blight is widely recognized as the single worst disease of food crops, causing estimated annual total yield losses of US$ 10 billion worldwide. In Peru alone, losses are estimated at US$ 7 to US$ 25 million per year.

 

The most sustainable means of controlling the disease is by developing resistance in the potatoes. CIP and its partners have been developing and promoting late blight resistant cultivars for over two decades. Recent advances, such as DNA fingerprinting of the pathogen and the genetic sequencing of the potato, have provided vital information for breeders, who use a complex process of recurrent selection to breed varieties with durable late blight resistance. Amarilis, a variety with high-level resistance, was bred by the Center and first released by Peru’s National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) in 1993.

 

While initial studies showed that its resistance to late blight, excellent culinary attributes, high yield, and short growing period made it an excellent option for farmers, estimating the economic benefits to smallholders from the use of resistant varieties was a complex process. The new report details plot-level information and econometric analysis from 588 plots in the Peruvian Andes’ three main potato-producing areas: Huanuco, La Libertad, and Cajamarca. It shows the impact that Amarilis has had, in terms of reduced fertilizer costs and reliable crop yields, with simulations predicting a 24% reduction in the amount of fungicide use per hectare in some regions, and an average increase on yields of about 9% per hectare for some farmers.

 

Signs indicate that late blight is becoming ever more virulent, as climate change provides optimal conditions for the disease. In this context, estimates suggest that Amarilis may produce long run benefits to farmers ranging from US$ 3.7-20 million.

The CIP report, titled Assessing the impact of late blight resistant varieties on smallholders’ potato production in the Peruvian Andes, is available at: http://www.cipotato.org/publications/pdf/005381.pdf

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7185&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.27  Rewarding COGGO canola breeders investment

 

Australia

June 2010

COGGO (The Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd) members have enjoyed popular canola varieties such as CB Tribune, CB Tanami and CB Argyle thanks to their 10 year investment in Canola Breeders Western

Australia Pty Ltd (CBWA).

 

Recently, Canola Breeders released the world’s first hybrid triazine canola varieties, CB Jardee HT™, CB Mallee HT™ and CB Tumby HT™.

 

Canola Breeders generates value for its investors, which COGGO members see onfarm as superior varieties, according to Canola Breeders Research Director and

University of Western Australia (UWA) Professor Wallace Cowling.

 

COGGO members may be unaware of the value generated from COGGO’s investment in canola pre-breeding research, which began in Australian Research Council (ARC)

projects at UWA in 2000.

 

In this first COGGO-supported UWA research project, a research team led by Professor Cowling began crossing canola with Brassica juncea, or Indian mustard, a species

with special attributes, including blackleg resistance and drought tolerance.

 

‘Grand children’ of the original crosses made by Dr Janet Wroth (photo, left) and PhD student Chris Schelfhout (phto, right) in 1999 and 2000 now show great results. Canola Breeders has invested seven years of breeding inside the company on this unique material.

 

The graph shows results from a three year analysis of Canola Breeders lines at more than 30 sites throughout Australia. Three new breeding lines (in yellow) are ‘grandchildren’ of COGGO-supported pre-breeding research.

 

On the right side (in red) are new generation hybrid triazine (HT™) varieties from Canola Breeders. The first hybrid triazine canola varieties in the world, these innovative varieties were made possible by the hybrid breeding system of Canola Breeders coowner NPZ Lembke, in Germany.

 

COGGO invested in a similar ARC linkage project at UWA in 2006, in which genes from Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard) were introduced into canola. Canola Breeders began crossing with these lines in 2008 and expect superior lines in three to four years.

 

There is no doubt COGGO investment in R&D will contribute to unique and valuable varieties from Canola Breeders far into the future.

 

COGGO’s investment in Canola Breeders has not only made possible the path to market for these new lines, but has stimulated the introduction into WA of international advances in canola breeding technology e.g. Canola Breeders is bringing a ‘new-generation’ Roundup Ready® canola hybrid, CB Eclipse RR, into the market in 2010.

 

According to COGGO CEO, Mark Tucek, COGGO’s research investment program is part of its overall strategy to quickly bring sustainable improvements in grain crop varieties to members.

 

“It takes 10 years to transfer the ‘R’ in R&D to the farmers paddocks and this happens effectively through COGGO investments in crop breeding.

 

“COGGO aims to secure the path to market for outcomes from its crop improvement investments,” Mr Tucek said.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7173&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: The Grower - COGGO newsletter Vol 10 Issue 24 via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.28  COGGO assault on chickpea breeding

 

Australia

June 2010

Chickpea plantings in WA will target heavy-textured soils with subsoil salinity.

 

Chickpea is particularly sensitive to soil salinity, with even mild salinity resulting in foliar damage, growth reductions and depressed yields, according to University of Western Australia Professor Tim Colmer.

 

When COGGO (The Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd), DAFWA, CLIMA and UWA breeding team members saw the apparent diversity in salt tolerance in a large screening of chickpea germplasm at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India, they decided to obtain the most tolerant lines and test them under WA conditions.

 

COGGO, CLIMA and ICRISAT successfully developed a project, ‘Accelerated genetic improvement of desi chickpea for WA’, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), in partnership with COGGO.

 

In addition to bringing new chickpea germplasm for WA and evaluating it under WA conditions, attracting ARC funds also enabled researchers to address the physiological reasons for salt sensitivity in chickpea and develop molecular markers for salt tolerance.

 

This knowledge and anticipated molecular markers will facilitate future breeding efforts to incorporate improved salt tolerance into elite cultivars. A large screening experiment at UWA in replicated pots of soil from the WA grainbelt, with salt added to impose well defined salinity levels, has confirmed that several lines identified by ICRISAT have superior salt tolerance.

 

These lines out-performed the historical WA check varieties, Sonali and Rupali, previously successful cultivars prior to Ascochyta devastation of the WA industry. Several ICRISAT lines even outranked CSG8962, a salt tolerant cultivar available in northern India.

 

Genesis 836, a released cultivar with moderate Ascochyta tolerance, also appears to be salt tolerant and may prove a good parent for future breeding if 2009 results are repeated in 2010. The 57 lines were also evaluated in small-scale field trials on salt affected land on COGGO Chairman Bruce Piper’s Bindi Bindi farm. Plants (one metre single rows) were regularly sprayed to avoid Ascochyta damage, in order to evaluate plant phenology and field performance without the complication of disease at this stage. Seven lines out-yielded Sonali and work in 2010 will evaluate priority lines in small field plots to obtain true yield data. The best lines will be used as parents in the DAFWA/CLIMA/ICRISAT/COGGO chickpea breeding program, so that improved salt tolerance is crossed into the Ascochyta resistant materials.

 

Salt Damage

The physiological and molecular basis of salinity tolerance is being determined in collaborative work between ICRISAT and UWA. Salt damage likely occurs due to accumulation of high levels of chloride in shoots. The reproductive stage is even more sensitive to salinity than vegetative growth.

 

Two populations of recombinant inbred lines from crosses between two different salinity tolerant and two salinity sensitive parents, have been developed at ICRISAT. These populations have been screened for salt tolerance, measured as grain yield under saline conditions, and are currently being ‘genotyped’ in order to identify molecular markers for salinity tolerance in chickpea. If strong markers are identified, this enables potential future marker-assisted selection (MAS) in breeding. MAS would enhance the capacity to cross salt tolerance into elite breeding lines, as screening for salt tolerance is time-consuming and variability in saline fields poses a challenge for screening large numbers of lines. The project is poised at an exciting stage, with the best bet lines to be evaluated in yield plots in WA in the 2010 season and the initial molecular maps of salinity tolerance in chickpea likely to be available by the end of 2010.

 

The project started on January 1, 2005 and Phase I finished on December 31, 2009. A three year extension to take the project to Phase II started on January 1, 2010 and is scheduled to finish on December 31, 2012. In the past five years more than 4000 new breeding lines have been developed. More than 2500 of these have been imported into WA. A large number of very promising lines with high level of Ascochyta resistance have now been identified for Crop Variety Testing in WA and for the National

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7172&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: The Grower - COGGO newsletter Vol 10 Issue 24 via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.29  Cowpea research examines health, food security in Africa

 

COLLEGE STATION – The cowpea, known widely as the black-eyed pea in the U.S., is getting an in-depth look by scientists with Texas AgriLife Research.

 

Scientists are not only studying the cowpea for its drought-tolerant traits, its high yields in dry environments and potential for enhanced food security in Africa, but also nutritional and health benefits for consumers domestically and beyond, according to scientists.

 

The project is led by Dr. J.M. Awika, a food scientist and Dr. B.B. Singh, a cowpea breeder who is currently a visiting professor in the soil and crop science department at Texas A&M University.

 

"Previous research has shown that regular consumption of grain legumes is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease,"Awika said. "However, there is limited data available on how the cowpea or cowpea components may impact human health."

 

The project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development grant with the major goal to develop high-yielding cowpea varieties with high protein and enhanced levels of antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, which provide health benefits beyond nutrition.

 

"The project also aims at finding how the physical and chemical composition of different cowpea varieties influence human health, reduce obesity and prevent diseases like cancer, hypertension and heart related ailments," Singh said. "The results from this work will be used to identify genotypes that would optimize health benefits of cowpeas, and formulate education strategies that can be used to successfully promote cowpea consumption to improve human health."

 

Singh has brought more than 35 high-yielding lines of cowpeas with drought and aphid tolerance, as well as resistance to other diseases, combined with higher protein, iron, zinc, calcium and other minerals, to College Station. His work has involved using conventional breeding methods to cross those lines with Texas and California varieties in greenhouse and field settings. Sixty-five other diverse cowpea lines have also been obtained to broaden the genetic base for studying and identifying lines with high levels of healthful traits.

 

"This is a very involved and tedious process where each of the varieties have to be screened, looking for potential markers that have the best benefits," Awika said. "What we will do is screen all the 100 cowpea lines and take the top 10 varieties and do more of a comprehensive analysis, then select two or three that are the best in that group and use them for genetic cross-breeding."

 

Awika and Singh say they are "very optimistic" that within a few years, several improved cowpea lines would be available with up to 30 percent protein and high levels of iron, zinc, calcium and loaded with antioxidants and other health enhancing factors.

 

To view video on the AgriLife Research project featuring Singh and the different cowpea varieties, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSK8BaVdrHQ&feature=player_embedded.

 

By Blair Fannin

 

Contact(s): Dr. Joseph Awika, jawika@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. B.B. Singh, drbbsingh@yahoo.com

 

http://agnews.tamu.edu/showstory.php?id=1962

 

Contributed by Luigi Guarino

Global Crop Diversity Trust

luigi.guarino@gmail.com

 

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1.30  Germany takes stand against patents on plants and animals

 

Should conventional breeding techniques be patentable?

 

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner has spoken out against the patenting of varieties of livestock and plants. Her comments come as the European Patent Office prepares to rule in a test case with far-reaching implications for biological patents in Europe.

