PLANT BREEDING NEWS

 

EDITION 216

31 August 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  Reducing global hunger by half in 2015 still possible, says ICRISAT Director General

1.02  Five things you should know about being a plant breeder

1.03  Drought tolerant crops are critical to increasing food production, says DuPont Executive

1.04  National Association of Plant Breeders is formed in the US

1.05  HarvestPlus to release ‘Iron Beans’ in Rwanda

1.06  MSU develops pest resistant soybean

1.07  Zinc in biofortified wheat helps meet micronutrient requirements in women

1.08  Philippines first to grow Vitamin A-fortified ‘Golden Rice’

1.09  Uganda develops disease resistant rice

1.10  Novel bean varieties reach millions of farmers

1.11  ACCI at University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus produces seven PhD graduates

1.12  Victors over vectors: Improving cassava for Africa

1.13  Leading scientists to debate global food problems in Dundee

1.14  A long history but slow uptake of drought-tolerant crops

1.15  Japan sponsors rice research hub in East Africa

1.16  Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics partners with Kazakhstan Government to deliver improved varieties of wheat and barley

1.17  India - Seed Bill 2010 provides for compulsory registration of kinds or varieties of seeds; Farmers are exempted

1.18  New GEAC role clouds future of GM crops

1.19  Soybeans to go non-GM

1.20  Pavlovsk seed bank faces destruction

1.21  Montana State University researchers working on spring wheat cultivars resistant to orange wheat blossom midge

1.22  Wheat variety blends may reduce risk - Select for disease-resistance, maturity levels

1.23  Plant scientists move closer to making any crop drought-tolerant

1.24  New varieties of drought-tolerant maize could generate up to US$1.5 billion for African farmers, consumers

1.25  Researcher measures leaf transpiration efficiency of drought-resistant maize lines

1.26  Wheat disease resistance-like gene stimulates susceptibility to necrotrophic pathogens

1.27  Cadmium tolerance and accumulation in wheat differ in ploidy and genome at seedling stage

1.28  Para que servem os estudos citogenéticos no melhoramento de trigo

1.29  VIB and Ghent University researchers identify key mechanisms of cell division in plants - New technology can be applied to boost crop yields

1.30  Gene discovery could help to boost crop yields

1.31  Genome breakthrough heralds new dawn for agriculture

1.32  Michigan State University  researchers discover novel mechanism protecting plants against freezing

1.33  SolCAP and Illumnia Develop Potato and Tomato Consortiums

1.34  Bioserve develops PCR-based GMO screening tests

1.35  NBPGR commercializes state-of-the-art GMO detection technology

 

2.  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  Changing Diets: What does the Future Hold? - HarvestPlus releases working paper

2.02  Gamma Field Symposia Vol. 47: New Crop Breeding and Mutation now online

2.03  Classifying vegetable genetic resources—A case study with domesticated Capsicum spp

2.04  ACSS online Free-publications (Proceedings  9th ACSS conference, South Africa, 2009)

2.05  New directions in participatory plant breeding for eco-efficient agriculture

 

3.  WEB AND NETWORKING RESOURCES

3.01  Launch of the in-house newsletter of the Integrated Breeding Platform

 

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

 

5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

(None submitted)

 

6.  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

7.  EDITOR'S NOTES

 

 

1 NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES

 

1.01  Reducing global hunger by half in 2015 still possible, says ICRISAT Director General

 

Patantcheru, Andhra Pradesh, India

11 August 2010

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the world’s 1020 million undernourished people by half between now and 2015 is still possible.

 

This was revealed by Dr William D Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) last week during a three-day International Conference on Eliminating Hunger and Poverty: Priorities in Global Agricultural Research and Development Agenda in an Era of Climate Change and Rising Food Prices in Chennai. The seminar was organized to mark the 85th birthday of Dr MS Swaminathan, the acknowledged father of India’s Green Revolution.

 

Dr Dar said that the MDG target can still be attained if the “business as usual” approach is replaced by a new strategy to fight hunger, which is inclusive of poor women and children.

 

This strategy, which ICRISAT coins as IMOD (inclusive market-oriented development), is a dynamic progression of smallholder farmers from a subsistence level towards market-oriented agriculture.

 

Studies of the World Bank and ICRISAT have shown that dryland poverty rates in Asia are declining compared to that of sub-Saharan Africa as emerging Asian urban markets absorb farm produce as opposed to their African counterparts.