 

The German government wants to prevent the patenting of agricultural livestock and plants. "There are limits that we should not cross," Germany's Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner told SPIEGEL. In order to preserve genetic variety, farmers and breeders should not be handcuffed by biological patents, she argues.

 

Aigner, who is a member of the conservative Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, wants to make European rules regarding biological patents more precise. Although the agriculture minister does not oppose the patenting of new breeding procedures, she argues that the resulting whole organisms should not be patentable.

 

She is supported in her position by the parliamentary group of the opposition center-left Social Democrats (SPD). The SPD even goes one step further, arguing that neither conventional breeding methods nor whole organisms should be patentable.

 

European Test Case

Aigner's push for a refinement of European regulations on biological patents comes shortly before an important precedent-setting decision that will be made by the Munich-based European Patent Office (EPO). In a hearing that begins on July 20, the office's Enlarged Board of Appeal, the EPO's highest board of appeal, will be looking into the validity of two patents, one applying to broccoli and one to tomatoes. The EPO's ruling will be final once a decision has been made and will serve as a precedent for further patents on conventional seeds.

 

The patents were actually granted several years ago. In the case of the broccoli, which is bred to contain elevated levels of glucosinolates, compounds believed to have anticarcinogenic properties, the patent was given to UK-based Plant Bioscience Limited in 2002, while the patent on the tomatoes, which have been bred to contain less water, was awarded to Israel's Ministry of Agriculture in 2003. The patents have been opposed by various parties, however, including other companies working in biotechnology such as Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever and Swiss-based company Syngenta Participations AG.

 

Opposition to Patents on Conventional Breeding

Another of the organizations opposed to the patenting is the lobby group No Patents on Seeds, an initiative founded by Greenpeace Germany together with the Swiss development organization Swissaid and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.

 

The lobby opposed to seed patenting is concerned that what is being patented involves conventional plant breeding techniques and not genetic modification technology. For example, the drier tomato in question is produced by crossing several tomato hybrid seeds, then observing how the eventual tomato fruit dries, to see which plants have less moisture.

 

According to European regulations, as an EPO statement on the vegetable cases explains, "European patents shall not be granted for essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals." A process for the production of plants or animals is essentially biological "if it consists entirely of natural phenomena such as crossing or selection," the EPO continues.

 

Wanting Confirmation

No Patents On Seeds is concerned about the implications of the EPO's impending ruling. "If the patent is revoked, it might become more difficult for similar patents on normal seeds to be granted," the group said in a statement. "On the other hand, it is likely that the companies mainly filed their oppositions to get the EPO to confirm, rather than to revoke, the patentability of conventional seeds." The lobby group points out that one of the commercial opponents of the broccoli patent, Syngenta, has also applied for a similar patent on a type of rice.

 

Traditionally, a kind of open-source principle applied in agriculture, whereby newly developed varieties of plant or breeds of animal were available to all users. In contrast, patents give their holders exclusive rights and controls over any new varieties.

cis/SPIEGEL

 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,702118,00.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.31  US Supreme Court lifts ban on planting GM alfalfa

 

By JENNIFER KOONS of Greenwire

21 June 2010

In its first ruling on genetically engineered crops, the Supreme Court today overturned a lower court's decision prohibiting Monsanto Co. from selling pesticide-resistant alfalfa seeds until the government completes an environmental impact study.

 

"An injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which should not be granted as a matter of course," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the 7-1 majority.

A U.S. District Court in San Francisco "abused its discretion" in 2007 when it ruled that the government needed to examine the modified breed's environmental impact, Alito wrote.

 

"The District Court abused its discretion in enjoining APHIS [the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] from effecting a partial deregulation and in prohibiting the possibility of planting in accordance with the terms of such a deregulation," the justice argued.

 

Environmental groups, farmers and consumers sued USDA in 2006 to force it to rescind its 2005 approval of the Monsanto seed until it conducted a full environmental impact study. Monsanto intervened on the government's side in the suit.

 

The groups argued that cross-pollination of genetically modified crops could contaminate conventional alfalfa fields and that overuse of the herbicide Roundup, which the seeds were bred to resist, could harm soil and groundwater or give rise to Roundup-resistant "super weeds."

 

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer, brother of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, ruled in 2007 that USDA's study failed to address those concerns.

 

"The government does not cite any case, and the court is aware of none, which holds that an impact is not significant simply because a federal agency determines that the major federal action does not jeopardize the public's health and safety," Breyer wrote. "The paucity of caselaw is unsurprising given that one of Congress' express goals in adopting [National Environmental Policy Act] was to 'attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health and safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences.' A federal action that eliminates a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food, is an undesirable consequence."

 

Monsanto appealed to the Supreme Court after a divided three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban for the second time last June. USDA did not join Monsanto in its final petition for rehearing of the 9th Circuit decision. The agency agreed to conduct the environmental impact study but has not set a time table for completion.

 

In its petition for review, Monsanto argued that the Department of Agriculture's proposed measures would have reduced the likelihood of cross-pollination to a fraction of 1 percent.

 

"The district court's suggestion that continued planting of [Roundup Ready alfalfa] could eliminate the availability of conventional alfalfa is bad science fiction with no support in the record," Monsanto wrote.

 

The lone dissenter in today's case, retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, argued that "the district court did not abuse its discretion when, after considering the voluminous record and making the aforementioned findings, it issued the order now before us."

 

"To be sure, the District Court's judgment is somewhat opaque. But it is troubling that we may be asserting jurisdiction and deciding a highly factbound case based on nothing more than a misunderstanding," Stevens wrote, adding: "It is also troubling that we may be making law without adequate briefing on the critical questions we are passing upon. I would not be surprised if on remand the District Court merely clarified its order."

 

Justice Breyer took no part in the case.

 

The next step

Today's decision could affect another case in the same district court involving Monsanto's breed of pesticide-resistant sugar beets. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White allowed plantings of the modified crops to continue this year but warned that he might block use of Monsanto's seeds in future seasons while an environmental review takes place.

 

"The parties should not assume that the court's decision to deny a preliminary injunction is indicative of its views on a permanent injunction," White wrote in his decision, urging farmers to "take all efforts, going forward, to use conventional seed."

 

Environmental and industry groups beyond agriculture closely watched the alfalfa case because of its potential implications for NEPA lawsuits. In asking the Supreme Court to take case, Monsanto had pointed to a decision last year in which the majority ruled that a possibility of irreparable harm to whales was insufficient to affirm a nationwide injunction.

 

The National Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that a ruling in favor of Monsanto would hinder their ability to rely on NEPA "to ensure a meaningful consideration by federal agencies of the impacts of their actions on the environment, and particularly wildlife and plants."

 

The attorneys general of California, Oregon and Massachusetts also filed amicus briefs in the case, advocating their "states' interests in protecting their natural resources and their citizens' rights to be informed about the environmental impacts of federal actions."

 

The potential impact of today's ruling also drew briefs from business groups beyond agriculture. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, CropLife America and the National Association of Home Builders joined together to file a friend-of-the-court brief that urged the court to set a high bar for plaintiffs who seek injunctions against industry while suing for environmental review.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/21/21greenwire-supreme-court-lifts-ban-on-planting-gm-alfalfa-57894.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.32  Years in the making, Kenya's GM law prepares to go live

 

Nairobi, Kenya

16 June 2010

by David Njagi

Kenya's long-awaited biosafety law is likely to become operational this month — well over a year after its president approved the legislation.

 

President Mwai Kibaki (photo) signed off parliament's approval of the biosafety legislation in February 2009, after a decade of controversy about the advisability of allowing the commercialisation of genetically modified organisms.

 

Last month, agriculture minister William Ruto confirmed that the biosafety guidelines had been finalised. Now, Harrison Macharia — chief science secretary of the newly created National Biosafety Authority (NBA) — confirmed to SciDev.Net that the gazetting of the bill, and thus its official commencement date, will happen this month.

 

Kenya will become the fourth African country to implement such legislation, after Burkina Faso, Egypt and South Africa.

 

Muo Kasina, principal research officer at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute said that research that has so far been held back because of a lack of legislation will now be able to undergo open field trials, and mass production of GMOs will attract more investment.

 

He added that the regulations will encourage transgenic research and help address the country's brain drain.

 

"Having the biosafety regulations in place will ensure the products meet standards for commercialisation and provide the basis for product stewardship," said Kasina.

 

"This will have a positive impact on the commercialisation of such products since they will be assessed under the expected conditions of their use."

 

The Africa Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum's senior programmes officer, Felix M'mboyi, said its members are planning to carry out open field trials with GM crops, including BT cotton and maize, later this year.

 

But Ann Kingiri — a plant pathologist who recently completed a PhD on Kenya's biosafety system at the UK-based Open University — said that although Kenya has the scientific capacity to steer itself towards the transgenic path, its regulatory and institutional capacities are not as well equipped to cope with the flow of technology expected to come with the commercial production of GMOs.

 

"Institutional capacity respective to regulatory agencies needs to be streamlined to, for instance, handle the hurdles involved in lengthy seed certification process," she said.

 

"The NBA also needs to train and employ biosafety officers to ensure it operates independently."

 

"Kenya is blessed with a rich diversity of species, including a rich agro-biodiversity on rural subsistence farms," said Dino Martins, a researcher with Nature Kenya — the East Africa Natural History Society. "The new technologies require very sophisticated analysis and tools and systems that Kenya, as a developing country, just does not have and cannot afford."

 

And Miriam Kinyua, a biotechnologist at Moi University, Kenya, called on the NBA board to acknowledge its ignorance in some of the areas it will now have to work on. Kenya should not rush into the production of GMOs because it still lacks adequate capacity to deal safely with technologies associated with it, she said.

 

"[Allowing GMOs] depends on whether we will work with propaganda or facts," she told SciDev.Net." I expect the responsible board to be guided by facts as we try to put structures in place and strengthen the existing ones."

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7881&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.33  Commercial GM wheat 10 years away: report

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Australia needs to focus on wheat breeding technologies including genetically modified wheat, Peter Reading, managing director of Australia's Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) said on Tuesday.

 

But GM wheat was unlikely to be commercially available for another 10 years, he told the International Grains Council's conference.

 

Breeding technologies were key to addressing declining rates in Australia's wheat productivity growth, he said.

 

"It is very encouraging to see the life bioscience companies now investing in wheat biotechnologies but it is unlikely that GM wheat will be commercially available within the next 10 years," said Reading.

 

Australia, the world's fourth largest wheat exporter, has seen volatile swings in its production in recent years, mainly due to drought.

 

Output varied by over 10 million tonnes between the 2006/07 crop and the 2007/08 crop.

 

Wheat production is expected to move into higher rainfall regions over time, said Reading.

 

"Major emphasis will be on increasing water use efficiency," he added.

 

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics estimates the country's 2009/10 wheat production at 21.7 million tonnes, up from 20.9 million tonnes the previous year.

 

(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; Editing by William Hardy)

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=commercial-gm-wheat-10-ye

 

Source: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.34  Construyen banco de genes mexicano

 

El Centro Nacional de Recursos Genéticos será el único en el mundo en el que se conservarán en un espacio muestras agrícolas, forestales, acuáticas, microbianos y pecuarias para proteger el patrimonio genético nacional

 

29 June 2010

Emilio Fernández Román/corresponsal | El Universal01:28

 

La Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (Sagarpa) construye el Centro Nacional de Recursos Genéticos (CNGR), que será el banco de germoplasma más grande de América Latina, pues tendrá una capacidad para preservar más de tres millones de muestras durante más de cien años.

 

El CNRG, será el único en el mundo en el que se conservarán en un sólo espacio muestras agrícolas, forestales, acuáticas, microbianos y pecuarias para proteger el patrimonio genético nacional y evitar su desaparición.

 

La construcción del inmueble que se lleva a cabo en Tepatitlán Jalisco tiene un avance del 60 %, explicó Leobigildo Córdova Téllez, Coordinador de la Red de Centros de Conservación.

 

El informe nacional más reciente del tema que data de 2006, indica que en el país existen 22 cuartos fríos que resguardan semillas de diferentes especies distribuidas en 14 estados del país (y 18 instituciones) con una capacidad para resguardar 121 mil muestras.

 

"No obstante la mayoría de estos cuartos fríos no cuentan con las condiciones de temperatura, humedad relativa e infraestructura que permita el resguardo eficaz del germoplasma a mediano (30 años) y largo plazo (100 años), lo que representa un foco rojo para el país", indicó el también investigador del Colegio de Postgraduados (Colpos).

 

Córdova Téllez sostuvo que luego del estudio que se efectuó se detectaron que en el país existían 250 mil muestras colectadas, 53 mil en óptimas condiciones y cien mil estaban con investigadores en cajones de escritorios y otros lugares.

 

El especialista del Colpos señaló que ante la situación crítica que se vive en el país en la materia, la Sagarpa, con el apoyo de diversas instituciones educativas como la Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, el Colpos, entre otras, puso en marcha, a través del Sistema Nacional de Recursos Fitogenéticos -que se formó en 2002- un programa integral, que contempla la construcción del CNRG, apoyado de una red utilizando los cuartos fríos ya existentes.

 

"El Centro Nacional de Recursos Genéticos contará con el almacenamiento de semillas en dos cámaras frías con un volumen total de 746.4 metros cúbicos, sistema de anaqueles de alta densidad para 373 mil 200 accesiones de semilla", precisó.

 

Además, de cuatro cámaras de preservación "in vitro" de tejidos vegetales, dos cámaras para especies tropicales y dos para especies templadas, 10 contenedores de nitrógeno líquido con capacidad de 90 mil accesiones y capacidad para almacenar 600 mil accesiones de semen, embriones, óvulos, larvas, cepas microbianas, entre otras.

 

Córdova Téllez explicó que en la construcción del CNRG, que inició en 2009 en seis hectáreas, se destinaron 400 millones de pesos en Tepatitlán. La edificación contempla, además del área de conservación, laboratorios, un edificio académico, invernaderos, jardín botánico, circuito carretero, estacionamiento y un recorrido temático, entre otros.

 

Se plantea un programa de ingreso del germoplasma entre el 2012 y 2040. El CNRG tendrá una capacidad de 3 millones de muestras genéticas y para el 2012, en una primera etapa, se resguardarán 136 mil 850 muestras; en 2020 habrá 624 mil 650, en 2030, un millón 234 mil 400 y para el 2040 se contará con un millón 844 mil 150 muestras, estimó el investigador.

 

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulos/59340.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.35  Peanuts: more genetically diverse than expected

 

New research identifies greater molecular diversity in commercial Virginia-type peanut cultivars, useful for disease resistance

 

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

28 June 2010

Virginia-type peanuts, the big ones sold in the shell or used in cocktail nut mixes, are more genetically variable than previously assumed, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. Before now, cultivated peanuts showed very little variability for molecular markers, leading some to conclude that there was virtually no genetic variation in the species. However, anyone who has strolled through a seed nursery of diverse peanut lines or compared elite with unimproved varieties would know that this cannot be true.

 

Crop scientist Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis used microsatellite markers, or “simple sequence repeats,” that had been previously reported to vary across genetically diverse types of peanut, and found that they also varied within the commercially available Virginia-type varieties. The results were reported in the July-August 2010 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Crop Science, published by the Crop Science Society of America.

 

While plant breeders want their variety to succeed and dominate the seed market, widespread use of a single variety can lead to genetic vulnerability to diseases and pests. There are examples of disastrous results from genetic vulnerability, including the southern corn leaf blight epidemic that occurred in the United States in 1970. And it isn’t always caused by the use of a single variety: it can be because of a high degree of genetic relatedness of the varieties that occupy most of a crop’s acreage.

 

Milla-Lewis extracted DNA from varieties of Virginia-type peanut released since 1940. The study revealed that, instead of the expected steady, gradual narrowing of genetic variation across time, variation actually increased from the 1940s to the 1970s, then declined a bit in the subsequent two decades and went back up in the 2000s.

 

Variation declined after the 1970s because of the frequent use of the wildly successful variety Florigiant as a parent in crosses made while that variety enjoyed 15 years of dominating the Virginia-type seed market. More recently, exotic parents used to introduce greater levels of disease resistance have brought greater genetic variation into the breeding population. However, the level of genetic richness has not yet returned to the earlier diversity.

 

“Results of this study indicate that peanut breeders have managed to achieve steady genetic gains for yield while maintaining levels of genetic diversity in a crop that has a narrow germplasm base to being with; that is quite an achievement,” says Milla-Lewis.

 

Research is ongoing at North Carolina University to use molecular markers to investigate genetic diversity in the runner-market type, the smaller peanuts that are used to make peanut butter and candies. Studies are also underway to associate specific markers with useful characteristics such as early maturity and disease resistance.

 

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/50/4/1348.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8168&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.36  Wild potato germplasm holds key to disease resistance

 

Washington, DC, USA

16 June 2010

Wild potato germplasm that offers resistance to some major potato diseases has been identified by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Geneticists Dennis Halterman and Shelley Jansky pinpointed the resistant wild potato species in studies at the ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison, Wis.

 

Halterman has identified a wild potato species called Solanum verrucosum that contains a gene with resistance to late blight, considered the most destructive disease of potato. The wild species can be crossed with cultivated potatoes, and efforts are under way to move the late-blight resistance gene into the cultivated potato gene pool.

 

But the scientists aren’t stopping there. They are using S. verrucosum to create a potato that’s resistant to both late blight and early blight, a fungal disease that primarily affects the potato plant’s leaves and stems but, if left uncontrolled, can lead to considerable reductions in yields.

 

To create the multi-disease-resistant cultivar, the scientists crossed S. verrucosum with another wild potato species that is resistant to early blight, and then crossed the wild potato hybrid with the cultivated potato. They currently have seedlings in the greenhouse waiting to be tested in the field.

 

Halterman and Jansky are also looking for resistance to Verticillium wilt, another fungal disease that can linger in the soil for up to 10 years. Halterman developed a molecular marker to screen potato germplasm for resistance against this disease, saving the scientists time and effort. They found resistance in the wild potato species S. chacoense and crossed it with the cultivated potato. According to Halterman, this could be a good, durable gene that may hold up over the long term.

 

The scientists’ studies have been published in Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, Molecular Breeding and the American Journal of Potato Research.

Read more about this research in the May/June 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7837&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.37  Scientists clarify origins of potato germplasm Neo-tuberosum

 

Washington, DC, USA

2 June 2010

A recent study conducted by scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and cooperators shows the potato germplasm Neo-Tuberosum, used by potato breeders to develop new cultivars, has origins that can be traced to Chile, not to the Andes as previously believed.

 

Native “landrace” potatoes come from two areas: lowland central Chile and the Andes mountains from Venezuela south to northern Argentina. These geographical groups of potato, Solanum tuberosum, differ mainly in day-length adaptation--the amount of daylight needed for them to tuberize or begin to develop. The Andean potato is adapted to short-day conditions widespread in the mountainous, tropical region from which it came. The Chilean potato, on the other hand, evolved under long-day conditions, making it pre-adapted to grow in other long-day- length environments like Europe and North America.

 

The Andean potato contains many desirable traits, such as virus X and Y resistance, earlier tuberization and greater yield. In the 1960s, an English potato breeder sought to take the Andean potato and adapt it for use in long-day-length regions. This new potato germplasm was named "Neo-Tuberosum" and is widely used by potato breeders to develop new potato varieties.

 

ARS botanist David Spooner (photo), with the agency’s Vegetable Crop Research Unit in Madison, Wis., and his colleagues at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, originally sought to measure how much the genetic base of modern potato varieties and breeders’ lines had broadened with respect to the Andean and Chilean landraces.

 

Spooner and his collaborators unexpectedly found Neo-Tuberosum is not a product of strict inter-Andean breeding as previously believed. Instead, it’s a descendant of the Chilean potato.

 

According to Spooner, the study, which was published in Theoretical and Applied Genetics, will change the way this potato species is viewed by scientists—particularly phylogeneticists, who study the evolutionary history of an organism. The discovery will also help researchers gain knowledge of potato classification and identification and will encourage breeders to reexamine the value of the material from the Andean potato.

 

Read more about this research in the May/June 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7037&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.38  Gene leads to longer shelf life for tomatoes, possibly other fruits

 

West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

28 June 2010

A Purdue University researcher has found a sort of fountain of youth for tomatoes that extends their shelf life by about a week.

 

Avtar Handa, a professor of horticulture, found that adding a yeast gene increases production of a compound that slows aging and delays microbial decay in tomatoes. Handa said the results, published in the early online version of The Plant Journal, likely would transfer to most fruits.

 

"We can inhibit the aging of plants and extend the shelf life of fruits by an additional week for tomatoes," Handa said. "This is basic fundamental knowledge that can be applied to other fruits."

 

The organic compound spermidine is a polyamine and is found in all living cells. Polyamines' functions aren't yet fully understood. Handa and Autar Mattoo, a research plant physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and collaborator in the research, had shown earlier that polyamines such as spermidine and spermine enhance nutritional and processing quality of tomato fruits.

 

The tomato with increased spermidine (left) stays fresh longer than those that do not have an increased level of the natural organic compound. (Purdue University photo/Avtar Handa)

 

"At least a few hundred genes are influenced by polyamines, maybe more," Mattoo said. "We see that spermidine is important in reducing aging. It will be interesting to discover what other roles it can have."

 

Savithri Nambeesan, who was a graduate student in Handa's laboratory, introduced the yeast spermidine synthase gene, which led to increased production of spermidine in the tomatoes. Fully ripe tomatoes from those plants lasted about eight days longer before showing signs of shriveling compared with non-transgenic plants. Decay and rot symptoms associated with fungi were delayed by about three days.

 

"It increased the quality of the fruit," Handa said. "If a tomato goes to market, people won't buy it if it has started to shrivel. If we can stop that wrinkling, we can extend the market time of the fruit."

 

Mattoo said the finding could have implications for areas that don't often get fresh fruit.

 

"Shelf life is a major problem for any produce in the world, especially in countries such as in Southeast Asia and Africa that cannot afford controlled-environment storage," Mattoo said.