 

“ICRISAT recognizes that market benefits are mainly captured by men, so we must be proactive to ensure that that it includes women and children,” Dr Dar said. He suggested that women form groups that could gain access to land similar to the Market Garden cooperatives in West Africa, where women produce vegetables with the help of water conserving drip irrigation.

 

Setting up a five-point agenda for policy makers to bring down the number of malnourished people, Dr Dar called for higher investments in agricultural research and extension; bringing in new players such as the private sector, philanthropic organizations and development investors to invest in agriculture; adopting a country-led bottom-up approach; adding to decision makers information by policy experiments and pilot projects; and fulfilling commitments made to enhance food security.

 

Lauding Dr Swaminthan’s efforts in harnessing science as a tool to alleviate poverty in the world, Dr Dar termed the former as a visionary, eminent policy maker and an inspiring leader who played a pivotal role in bringing ICRISAT to India.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9527&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.02  Five things you should know about being a plant breeder

 

29 August  2010

by kayla craig • the des moines register •

 

1. Comfort is key.

Power suits aren't exactly pivotal when it comes to plant breeding. "Plant breeders spend a great deal of time outdoors and dress for comfort rather than style," John Soper says. "We have to be flexible and work in a variety of conditions - sunshine, rain, insects, dust and temperature extremes."

 

2. Patience is pivotal.

"The plant-breeding process can take years from the time of discovery to creating a new commercial product for some crops," Soper says.

 

3. Organization helps.

"Field researchers are detail-oriented individuals that need to make to make careful observations and keep accurate records to advance the right material," Soper says. "Though we spend a lot of time evaluating plants, we also need to be able to communicate and collaborate across multiple disciplines."

 

4. Opportunities abound.

Plant breeders can focus on a variety of crops and research areas. "Researchers can work on anything from making plants more insect-resistant to disease-resistant to better tolerant of elements such as wind or drought," Soper says.

 

5. Your work matters.

"Plant breeding is a noble profession with a tremendous, global impact," Soper says. "Plant breeders are not only working to feed their families, but also to feed the growing world population."

 

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100829/BUSINESS/8290327/-1/caucus/Five-things-you-should-know-about-being-a-plant-breeder

 

Source: The Des Moines Register via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.03  Drought tolerant crops are critical to increasing food production, says DuPont Executive

 

Scientific solutions to sustainably increase agriculture productivity

 

Woodland, California, USA

4 August 2010

Increasing agriculture productivity to meet growing global demand for food must be accompanied by an intense, innovative effort to enhance the environmental imprint of farming to be sustainable, DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel said today at a DuPont targeted drought research facility here.

 

"We face the daunting challenge of nearly doubling agriculture production to meet the demands of the estimated 9 billion people expected by 2050," said Borel. "Success in this endeavor will require new and sustained levels of innovation, such as improvements in drought tolerance, to increase productivity of the global food supply without increasing the stress upon our natural resources or the environment.

 

"Drought tolerance technologies are part of the next great wave of agricultural innovation that will improve agronomic characteristics of plants so they more efficiently use available resources," said Borel. "They will further empower farmers with better product choices to meet growing demand while reducing their environmental footprint."

 

Many environmental factors can reduce agriculture productivity, but drought is by far the most damaging. In 2009 alone, drought cost farmers $14 billion worldwide. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. corn crop is affected by drought stress at some time during the growing season each year, and just four days of severe drought stress during the peak of summer can cut yields in half.

Woodland is one of two managed stress facilities DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred uses to evaluate crop performance under targeted drought or nutrient stresses. It receives little or no precipitation during the growing season, allowing researchers to control the amount of water applied through precision irrigation.

 

Pioneer has been breeding corn hybrids for drought tolerance for more than 50 years and has more than doubled yields under drought stress over the last three decades. The company leads the industry in corn hybrid choices for performance under drought stress. To further extend its leadership position in drought offerings and performance, Pioneer expects to introduce the first of the next generation drought-tolerant hybrids as early as 2011, pending final stage product performance and ongoing field trials. These products, which were developed with the proprietary Accelerated Yield Technology (AYTTM), are demonstrating on average a greater than 6 percent yield advantage over leading competitive products under drought stress.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9379&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.04  National Association of Plant Breeders is formed in the US

 

On Aug. 15, 2010, the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) inaugurated Dr. Todd Wehner (NCSU) as its first president. Over 190 public and private plant breeders, government representatives and graduate students from across the United States were hosted by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, in Johnston, IA for the 4th Annual Meeting of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (PBCC) in a joint meeting with the NAPB.

 

World Food prize laureate and sorghum breeder, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, from Purdue University opened the meeting speaking on the importance of land grant universities and their mission to provide education and training in agriculture, science and engineering.

 

The 2009 Early Career Scientist Award winner, Dr. Stacy Bonos from Rutgers University, presented her work on pest resistance in turfgrass and biofuels crops. Dr. Yanqi Wu, a forage and turfgrass breeder from Oklahoma State University received the 2010 Early Career Plant Breeder Award.   Dr. James Brewbaker, University of Hawaii received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the 50 years of dedication to breeding corn and sorghum in the tropics. The results of a comprehensive study on the educational requirements for training plant breeders were released. The meeting covered research topics in plant breeding and concluded with a field tour and visit to the USDA Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA.

 

For further information, please contact Allen Van Deynze at 530-754-6444 or visit http://www.plantbreeding.org.

 

The Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee is SCC80, a multi-state project.  It is national in scope but administered by the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, in cooperation with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   The PBCC provides expertise and a forum for discussion, organization, action and leadership on matters affecting long-term U.S. plant breeding capacities, including research and education, and their relevance to current and future national needs. The NAPB represents and advocates for plant breeders in the USA working in the public and private sectors.

 

Contributed by Donna van Dolah

dlvandolah@ucdavis.edu

 

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1.05  HarvestPlus to release ‘Iron Beans’ in Rwanda

 

HarvestPlus is developing new varieties of beans with increased iron content. or 'iron beans'. It is estimated that 56% of preschool children and 33% of women in Rwanda are experiencing anemia, a disease often brought about by deficiency in iron. The 'iron beans' is expected to be released this year. HarvestPlus aims to feed 3.1 million people with biofortified beans after 10 years of release. Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) are two of the other institutions that partnered with HarvestPlus to develop 'iron beans'.

 

For more information, visit http://www.harvestplus.org/content/beans-better-health.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 6 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.06  MSU develops pest resistant soybean

 

Two lines of soybean resistant to aphids have been developed by a team of scientists led by Dechun Wang of Michigan State University. Wang tested some 2,000 strains of soybeans against aphids to isolate four with different resistant genes. From those, he developed germplasm, or seeds to breed into varieties suited to Michigan's shorter growing season.

 

"The final goal would be to have one variety that has all those resistant genes," said Wang. This would maximize protection against different biotypes of aphids and perhaps other pests such as Japanese beetle. Soybean aphids are known to cause a sooty black mold on plants and can transmit the virus widely and fast.

 

According to the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Chairperson James Kells, most of the major soybean genetics companies have already licensed Wang's germplasm because of the high level of resistance to soybean aphids.

 

See the orginal article at http://news.msu.edu/story/8137/

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 6 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.07  Zinc in biofortified wheat helps meet micronutrient requirements in women

 

Just 300 grams of wheat flour can provide two-thirds of the physiological zinc requirements of adult women. This was the major finding of a feeding study that showed wheat bred for high zinc content raises the intake of this vital micronutrient. The study The quantity of zinc absorbed from wheat in adult women is enhanced by biofortification was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

 

Through a strategy called biofortification, zinc is being bred into wheat. This is a viable alternative to help solve zinc deficiency which kills more than 400,000 children annually and stunts millions more. A team of researchers with the HarvestPlus Challenge Program fed a group of Mexican women in a controlled feeding trial with tortillas made from zinc-biofortified wheat flour. The team found substantially higher intake of bioavailable zinc from the zinc-biofortified wheat.

 

More long term feeding trials will be conducted in regions where farmers will grow zinc-biofortified wheat to account for environmental conditions that may affect the zinc content of wheat. "We also need to determine the appropriateness of existing models for determining zinc absorption at different levels of phytate intake for children, because most studies so far have focused on adults," says Erick Boy, head of nutrition in HarvestPlus. "Children, as you know, are most vulnerable to micronutrient malnutrition."