 

Handa said tomato growers and possibly other fruit growers could use the finding soon if they wanted through either transgenic plants or natural breeding methods.

"We can add this gene to the tomatoes or look at natural variation and select the cultivars that already have a high level of this gene's expression," Handa said.

 

Handa and Mattoo will continue to study polyamines to discover how they control biological functions in fruits.

 

The US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, the USDA Initiative for Future Agricultural Food Systems, and the Purdue Research Foundation funded the research.

 

ABSTRACT

 

Overexpression of Yeast Spermidine Synthase Impacts Ripening, Senescence and Decay Symptoms in Tomato

Savithri Nambeesan, Tatsiana Datsenka, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Anish Malladi, Autar K. Mattoo and Avtar K. Handa

 

Polyamines (PAs) are ubiquitous, polycationic biogenic amines that are implicated in many biological processes including plant growth and development, but their precise roles remain to be determined. Most of the studies have involved three biogenic amines: putrescine (Put), spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) and their derivatives. We have expressed a yeast spermidine synthase (ySpdSyn) gene under constitutive (CaMV35S) and fruit ripening-specific (E8) promoters in tomato and determined alterations in tomato vegetative and fruit physiology in transformed lines compared to the control. Constitutive expression of ySpdSyn enhanced intracellular levels of Spd in the leaf and transiently during fruit development while E8-ySpdSyn expression led to Spd accumulation early and transiently during fruit ripening. The ySpdSyn-transgenic fruits had longer shelf life, reduced shriveling, and delayed decay symptom development in comparison to the wild type (WT) fruits. Increase in shelf-life of ySpdSyn-transgenic fruits was not facilitated by changes in the rate of water loss or ethylene evolution. Additionally, expression of several cell wall and membrane degradation-related genes in ySpdSyn-transgenic fruits was not correlated with extension of shelf-life indicating that Spd-mediated increase in fruit shelf- life is independent of the above factors. Crop maturity, indicated by percent ripening fruits on the vine, was delayed in a CaMV35S-ySpdSyn genotype with fruits accumulating higher levels of the antioxidant, lycopene. Notably, whole plant senescence in the transgenic plants was also delayed compared to WT plants. Together, these results provide evidence for a role of Spd in increasing fruit shelf life, likely by reducing postharvest senescence and decay.

 

 http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8153&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.39  New rust resistance genes added to common beans

 

Washington, DC, USA

4 June 2010

New cultivars of common bean developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their university colleagues could shore up the legume crop’s defenses against the fungal disease common bean rust.

 

According to Talo Pastor-Corrales, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist in Beltsville, Md., the new cultivars possess two or more genes for resistance to the rust fungi. Most of the cultivars also harbor Ur-11, which is considered the most effective rust-resistance gene in the world.

 

Pastor-Corrales and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska and Colorado State University resorted to this multi-gene strategy in response to the high diversity of strains of the bean rust pathogen. Lately, virulent new races of rust that have overcome the Ur-3 resistance gene appeared in Michigan and North Dakota.

 

Until recently, this gene had been very effective in controlling rust in the United States, epecially in North Dakota and Michigan, the country’s largest bean-growing states. Now, Ur-3-protected varieties that once withstood the disease are succumbing to it, and there’s concern the new races will spread to other Northern Plains states where common beans are grown, such as Colorado and Nebraska.

 

Pastor-Corrales’ search for novel sources of rust resistance in dry-, snap- and other common beans has taken him to 21 countries in the Americas and 11 in Africa. The battle against rust is complicated by the fact that races present in crop fields can vary from one year to the next, adds Pastor-Corrales, who leads a bean breeding project at the ARS Soybean Genomics and Improvement Research Unit in Beltsville.

 

Read more about this research and similar efforts to protect other legume crops in the May/June 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7065&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.40  USDA ARS scientists seek blight-resistant potatoes

 

Washington, DC, USA

3 June 2010

Potatoes offering elevated levels of phytonutrients thought to promote health could add a new dimension to the consumer diet. But the journey from farm to fork can be a perilous one fraught with sundry microorganisms ready to attack the spuds, either while they're still in the ground or during storage.

 

In Aberdeen, Idaho, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Rich Novy and Jonathan Whitworth are taking on the late-blight fungus, Phytophthora infestans, best known for its role in the Irish potato famine of 1845. They work at the ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen.

 

Novy, a geneticist, and Whitworth, a plant pathologist, coordinate a unique program at Aberdeen to develop new potato lines that resist different biotypes of late blight. Toward that end, they send 2,500 breeding "clones" annually to Héctor Lozoya-Saldaña, a collaborator in Chapingo, Mexico, where late blight is endemic.

 

Based on Lozoya-Saldaña's evaluations, Novy and Whitworth conduct a duplicate planting of the clones and select the most resistant ones for further advancement based on their agronomic performance under irrigated production.

 

Defender, a 2006 release from the program, has helped growers save on fungicides and other expenses associated with controlling late blight, which attacks the crop's leaves and tubers, rendering the latter unmarketable.

 

Over the next few years, Defender may be joined by another late-blight-resistant variety, depending on how it performs in ongoing trials in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California and Texas, reports Novy.

 

Potatoes such as Defender are typically released in collaboration with university colleagues and the grower-supported Potato Variety Management Institute. The tubers are primarily intended for production in the western United States, but requests for releases also originate from other regions of the country as well as outside of the United States, where some of the same problems occur.

 

Read more about this and other ARS potato projects in the May/June 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may10/potatoes0510.htm.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7048&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.41  New  USDA-ARS developed nematode-resistant soybean JTN-5109 used marker assisted selection

 

Worldwide, soybean cyst nematode(SCN, Heterodera glycines ichinohe) is the most destructive pathogen of soybean [Glycine max(L.) Merr.]. Crop losses are primarily mitigated by the use of resistant cultivars. Nematode populations are highly variable and have adapted to reproduce on resistant cultivars over time because resistance primarily traces to two soybean accessions, Pl 88788 and PI 548402 (Peking). Soybean cultivar Hartwig, derived primarily from PI 437654 was released for its comprehensive resistance to most nematode populations. Already, Hartwig and its derived cultivars have shown some nematode adaptation in soybean fields infested with the nematodes. Recently, Hartwig was found susceptible to a synthetic nematode population in greenhouse studies. This synthetic nematode population infects currently known sources of resistance except PI567516C. Soybean PI 567516C, a recent introduction from China has no commercial value. Prakash Arelli and his research team at USDA-ARS , Jackson worksite in Tennessee, USA in collaboration from Monsanto have selected a new soybean germplasm line JTN-5109 that is resistant to the synthetic nematode population in segregating progenies from cross Hartwig with PI 567516C. Soybean JTN-5109 is desirable agronomically and an excellent source material for developing high yielding cultivars with broad resistance to nematode populations. The team also identified three new SSR markers on Linkage group O in mapping population of Hartwig X PI 567516C that were associated with resistance to the synthetic nematode population. These were used in marker assisted selection to confirm resistance to the synthetic nematode population and JTN-5109 was developed using advanced progenies from cross Hartwig with PI 567516C.

 

Contributed by Prakash R. Arelli

Crop Genetics Research Unit

USDA-ARS-MSA

prakash.arelli@ars.usda.gov

 

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1.42  Investigation on blast resistance of rice genotypes using molecular markers

 

Rice is staple food of 65% of the world's population, thus, identifying the resistant genes is very important in developing rice varieties. A. Kumar of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology in India and other scientists evaluated the blast resistance of 48 supreme Indian and exotic rice genotypes under induced disease occurrence in the field.

 

The scientists reported that "the disease severity (%) and Area Under the Disease Progress Curve (AUDPC) was less than 45% and 1000, respectively, in all the resistant genotypes, while it was around 85% and higher than 2000 in the case of susceptible genotypes, respectively." There were significant differences in the resistance of the rice genotypes to rice blast fungus. Among the markers used, OPA-05, OPF-06, OPF-09, OPF-17, OPG-17, OPG-18, OPG-19, OPH-18, OPK-12, P-265-550 and P-286-350 were found to be effective molecular markers in selecting blast resistant genotypes. It was also disc! overed that the resistant genotypes have no allelic relationship, thus gene pyramiding could be used to improve the resistance to blast fungus.

 

Visit http://www.academicjournals.org/AJB/PDF/pdf2010/14Jun/Kumar%20et%20al.pdf to download the full article.

 

From Crop Biotech Update 18 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.43  FAO launches Rust SPORE website to step up global surveillance of Ug99 strain of wheat rust

 

Rome, Italy

2 June 2010

FAO has launched a new website to track the advance of Ug99 the devastating strain of wheat stem rust disease and other wheat rusts amid concern the fungus is on the march across Africa and could head toward South Asia.

 

The aim of “Rust SPORE” is to deliver up-to-date information on the status of wheat stem rust, monitor important new strains of the disease and synthesize and provide easy access to reliable data on a global scale.

 

The information is retrieved from field data provided by national surveillance teams in cooperating countries that have been trained in using harmonized surveillance protocols and forming an international rust surveillance network.

 

The recent report of the spread of a virulent Ug99 variant into South Africa has raised further concern about the spread of this disease, which presents a severe threat to the world’s wheat crops. There are currently seven recognised variants of the strain to which 90 percent of global commercial wheat varieties are vulnerable.

 

Centuries old problem

Throughout recorded history fungal rust diseases have been a recurring threat to wheat crops worldwide. Three rust diseases — stem (black), stripe (yellow) and leaf (brown) rust — are the most economically damaging diseases affecting wheat production. However, recently there has been an escalation in the threat posed by both stem and stripe rust.

 

“Emergence of the Ug99 races in East Africa transformed stem rust from a disease largely under control into a significant global threat,” said David Hodson, FAO’s international focal point for wheat rust disease.

 

“Ug99 is like the flu virus, it evolves continuously. The continued spread of Ug99, and the appearance of new variants that have broken down even more key resistance genes is increasing the danger it poses.

 

Carried on clothes

Wheat rust moves by the wind but can also be carried on clothes or in plant matter and the worry is it can jump continents by an unwitting human carrier.

 

Wheat rusts including Ug99 are one of the main topics under discussion among wheat rust experts from developed and developing countries gathered at the 8th International Wheat Conference in St Petersburg, Russia (June 1-4) organised by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI).

 

Rust SPORE is part of FAO’s Wheat Rust Disease Global Programme and an important part of the BGRI efforts to mitigate the effects of wheat rust diseases globally.

 

First discovered in Uganda in 1999, the original pathogen of Ug99 has been confirmed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Iran; variants of the disease have now been recorded in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

 

The main aims of coordinated international efforts are surveying and monitoring pathogen changes, developing new resistant varieties, supporting countries in their preparedness and the quick seed multiplication of resistant varieties and support to farmers for changing varieties.

 

Agressive yellow strains

Another global concern is the recent detection of new very aggressive strains of yellow or stripe rust that are crossing continents and getting established at an extremely rapid rate, causing serious outbreaks in many countries.