 

See the CGIAR release at http://www.cgiar.org/monthlystory/august_4_2010.html

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 13 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.08  Philippines first to grow Vitamin A-fortified ‘Golden Rice’

 

By MARVYN N. BENANING

24 August 2010

The Philippines will be the first to grow “Golden Rice,” the only rice variety to be fortified with Vitamin A to prop up the immune system and combat blindness, particularly among children.

 

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects 40 percent of Filipino children aged between six months and five-years old, according to the 2003 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

 

Worse, between one and five lactating mothers also suffer from VAD, which translates into a bigger problem for their infants.

 

A total of 90 million children in Southeast Asia suffer from VAD, the highest number in the world.

 

What compounds the problem is that traditional rice varieties do not have Vitamin A.

 

VAD places sufferers at risk of infections, and many of them are condemned to suffer from night blindness.

 

"Vitamin A deficiency can be reduced by eating more food that are naturally high in vitamin A or beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A found in plants), by eating fortified processed foods that have had these micronutrients added to them and by taking vitamin A supplements," health officials said.

 

VAD is severe in areas where nutritious food is scarce, not available or simply just too expensive for poor people.

 

To counteract he problem, researchers ventured into fortifying rice with Vitamin A, with the first variety developed, Golden Rice, getting the nod of government for testing and possible commercialization in five years.

 

"Golden Rice is a new kind of rice that is being developed to fight vitamin A deficiency. Its grain contains beneficial amounts of beta-carotene, which is a nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables such as papaya and carrots, gives Golden Rice its orange-yellow color, and; is used by the human body to make vitamin A," proponents said.

 

The impetus for the development of Golden Rice came from Prof. Ingo Potrykus, then of the Institute for Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and Dr. Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg in Germany.

 

They nurtured the theory that to combat VAD, rice grains can be coaxed into producing beta-carotene.

 

By 1999, they achieved proof of concept that this could be done, and dubbed the new rice “Golden Rice.”

 

Potrykus and Beyer thought of using the scientific invention to benefit resource-poor farmers, with no charge for the technology, if they engage in propagatying Golden Rice.

 

From 2000 to 2005, they worked in developing the product and scientists at Syngenta, a Swiss company, also carried out additional laboratory, greenhouse and field research to help raise the beta-carotene levels in Golden Rice.

 

In 2005, the scientists developed new Golden Rice lines that produced 23 times more beta-carotene than what the prototype Golden Rice generated in 1999.

 

The latest lines of Golden Rice were developed using a combination of genetic modification and breeding methods. They contain genes from corn and other sources that together produce beta-carotene.

 

Currently, the researchers working on Golden Rice are focused on three areas: Establishing its nutritional benefits; breeding Golden Rice varieties that are well-suited for different rice-growing environments in Asia, and; undertaking regulatory studies to evaluate the safety of the variety.

 

The Philippine Rice Research Institute is also working on using the advances in Golden Rice to generate beta-carotene in local rice variety PSB Rc82.

 

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/273971/rp-first-grow-vitamin-afortified-golden-rice

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.09  Uganda develops disease resistant rice

 

Since its start in 2004, the Upland Rice (Nerica) Project has increased rice farming in Uganda from 4,000 farmers to more than 35,000 in 2007. However, rice yields have been affected by the rice mottle virus, causing panic to farmers and agricultural researchers. After discovering that wild rice that naturally grows in lakes and rivers has resistance to the yellow mottle virus, researchers have been working on transferring the genes of wild rice to locally produced rice to improve production.

 

According to Fred Mukisa, the State Minister for Fisheries of Uganda, they have gathered different wild rice breeds from various locations for conservation in research gardens because it is facing extinction. John Wasswa Mulumba, the head of the National Generic Centre in Entebbe, said that the major reasons for the near extinction is "overgrazing, cultivation and construction." Thus, they are also collecting breeds from various locations for conservation, documentation, and ulitilization towards crop improvement.

 

The complete article is available at http://allafrica.com/stories/201008110371.html.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 13 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.10 Novel bean varieties reach millions of farmers

 

There is a growing demand for seed of new bean varieties in villages all over Africa with thousands of farmers yearning for more. Small-scale farmers, mostly women, dotted in villages across the 24 countries of the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) network, are participating in a unique innovative approach to broaden the availability of bean seed to as many farmers as possible.