 

These new stripe rust strains pose an additional threat to wheat production since they are adapted to warmer temperatures, previously limiting the occurrence of yellow rust in cooler areas.

 

“This year millions of dollars in crop losses are likely because of yellow rust outbreaks in the Middle East, Central Asia, Caucus and North Africa,” said Hodson.

 

Rust SPORE information system is presently focusing on stem rust and Ug99, but will be expanded to incorporate other wheat rust threats in the near future.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7043&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.44  Carotenoid content and genetic variations of orange peppers

 

Capsicum, commonly known as pepper, is one of the oldest and most popular vegetable and spice in the world probably because of its characteristic flavor, nutrition, and color. Ripe pepper fruits are rich in carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene, capsanthin, and capsorubin. Humans can transform beta-carotene into vitamin A, therefore capsicum can aid in preventing blindness of  vitamin A-deficient children worldwide. Thus, Ivette Guzmana of New Mexico State University and colleagues conducted a detailed study of seven orange pepper varieties, distinguishing six carotenoids and DNA sequences of four carotenoid biosynthetic genes to identify the metabolic and genetic variations among the pepper varieties.

 

The researchers used the Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) to identify the chemical profiles of the seven orange varieties. They found out that the orange color can either be due to accumulation of beta-carotene or a combination of red and yellow carotenoids. Four carotenoid biosynthetic genes were cloned and sequenced from the varieties to test if specific carotenoid biosynthetic enzymes are related with certain carotenoid profiles in orange peppers. This led to the discovery of a new gene (Ccs) variant. When they selectively bred for high beta-carotene levels, the need for carotenoid chemical composition arose because phenotypic recurrent selection based on color was not sufficient. The results pinpointed specific forms of genes (Ccs-3) which can be potential molecular markers for selection of orange pepper lines with high beta-carotene levels, thus, high provitamin A levels.

 

The abstract of this study is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2010.04.014.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 4 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.45  Weed-tolerant and environment-friendly sorghum

 

Sorghum produces a natural defense chemical that prevents growth of weeds in its immediate vicinity. The compound sorgoleone is produced in the plant root hairs and when overly generated results to soil toxicity, making multiple cropping with sorghum impossible.

 

A group of research scientists at the ARS Natural Products Utilization Unit in Oxford, led by Stephen O. Duke found that a special type of enzyme is responsible for the production of sorgoleone. The team found the gene sequences associated with that class of enzymes through sequence tagging in the sorghum genomic database. Experiments conducted to determine the gene function through gene silencing revealed reduction in sorgoleone emitted by the sorghum plants produced.

 

Further studies will lead to the development of sorghum lines which does not cause soil toxicity problem and environmental hazards, but could still ward off weeds. Similar studies are also being conducte! d in other crops, and recent findings show that rice contains similar sequences involved in the production of defense-related enzymes.

 

For details, see the news article at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2010/100615.htm

 

From Crop Biotech Update 18 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.46  Arsenic-tolerant fern may clean toxic land

 

Scientists at Purdue University were amazed upon finding that the fern Pteris vittata can tolerate 100 to 1,000 times more arsenic than other plants. "It actually sucks the arsenic out of the soil and puts it in the fronds. It's the only multi-cellular organism that can do this," said Jody Banks, a professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University.

 

Banks and David Salt, a professor of horticulture, attempted to isolate the gene that allowed fern to tolerate the high levels of arsenic through yeast functional complementation. Thousands of different fern genes were combined with thousands of yeast cells and exposed to arsenic. Surviving yeast cells were picked, further studied and the DNA sequences introduced back in reverse order to the fern, to knock down the gene function. The resultant plants were not able to survive upon exposure to arsenic.

 

Further studies showed that the protein encoded by the gene is found in the plant's cell v! acuole where it serves as a pump to move arsenic out of the cytoplasm. This study could lead to ways to clean up arsenic-contaminated land.

 

The journal article is published in Plant Cell and the news article and abstract can be found at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100610BanksFern.html

 

From Crop Biotech Update 18 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.47  Battle of the sexes exists in the plant world too

 

Bath, United Kingdom

22 June 2010

Research led by the University of Bath has discovered that plants, like animals, also have a battle of the sexes when it comes to raising their offspring.

 

Their findings could open new avenues to increase crop yields and improve food security for an ever-growing global human population.

 

Since mothers give birth to young, they must invest more of their resources into producing offspring than fathers.

 

For mothers, it’s a balance between giving enough resources to keep their babies healthy, but still making as many babies as they can. In contrast, it benefits fathers to have young that are as large as possible and more likely to survive.

 

The researchers, from the Universities of Bath, Exeter and the Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant Sciences in Germany, have now shown that this parental struggle also exists in plants.

 

The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows for the first time that male plants can influence the size of seeds.

 

Using the model plant Arabidopsis, they bred female plants with a variety of different male plants and measured the size of seeds produced with each pairing.

 

They found that crossing the female plant with a specific strain, or genotype, of male plant produced bigger seeds, allowing the father to have more healthy offspring at the cost of the mother.

 

Dr Paula Kover, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bath, explained: “Seed size can make a huge difference to whether a seedling is likely to survive, so you would imagine that there would be an optimum seed size for mothers to produce, balancing the likelihood of survival with the cost in energy of producing them.

 

“However, we see a lot of variation in seed size. The reason for this is a long-standing debate.

 

“Previously it was thought that seed size was controlled solely by the mother’s genes, but for the first time we’ve shown clearly that genes passed on from the father plant can also have an effect on seed size.

 

“The next step will be to identify the specific genes that influence seed size. Previously plant breeders only considered the mother’s genes in the breeding process, so this study could open the door on a whole new group of genes that could increase crop yield.”

 

Dr Clarissa House, from the University of Exeter, added: “Relatively few studies have been able to distinguish between the influence of paternal genotypes for offspring fitness and maternal effects. Our study clearly shows that paternal genes are important.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8058&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.48  Moth pest saliva boosts potato yield

 

Bogota, Colombia

June 2010

 

by Lisbeth Fog

Spit from a major Latin American farming pest can produce bigger potato harvests, research has found.

 

The Guatemalan potato moth larva (Tecia solanivora) devastates crops in South and Central America. But when potato plants in the Colombian Andes are infested with low quantities of the pest they produce yields more than double those of undamaged plants.

 

Researchers had been looking for ways to demonstrate the extent of the harm done by the moth when they "surprisingly found this positive result", said Katja Poveda, a researcher at the University of Goettingen, Germany and the National University of Colombia, and lead author of the study.

 

They found that, when ten per cent of the tubers of the potato plant were infested, the overall yield of potato tubers was 2.5 times greater from than non-infested plants. When half the tubers were infested the plants ended up of equal yield to non-infested plants because of the increased size of the non-infested tubers.

 

The secret is in T. solanivora's saliva, which contains chemicals that stimulate potato tubers to grow, according to the research. But the effect only occurs in one variety — the Colombian Andes commercial potato plant, Solanum tuberosum CV Pastusa suprema , developed by the potato research group at the Agronomy Department of the National University of Colombia and released in 2002.

 

The mechanism is still unknown, Poveda told SciDev.Net. Researchers believe that compounds from the insect's saliva manage to increase the rate of the plant's photosynthesis to compensate for the tubers lost to the larval damage. As a result, the plant actually makes more starch which is stored in the undamaged tubers.

 

Scientists need to identify the substances in the saliva and understand the mechanism before there can be any practical application of the discovery, Poveda said.

 

Alejandro Chaparro — a professor at the Genetics Institute of the National University of Colombia, who has studied this potato variety — said that it is important to consider the genetic complexity of this hybrid.

 

"This is not only a new variety, but has parentals from three different species, one of which is wild," he told SciDev.Net.

 

Carlos Eduardo Ñustez, director of the potato research group and 'father' of this potato variety, told SciDev.Net that it is now the main variety cultivated in Colombia.

 

Link to abstract in Ecological Applications

 

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Source: ciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.49  Zinc switches found in plants

 

Wageningen, The Netherlands

3 Jun 2010

Geneticists have discovered two gene switches in plants which enable better zinc intake. This paves the way for plant breeders to reduce malnutrition.

 

An international research team, comprising VENI laureate Ana Assunção and geneticist Mark Aarts of Wageningen UR, has discovered two gene switches which regulate the zinc intake in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Zinc is an essential nutrient for plants and animals. A shortage of zinc causes some plants to increase their intake capacity, in a hitherto unknown way. Aarts and his colleagues found two gene switches, bZIP19 en bZIP23. If both of these stop working, the mouse-ear cress becomes hyper sensitive for zinc shortage. If just one of these works, it has hardly any effect on the plant, as shown by research into mutants of Arabidopsis.

 

Zinc shortage

The two gene switches are also found in edible vegetation. The challenge for the breeders is to find out how to activate them in times of acute zinc shortage so that they would react earlier and absorb more zinc. Many people in developing countries suffer from a shortage of zinc due to often unbalanced diets. By activating the mechanism which enables plants to absorb more zinc, this problem can perhaps be solved. This discovery also leads to possibilities to clean up land contaminated by zinc, postulate the researchers.

 

Their findings have been published on May 18 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7058&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.50  The dilemma of plants fighting infections

 

Plants that are more resistant to disease grow more slowly and are less competitive than susceptible relatives when enemies are rare 

 

Queensland, Australia

3 June 2010

University of Queensland scientists have helped uncover an evolutionary dilemma where plants that develop disease resistance pay a high price for this trait.

 

Dr Sureshkumar Balasubramanian, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, was a lead author on a paper to be published in Nature on June 3 that shows plants which are more resistant to disease grow more slowly and are less competitive than susceptible relatives when enemies are rare.

 

“Disease resistance can incur high costs,” he said.

 

“Especially resistant plants of mouse-ear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) produce fewer and small leaves, and have a competitive disadvantage in the absence of enemies."

 

Dr Balasubramanian said the study found a variant of the ACD6 gene in mouse-ear cress that explained a common phenomenon in plants where one succumbs to disease while its neighbour thrives.

 

“The plants with this variant are able to combat a wide range of enemies, from bacteria and fungi to insects such as aphids,” he said.

 

“But you cannot have the majority of population advocating war even in plant communities.

 

“It is important for the benefit of the community to have a correct balance. If you invest heavily in defence, it surely compromises your growth.”

 

The international collaboration, which included Professor Detlef Weigel, from the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany, said the ACD6 gene functioned as a universal weapon in the fight against predators.

 

“We could show that this gene makes plants resistant against pathogens, but at the same time it slows down the production of leaves and limits the size of leaves, so that these plants are always smaller than those that do not have this variant,” Professor Weigel said.

 

“But as soon as they are being attacked, the plants with the special ACD6 variant have a leg up compared to plants with the standard version.

 

“On the down side, at places or in years where there are few enemies, they are penalised and lose out compared to the larger fellow plants. Smaller size eventually leads to reduced number of seeds and hence to fewer progeny.

 

“Just as in human society, there is no free lunch in nature.”

 

Other collaborators in the study were: Marco Todesco, Sridevi Sureshkumar, Christa Lanz, and Roosa Laitinen from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany; Tina Hu, Yu Huang and Magnus Nordborg from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Brian Traw, Matt Horton, Joy Bergelson and Justin Borevitz from the University of Chicago; Petra Epple and Jeff Dangl from the University of North Carolina; Christine Kuhns and Volker Lipka from the University of Göttingen; Chris Schwartz and Joanne Chory from the Salk Institute in La Jolla.

 

Link to the press release from the Max Plank Institute

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=7040&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.51  An R2R3 MYB transcription factor associated with regulation of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in Rosaceae

 

BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:50

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/10/50

 

Kui Lin-Wang1, Karen Bolitho1, Karryn Grafton1, Anne Kortstee2, Sakuntala Karunairetnam1, Tony K McGhie3,

Richard V Espley1, Roger P Hellens1, Andrew C Allan1*

 

Abstract

Background: The control of plant anthocyanin accumulation is via transcriptional regulation of the genes encoding the biosynthetic enzymes. A key activator appears to be an R2R3 MYB transcription factor. In apple fruit, skin anthocyanin levels are controlled by a gene called MYBA or MYB1, while the gene determining fruit flesh and foliage anthocyanin has been termed MYB10. In order to further understand tissue-specific anthocyanin regulation we have isolated orthologous MYB genes from all the commercially important rosaceous species.

 

Results: We use gene specific primers to show that the three MYB activators of apple anthocyanin (MYB10/MYB1/MYBA) are likely alleles of each other. MYB transcription factors, with high sequence identity to the apple gene were isolated from across the rosaceous family (e.g. apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, raspberries, rose, strawberry). Key identifying amino acid residues were found in both the DNA-binding and C-terminal domains of these MYBs. The expression of these MYB10 genes correlates with fruit and flower anthocyanin levels. Their function was tested in tobacco and strawberry. In tobacco, these MYBs were shown to induce the anthocyanin pathway when co-expressed with bHLHs, while over-expression of strawberry and apple genes in the crop of origin elevates anthocyanins.

 

Conclusions: This family-wide study of rosaceous R2R3 MYBs provides insight into the evolution of this plant trait. It has implications for the development of new coloured fruit and flowers, as well as aiding the understanding of temporal-spatial colour change.

 

Contributed by Susan K. Brown

Dept. Horticultural Sciences 

Cornell University

skb3@cornell.edu

 

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1.52  Gibberellic acid insensitive mRNA transport in both directions between stock and scion in Malus

 

Tree Genetics & Genomes

DOI 10.1007/s11295-010-0309-7

Haiyan Xu &Wenna Zhang & Maofu Li & Takeo Harada &

Zhenhai Han & Tianzhong Li

 

Received: 30 December 2009 / Revised: 4 May 2010 / Accepted: 13 May 2010

# Springer-Verlag 2010

 

Abstract The sieve tube in higher plants functions as infrastructure for long-distance transport of nutrients, photoassimilates, and growth regulators including hormones. Recently, it was revealed that some protein and RNAmolecules also function as movable growth regulators in the sieve tube. In the case of themRNAof gibberellic acid insensitive (GAI), the transport evidence was obtained through identification of the overproduced transgene transcript. In this work, we investigated the transport of apple (Malus x domestica cv. Fuji and Malus xiaojinensis) endogenous GAI mRNA by grafting experiments. Each GAI mRNA of scion and stock plants was detected in the graft partners as from 5 days after grafting, indicating that the GAI mRNA moves in both upward and downward directions via the graft union.

 

Keywords Grafting . GAI .mRNA transport . Phloem .Apple . Malus

 

Contributed by Susan K. Brown

Dept. Horticultural Sciences

Cornell University

skb3@cornell.edu

 

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1.53  Practical applications of manipulating plant architecture by regulating gibberellin metabolism

 

J Plant Growth Regul (2010) 29:249–256

DOI 10.1007/s00344-009-9126-3

 

Anjanabha Bhattacharya • Sofia Kourmpetli •

Michael R. Davey

Received: 18 August 2009 / Accepted: 9 November 2009 / Published online: 11 December 2009

_ Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

 

Abstract The international trade in floriculture is estimated to be worth about US$150 billion, with the global demand for ornamentals steadily increasing. Consumer choice is influenced by factors such as plant architecture and flower colour. Conventional breeding has been responsible for the introduction of novel traits into ornamental plants and has played an important role in the development of new cultivars. However, a restricted gene pool and failure of distant crosses have led to the exploitation of somatic cell techniques, particularly genetic transformation, to generate plants with desirable traits. Gibberellins (GAs) are endogenous plant hormones that control key aspects of growth and development. Chemical growth regulators that modify GA biosynthesis are used extensively in horticulture to control plant stature, increasing production costs, manpower, and environmental risks. An alternative strategy involves genetic manipulation of GA metabolism to induce phenotypic changes, particularly alteration of stature. Because ornamentals are not used for human consumption, genetic manipulation approaches with these plants may be more acceptable in the immediate future to the general public, in certain parts of the world, than genetically manipulated food crops.

 

Keywords Gibberellins (GA)  GA oxidase genes  Agrobacterium-mediated transformation

 

Contributed by Susan K. Brown

Dept. Horticultural Sciences

Cornell University

skb3@cornell.edu

 

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1.54  Positional cloning of cold tolerance trait in rice

 

Rice yields are low in areas of low temperature. Previous studies have revealed that cold-induced male sterility (CIMS) often occur during the booting stage. A follow-up study was conducted by Koji Saito of National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region together with other scientists to further map the location of cold tolerance trait (Ctb1). They conducted a map-based cloning of Ctb1 which is composed of two genes that code for an F-box protein and a ser/thr protein kinase.

 

The F-box protein was usually expressed in young panicles, while the ser/thr protein kinase gene was evident in the leaves and immature panicles. These two genes were cloned from a cold-tolerant variety, and introduced into a cold-sensitive variety, and a cold-sensitive line. The cold tolerance of the clones exposed to low temperature was measured by the degree of spikelet fertility. The findings proved that F-box gene is responsible for cold tolerance. Cold tolerance correlate with longer anther, and the transgenic plants had greater anther length compared to unmodified controls. The F-box protein interacts with Skp1, a subunit of E3 ubiquitin ligase, which may imply a relationship between ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and cold tolerance at the booting stage.

 

Visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2010.04.004 to read the abstract.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 4 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.55  Expression of coffee carotenoid genes examined

 

Roasted coffee holds an intricate collection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) responsible for the characteristic taste and smell of brewed coffee. The strong aroma component of coffee like beta-damascenone has been attributed as derived from carotenoid precursors. To further analyze the probable relationship of carotenoids and coffee aroma profiles, Andrew Simkin of Centre de Recherche Nestlé and colleagues measured the carotenoid content of developing coffee grain.

 

Results of their study verify that the presence of lutein in the grain, and that the underdeveloped coffee grain has significant amounts of beta and alpha carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin. Complimentary quantitative gene expression analysis also elucidated that all carotenoid biosynthetic genes studied are expressed in the grain, and that the transcript levels are gene and stage dependent. As the grain approaches ripening, the carotenoid levels decrease as well as the transcript levels. Thus, the highest transcript levels were found at the green-yellow stages, the same period when there is potentially maximum carotenoid synthesis.

 

Read the abstract of this study at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2010.02.007.

 

From Crop Biotech Update 11 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.56  University of Kentucky College of Agriculture research studies shaping the plant genome

 

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

29 June 2010

For the better part of eight years, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researcher Seth DeBolt has wanted to focus study efforts toward how much duplications and deletions in the plant genome influence natural variation. His recent discoveries on this subject suggest the answer is ‘a lot’ and could have broad implications on crop science, evolutionary biology and genome evolution.

 

“A. thaliana is the model plant, and plant biologists worldwide grow it to better understand plant growth and development at a molecular level,” said DeBolt, assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture. “With this experiment, I was trying to understand what influences natural variation. I’ve always been curious about the genomic differences between the plants I may be studying in my lab due to my particular experimental conditions and the force and selection that I impose, and what I found was surprising.”

 

DeBolt said A. thaliana is an annual plant that grows and regenerates very quickly, in about six weeks. It is a weed that’s often found growing between cracks in pavement during spring, and it produces an enormous amount of seed.

 

“The seeds disperse around this, quite often, unpleasant environment, and so small changes in the genome structure may allow natural variations that can give the plant an adaptive advantage,” he said.

 

DeBolt started growing A. thaliana plants at three different temperatures and sprayed an alterative lineage with salicylic acid—a hormone plants use for defense— while imposing a reference temperature and spray regime for each treatment.

 

“Every generation, from a tray of plants, I’d select the one with the most seed and regrow that plant,” he explained. “I essentially applied force and selection for five generations derived from a single parent seed.”

 

For each of the five lineages, DeBolt used three completely random sibling plants and compared them to siblings from the reference genome lineage.

 

“I wanted to know if there were subtle differences because of copy number variation that were stably incorporated into a lineage, and what I found was that there is an incredible amount of change,” he said. “In one instance, more than 400 genes were different and, to me that suggests that plants are probably prolific gene duplicators and deleters. So, they can manage copy number variation in a population.”

 

Gene copy number variation refers to the number of copies of a specific gene or genetic segment in the genetic code that vary between two individuals in a population.

 

“So overall, does copy number variation influence growth potential, flowering potential, disease resistance and so on?” DeBolt said. “We don’t know that yet, but this study lays the groundwork for further research that could answer those questions. We want to see if this variation phenomenon is linked to adaptation.”

 

He added that although the experiment was very simple, it shows that stable incorporation of gene copy number variation is happening a lot faster than originally thought.

“It’s the way robustness is built into a population, that it has enough variation to adapt to change,” he said. “We have to be cautious in that this is only one step showing adaption, but I think it shows a surprising result.”

 

Debolt’s lab is funded by the National Science Foundation and a paper explaining his recent work will appear in the Journal of Genome Biology and Evolution. It’s titled Copy Number Variation Shapes Genome Diversity in Arabidopsis Over Immediate Family Generational Scales.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8181&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.57  Psychedelic genes redundantly regulate carbohydrate export in maize

 

Carbohydrate partitioning plays an important role in the growth and development of the whole plant, however, the control of this process is not widely studied. This led Thomas L. Slewinski and David M. Braun of Pennsylvania State University to identify the genes regulating the carbohydrate partitioning by isolating mutants that exhibit imperfect translocation of carbon from leaves.

 

The mutant they used in this investigation is the psychedelic(psc) maize, which exhibits irregular carbohydrate partitioning. Psc mutants are characterized by discoloration on the leaves, wherein some of the portions are colored green, while the other parts are yellowish. The differently-colored parts are bounded by large veins, which may suggest that the translocation of a mobile compound through the veins may affect the characteristics of the tissues. Genetic analyses with similar carbohydrate accumulating maize mutants imply that the wild-type Psc genes act independently of previously identified genetic pathways. Hence, the study revealed two previously unidentified genes that redundantly function for carbohydrate export in maize.

 

Read the abstract at http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/185/1/221?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=maize&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=185&issue=

1&resourcetype=HWCIT.

 

From Crop Biotech Update 18 June 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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2  PUBLICATIONS

 

2.01  Climate Change and Crop Production

 

CABI Climate Change Series

Edited by M P Reynolds, CIMMYT, Mexico

ISBN: 978 1 84593 633 4

May 2010 / c.320 pages / Hardback / 244x172 mm / 50 illustrations

£85/US$160/€120

Subject Classification: TVB, RNPG, TVK

Territorial Market Rights: World

 

Description:

Current trends in population growth suggest that global food production is unlikely to satisfy future demand under predicted climate change scenarios unless rates of crop improvement are accelerated. In order to maintain food security in the face of these challenges, a holistic approach that includes stress-tolerant germplasm, sustainable crop and natural resource management, and sound policy interventions will be needed.

 

The first volume in the CABI Climate Change Series, this book will provide an overview of the essential disciplines required for sustainable crop production in unpredictable environments. Chapters include discussions of adapting to biotic and abiotic stresses, sustainable and resource-conserving technologies and new tools for enhancing crop adaptation.

 

Examples of successful applications as well as future prospects of how each discipline can be expected to evolve over the next 30 years are also presented.

 

Audience:

Researchers and students in crop and environmental science as well as policy makers.

 

Contributed by Rodomiro Ortiz

rodomiroortiz@gmail.com

 

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2.02  Climate Change and Agriculture - Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

 

June 2010

This report examines the economic and policy issues related to the impacts of climate change on agriculture and adaptation responses and to the mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture.

 

Now available from the Online Bookshop of OECD Publishing 

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=8084&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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4.  GRANTS AND AWARDS

 

4.01  2011 Jeanie Borlaug Laube WIT Award: Call for Applications

 

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is pleased to announce the call for applications for the second annual Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Award for early career women researchers.

 

This award, established in 2010, provides professional development opportunities for women working in wheat during the early stages of their career. The award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, mentor to many, and daughter of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. Jeanie Borlaug Laube has served as Chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative since October 2009.

 

Selection criteria:

 

·         The award is made only to women

·         There is no age limit, but the award is intended for early career scientists     ranging from advanced undergraduates to recent PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows. Priority is given to women at the pre-professoriate level.

·         Strength of scientific abstract submitted to the BGRI annual technical workshop

·         Demonstrated commitment to and passion for agricultural development

·         Leadership potential

·         Quality of written statement of intent

·         1 letter of recommendation from a supervisor, professor, or mentor that speaks to the applicant’s leadership potential

 

Application Deadline:  October 1, 2010

 

Up to three awards may be granted in a given year. However, the number of awards granted may be fewer in number depending on the quality of applications received.

 

Recipients of the Jeanie Borlaug Laube WIT award are invited to the annual BGRI technical workshop, to be held in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, in June 2011. The exact amount of the award will vary with demonstrated need, but is intended to help cover costs associated with attending the BGRI workshop, including economy airfare, hotel, registration fees, and a standard per diem for meals and other incidentals. Award recipients are also eligible to attend a training program at CIMMYT in Obregon, Mexico, in 2011, along with the 2010 Jeanie Borlaug WIT Award recipients.

 

To apply, please complete the application below and submit along with a letter of recommendation.

 

Applications must be received by OCTOBER 1, 2010.

 

Electronic submissions may be sent to: WIT@globalrust.org

 

Applications may be sent by mail to:

Jeanie Borlaug Laube WIT Award

c/o Ronnie Coffman, Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project

Cornell University

252 Emerson Hall

Ithaca, NY 14851 USA

 

For an application and for any questions, please contact:

Sarah Nell Davidson

Associate Director

Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project

31A Warren Hall

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

e-mail: snd2@cornell.edu

t: +1 607 255 1064

m: +1 607 279 5577

f: +1 607 255 1005

 

Please address general application questions to snd2@cornell.edu

 

Contributed by Jennifer M. Nelson

Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project

jmn99@cornell.edu

 

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4.02  Women in Triticum (WIT) Mentor Award: call for nominations

 

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the first annual Women in Triticum (WIT) Mentor Award.

 

This award, established in 2010 and to be first awarded in 2011, recognizes mentors of both genders who have proven to be excellent mentors of women working in Triticum and its nearest relatives.

 

Recipients of the WIT Mentor award will receive a cash honorarium of $3,000 USD as well as the honor of organizing a session at the subsequent year’s BGRI technical workshop. 

 

Selection criteria:

  • Men and women mentors are eligible.
  • Demonstrated commitment to increasing gender parity in agriculture as reflected in the nomination letter.
  • Demonstrated excellence in mentoring of women working in Triticum.
  • Demonstrated commitment to scientific outputs that contribute to healthy families around the world as reflected in the nomination letter.

 

Deadline: Nominations must be received by October 1, 2010

 

No more than one award will be granted in a given year.   To submit a nomination for the Women in Triticum (WIT) Mentor Award, please submit a letter that, in 500 words or less, that illustrates why your nominee meets the stated selection criteria and is a compelling recipient of the award.

 

Electronic submissions may be sent prior to October 1, 2010 to: WIT@globalrust.org 

Applications may be sent by mail to: 

WIT Mentor Award

c/o Ronnie Coffman, Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project

Cornell University

252 Emerson Hall

Ithaca, NY 14851 USA

 

Please include information on the nominator as well as the nominee:

Part I.  Nominator Information

Full Name:

Nationality:

Email address:

Address:

Current Institutional affiliation:

Gender (male or female):

Highest degree earned:

Date that your highest degree was earned:

Subject area of highest degree earned:

 

Part II.  Nominee Information

Full Name:

Nationality:

Email address:

Address:

Current Institutional affiliation:

Gender (male or female):

Highest degree earned:

Subject area of highest degree earned:

 

Contributed by Jennifer M. Nelson

Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project

jmn99@cornell.edu

 

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4.03  Graduate Assistantship, offered in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University

 

The Monsanto Graduate Assistantship, offered in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University, supports outstanding students pursuing a doctoral degree in applied plant breeding and genetic improvement of crops. In addition, Monsanto supports one assistantship in cotton production.

 

A total of 14 assistantships—each providing a $24,000 annual salary, individual health insurance, and funds for all required fees and tuition—will be awarded to both U.S. and international students.

 

Requirements:

• Earn a minimum 3.5 grade point average in all master’s level graduate course work

• Demonstrate an aptitude for research

• Provide three letters of recommendation from professors or employers with knowledge of applicants research and academic abilities

• Successfully complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

• Successfully meet all other requirements for admission to graduate studies at Texas A&M University

 

Application Procedure:

Applicants should follow all of the guidelines and procedures to apply for graduate studies in a department offering a plant breeding degree at Texas A&M University at College Station. On-line application to graduate studies at Texas A&M University can be found at http://admissions.tamu.edu.

Additional items to be provided by the applicant are:

• A statement providing sufficient background information to demonstrate the student’s aptitude to conduct plant breeding or cotton production research

• Identification of the area of plant breeding research to be

pursued and its importance to the agricultural industry

• A one- to two-page letter of support from the department sponsor or major professor which includes a dissertation title and objectives

 

Students applying to the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences must send these additional items to the attention of Wayne Smith, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, 2474 Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2474, cwsmith@tamu.edu

 

Students applying to the Department of Horticultural Sciences must send the additional items to the attention of David Byrne, Department of Horticultural Sciences, 2133 Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2133 (d-byrne@tamu.edu).

 

Selection Procedure:

Applications will be reviewed by an interdepartmental committee that includes faculty members from the departments of Horticultural Sciences, Soil and Crop Sciences, Entomology, and Plant Pathology and Microbiology, along with the associate dean for graduate programs.

 

Preference will be given first to candidates who have earned a master of science degree outside Texas A&M. Second preference will be given to those who have earned a master of science degree from the university but earned an undergraduate degree elsewhere. Candidates who have earned both bachelor and master of science degrees from the university are not eligible for this assistantship.

 

Additional Information:

The award is for a maximum of three years plus one academic semester. Students must maintain satisfactory research progress and meet all other Texas A&M University enrollment requirements.

 

Contributed by C. Wayne Smith

Professor and Associate Head

Department of Soil and Crop Sciences

Texas A&M University

cwsmith@tamu.edu

 

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4.04  Call for Proposals 2010 under the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

 

The Call for Proposals 2010 under the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which will invest more than USD 10 million in projects globally, is now opened for its biennial cycle 2010-2011.

 

The thematic focus of the Call is: helping ensure sustainable food security by assisting farmers to adapt to climate change through a targeted set of high impact activities on the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

 

Any governmental or non-governmental organization, including genebanks and research institutions, farmers and farmers' organizations and regional and international organizations, based in countries that are Contracting Parties eligible for funding, may apply for grants until 8 September 2010, 24:00 Rome time. The list of eligible Contracting Parties has been prepared based on a complete list of developing countries derived from the most recent World Bank's  classification of economies, as requested by the Governing Body of the Treaty at its Third Session.

 

Applications must be sent according to the Pre-proposal Form and must be sent through the National Focal Points of the Treaty or through the Permanent Representatives to FAO.

 

A Helpdesk function will be provided to applicants upon request. It will give support in English, French and Spanish through e-mails, and if possible, in Arabic for oral inquiries.

 

More information on the Call for Proposals and its annexes including, eligibility criteria, selection criteria and additional requirements; list of eligible Contracting Parties; list of National Focal Points and Permanent Representatives to FAO; Pre-proposals Forms and information on the procedures following the submission of pre-proposals is available at the Treaty's webpage www.planttreaty.org

 

For inquiries on the Call please contact the Treaty Secretariat at Treaty-Fund@fao.org or by phone at +39 06570 53554

 

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6. MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

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

 

North Carolina State University offering Plant Breeding Methods (HS 541) in a distance education version

 

North Carolina State University offering HS 541 Plant Breeding Methods, in a distance education version this fall.  The instructor is Todd Wehner (todd_wehner@ncsu.edu).

 

CS, HS 541-section 601 DE; Plant Breeding Methods; 3 credits; lecture only

 

Prerequisites:  statistics and genetics courses

 

This is an introductory Plant Breeding course for first year graduate students and advanced undergraduate students.  The emphasis is on traditional methods of developing improved cultivars of cross-pollinated, self-pollinated, and asexually-propagated crops, and the genetic principles on which breeding methods are based.  The purpose of this course is to provide the student a general background in all areas of plant breeding.  The goal is to develop students (successfully completing this course) who are knowledgeable in all of the areas of plant breeding, and to have sufficient understanding to be able to master the advanced courses in plant breeding at NC State and other universities.

 

Overview of plant breeding methods for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students.  Covers germplasm resources, pollen control, measurement of genetic variances, and heterosis.  Special topics include genotype-environment interaction, index selection, stress resistance, polyploidy, and mutation breeding.  In-depth coverage on methods for breeding cross-pollinated, self-pollinated and asexually-propagated crops.  Prepares students for advanced study in CS,HS 719 (germplasm and biogeography), 720 (molecular genetics), 745 (quantitative genetics), 746 (advanced breeding), 748 (pest resistance, now PP590), 860 (breeding lab), and 861 (breeding lab).

 

For more information on HS 541 Plant Breeding Methods, see:

http://distance.ncsu.edu/courses/fall-courses/HS.php

 

For more information on distance education at NC State University, see:

http://distance.ncsu.edu/

 

For more information on Todd Wehner, see:

http://cucurbitbreeding.ncsu.edu/

 

Dr. Todd C. Wehner

Professor and Cucurbit Breeder

Department of Horticultural Science

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

919-515-5363; 919-515-2505 (fax)

todd_wehner@ncsu.edu 

cucurbitbreeding.ncsu.edu (web)

 

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

 

We turn your most promising research personnel into highly competent breeders.

 

Apply now for Class III of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy.  Space is limited!       A number of applicants have already been selected for this premier training program which is targeted toward working professionals and provides in-depth postgraduate education in plant breeding.  The program, which is not crop specific, teaches the basics of plant breeding, genetics, and statistics through a balance of classroom instruction, workshops, and site visits to plant breeding programs.

 

“The Academy training gave me the knowledge and skills to advance my plant breeding career. Eighteen months after my graduation I received a significant promotion within my company.”

Dan Gardner, Dairyland Seed Co., Inc.

 

To apply now visit http://pba.ucdavis.edu/ or contact Joy Patterson at jpatterson@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-4414

 

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Online Graduate Program in Seed Technology & Business

 

Iowa State University

http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=48323218&msgid=597705&act=BDP

 

The Iowa State University On-line Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business develops potential into managerial leadership.

 

Seed industry professionals face ever-increasing challenges. The Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business (STB) at Iowa State University provides a unique opportunity for seed professionals to grow by gaining a better understanding of the science, technology, and management that is key to the seed industry.

 

The STB program offers a Masters of Science degree as well as graduate certificates in Seed Science and Technology and in Seed Business Management. Science and technology curriculum includes courses in crop improvement, seed pathology, physiology, production, conditioning, and quality. Business topics include accounting, finance, strategy, planning, management information systems, and marketing and supply chain management--including a unique new course in seed trade, policy, and regulation.

 

Contact us today for more information about how you can apply.

Paul Christensen, Seed Technology and Business Program Manager Ph.

515-294-8745, seedgrad@iastate.edu

 

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On-Line Crop Breeding Courses Offered by UNL's Department of Agronomy & Horticulture

 

Course Questions: Contact Cathy Dickinson at 402-472-1730 or cdickinson2@unl.edu

 

Payment Options: Credit Cards ONLY accepted on-line, for other payment arrangements contact Cathy Dickinson at 402-472-1730 or cdickinson2@unl.edu

 

Registration Questions: CARI Registration Services 800-328-2851 or 402-472-1772, M-F 8:30a-4:30p CST

 

International Registrants: May register on-line, if you need to contact us: We are available M-F 8:30a-4:30p US CST by Skype Contact ID: cari.registration (free but must have free software installed and computer microphone) or by calling 01-402-472-1772.

 

 

Available Courses - Fall 2010/Spring 2011

·         Self-Pollinated Crop Breeding, Aug. 24 - Sept. 23, 2010 more info

·         Germplasm & Genes, Sept. 28 - Nov. 2, 2010 more info

·         Cross-Pollinated Crop Breeding, Nov. 4 - Dec. 9, 2010 more info

·         Advanced Plant Breeding Topics, Feb. 1 - Mar. 3, 2011 

 

Registration Options

Any 1 Course $150.00

Any 2 Courses $275.00

Any 3 Courses $400.00 (price includes course notebook)

All 4 Courses $500.00 (price includes course notebook)

 

For additional information see http://go.unl.edu/cropbreeding

 

Contributed by Cathy L Dickinson

cdickinson2@unlnotes.unl.edu

 

P. Stephen Baenziger

pstephen.baenziger@gmail.com

 

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8-9 July 2010. Select Biosciences 3rd annual AgriGenomics World Congress, Brussells, Belgium.

 AgriGenomics World Congress

 

2-5 August 2010. 10th International Conference on Grapevine Breeding and Genetics, Geneva, New York, USA.

 

Visit our conference web site

http://www.grapebreeding2010.com/ to register and submit abstracts.

 

 2 August – 1 October 2010. Hands-on training program, Wheat Improvement and Pathology, CIMMYT El Batán & Toluca, Mexico

Note: Application deadline was May 28th, 2010

For more details contact: Petr Kosina (p.kosina@cgiar.org)

 

3 August 2010 8:00AM to 6:00 PM. 2010 ASHS Intellectual Property Symposium - Current Issues and Applications for Intellectual Property of Horticultural Plant Cultivars, Palm Desert, CA, USA.

To learn more, go to:

http://www.ashs.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=749:full-day-symposium-on-intellectual-property-rights-scheduled&catid=89:technical-program&Itemid=150

 

To register for the ASHS IP Symposium (or become an ASHS member), you can do so at http://www.ashs.org

 

15-17 August 2010. 4th Annual Plant Breeding Meeting, Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (PBCC), and the new National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) (an initiative of the PBCC), Pioneer Hi-Bred's headquarters in Johnston, Iowa. We are pleased to announce that registration is now open. http://2010plantbreedingmeeting.eventbrite.com/ .  This site also provides information on the meeting agenda, optional tours, lodging, meeting logistics, and poster presentations.  All meeting participants must register prior to the deadline of Monday, August 2, as we will not be able to accommodate on-site registrations.

 

Hotel reservation deadline at group rate is July 31st; see http://2010plantbreedingmeeting.eventbrite.com/ for more information, including the program agenda and featured speakers.

 

 Call for nominations for NAPB Secretary, NAPB Treasurer, and PBCC Vice Chair: please forward names to Stephen Baenziger at pbaenziger1@unl.edu.  The NAPB Secretary position is newly elected each year as the first seat in an annual progression through Vice Chair, Chair, (NAPB Officers) and Past Chair (PBCC Officer).  NAPB Treasurer and PBCC Vice Chair are newly created, elected positions in the revised NAPB/PBCC organizational structure. 

 

http://cuke.hort.ncsu.edu/gpb/meetings/pbccmeeting2010.html

 

29 August – 1 September 2010. Molecular Plant Breeding: An International Short Course on Practical Applications of Molecular Tools for Plant Breeding. Michigan State University - East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

http://www.worldtap.msu.edu/home/page/70

 

30 August – 1 September 2010. 14th EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Capsicum & Eggplant, Valencia, Spain.

http://www.comav.upv.es/capsicumeggplant/

 

5-9 September 2010. Third International Conference on Plant Molecular Breeding, Beijing, China

·         Fellowship opportunities open to: participants from developing countries in Africa and Asia

·         Target: Plant scientists with interest and/or background in molecular breeding

·         More

 

September 2010. Class III of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy, UC Davis.

Apply now for Class III of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy.  Space is limited!  For detailed information and to apply, visit http://pba.ucdavis.edu/  or                                                       contact Joy Patterson at jpatterson@ucdavis.edu , ph 530-752-4414.

 

14-18 September 2010. 14th International Biotechnology Symposium, Rimini, Italy

·         Early application deadline (for reduced fees): 31 May 2010

·         Target: Biotechnology professionals from different scientific disciplines

·         More

 

(NEW) 22-24 September 2010. International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean – “Rice Challenges for XXI Century", CIAT, Cali, Colombia.

 

On behalf of the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice (FLAR), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Rice Growers Federation of Colombia (FEDEARROZ) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is an honor to invite you to the XI International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held between 22 and 24 of September 2010, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cali, Colombia.

 

This Conference has a long history beginning in 1976 when CIAT, with support from IRRI, organized a germplasm exchange network called INGER-LAC. This network was the vehicle for the expansion of the Green Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean. From 1995 to 2001, FLAR and its partners were responsible for the maintenance of this network, whose materials have been transformed in hundreds of varieties that increased by nearly two tons per hectare the regional rice production.

 

The "International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean," was created in parallel with the INGER-LAC network as part of this regional cooperation initiative. It was first held in August 1976 and was repeated ten times, becoming a key event for scientific and technical exchange in the continent. The tenth and last conference, organized by FLAR, was held in 1997 in Acarigua, Venezuela.

 

To celebrate the 15 years of FLAR and the 50th anniversary of the founding of IRRI, and with strong support from FEDEARROZ and CIAT in Colombia, it was decided to organize this XI International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean. The aim of this new edition is to reinstall this space of scientific update, showing the progress made in the region and highlighting the strategic position it has in the future supply of rice, not only at continental level but also with the ever-increasing global demand.

 

The program will be based on invited speakers of regional and international prestige, who will address the "Rice Challenges for XXI Century", among which are: a) Innovation and development for rice; b) Breeding and Biotechnology - expectations and realities c) Production, markets and trends.

 

The invitation is open to scientists, technicians and producers involved with research, extension and production. Your attendance will be essential for this event to become a true promoter of Latin American rice sector. We wait for you in Cali.

 

Organizing committee

     FLAR: Gonzalo Zorrilla, Pedro A. Diaz-Hartz, Valmir Meneses, Eduardo Rojas

     CIAT: Joe Tohme, Cesar Martinez

     FEDEARROZ: Nestor Gutierrez, Miguel Diago

     IRRI: Robert Zeigler

 

Contributed by Ximena Escobar

CIAT-FLAR

x.escobar@CGIAR.ORG

 

26 – 29 September 2010. 7th International Phytotechnology Society: Phytotecnologies in the 21st Century: Challenges after Copenhagen 2009. Remediation – Energy – Health – Sustainability, the University of Parma, Italy.

http://www.societabotanicaitaliana.it/detail.asp?idn=665&IDSezione=2

 

27 September – 1 October 2010. 5th World Cowpea Conference: Improving livelihoods in the cowpea value chain through advancement in science. Dakar, Senegal. http://cowpea2010.iita.org/

 

1-19 November 2010. Plant genetic resources and seeds: policies, conservation and use. MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai (first part), and in Jeypur, Orissa (second part).

http://www.cdi.wur.nl/NR/rdonlyres/9AA84E7C-5DA8-45E3-BCF8-C2D37F3B9058/98683/11_00_PGR_India_web.doc

 

8-12 November 2010. 3rd International Rice Congress (IRC2010), Vietnam National Convention Center, Hanoi, Vietnam.

http://www.ricecongress.com/

 

22-24 November 2010. 10th Gatersleben Research Conference 2010 (GRCX) "Sequence-informed Crop Research", Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, Germany

http://meetings.ipk-gatersleben.de/GRCX/

 

Contributed by Roland Schnee

schnee@ipk-gatersleben.de

 

October 2011. 10th African Crop Science Society Conference 2011, Maputo, Mozambique.

 

More information will be available on ACSS website.

Also, you can contact Dr. Luisa Santos (ACSS Vice- President, Chairman, LOC; luisa@zebra.uem.mz) Eduardo Mondlane University, Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering, P.O. Box  257, Maputo, Mozambique.

 

 

 

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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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