 

This work takes place through the national Research and Development R&D programs that make up the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA). The alliance encompasses the Eastern and Central Africa Bean Research Network (ECABREN), the Southern Africa Bean Research Network (SABRN), and the West and Central Africa Bean Research Network (WECABREN). Mrs. Aidah Abia, Chairperson of Balla Women and Youth Bean Seed Producers in northern Uganda, testifies that growing beans for seed has changed her life. She emphasized that her income increased from the sale of beans allowing her to send children to school, meet medical expenses, and purchase household items such as paraffin and soap.

 

For the complete brief on this topic see http://www.ciat.cgiar.org/AboutUs/Documents/ciat_brief_8.pdf

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.11  ACCI at University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus produces seven PhD graduates

 

29 August 2010

 

An advanced studies programme in plant breeding at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's (UKZN) Pietermaritzburg campus produced seven PhD graduates earlier this year.

 

The students were sponsored by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).

 

The PhD programme began with two years in the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) at UKZN’s school of agriculture and agribusiness, followed by three years of field research in students’ home countries, which included Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.

 

Plant breeding, biometry, genetics, biotechnology and plant pathology are among the fields in which the PhD programme offers training.

 

Agra aims to improve agricultural production for Africa’s smallholder farmers. The PhD programme requires students to conduct field research in their home countries so that after graduation they can apply their academic knowledge in their home environment with local resources.

 

The number of agricultural researchers in sub-Saharan Africa has declined by half in the past 20 years because of a lack of funding for agricultural education, and more than half of agricultural scientists in active service are due to retire within the next five years, the centre says.

 

"The programme at UKZN and its sister programme at the University of Ghana-Legon have been created to fill these gaps," said Rufaro Madakadze, Agra's education and training officer, at the graduation of the seven students from UKZN.

 

http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-08-27-plant-research-graduates-head-home

 

Source: THE SMART NEWS SOURCE

 

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1.12  Victors over vectors: Improving cassava for Africa

 

6 August 2010

 

July 2010 was ‘cassava month’ at GCP, with three key meetings.

 

Accra, Ghana, was the setting for all three events, kindly hosted by the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The first two events ran simultaneously. The Cassava Data Management Workshop was from 19th to 21st July. Participants were instructed in the art of data management strategies for GCP’s cassava projects by Arllet Portugal; The 3rd annual meeting of the cassava breeders in Africa’s Community of Practice (CoP) was from 19th to 22nd July, and was opened by Dr Mrs RoseEmma Mamaa Entsua-Mensah, Deputy Director General, CSIR.

 

The CoP meeting brought together a fine array of speakers from the cassava breeding world. This meeting included an in-depth analysis on the status of cassava breeding in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. Three of these four countries rank among Africa’s top four cassava producers.  More

 

The final event from 23rd to 24th July, was the Cassava Challenge Initiative (CI) Launch Meeting, officiated by Hon Sherry Ayitey, Ghana’s Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, who gave the keynote address and officially launched the CI, and by Dr Abdulai B Salifu, Director General, CSIR, who gave the welcome address. The opening session for the CI meeting was chaired by Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, CRI Director. More

 

The cassava breeding community in Africa is indeed rising to the challenge to fortify ‘Mother Cassava’, the crop of hope.

 

Source: GCP News--Issue 48

 

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1.13  Leading scientists to debate global food problems in Dundee  

 

More than 250 scientists and researchers, including some of the world’s leading crop specialists, are heading to Dundee to debate the mounting problems facing global food supplies.

 

The 7th annual Solanaceae Conference - SOL2010 – is being held at Dundee’s Apex City Quay Hotel from September 5th to 9th.

 

Every year since 2004, a large group of over 200 scientists has met in various locations around the world to present their research into one of the economically important groups of plants, known as the Solanaceae.

 

This plant family includes globally important crops such as potato and tomato, as well as other widely grown foods such as aubergine and pepper.

 

The conference will bring together scientists from research institutes, universities and breeding companies from all over the world.  SOL2010 has been jointly organised by SCRI, Scotland’s world renowned centre for crop research which is based at Invergowrie, and the UK Solanaceae group. This year’s conference has secured an exciting line-up of international speakers. 

 

Experts from as far afield as Germany, Denmark, USA, New Zealand, China and South Korea will address delegates. They are all grappling with the problem of how to feed a world population that is expected to grow to 9 billion by the middle of this century.  Equally important is to find ways of growing food in a sustainable way that won’t damage the environment. That is especially difficult because it is only because of high-tech, sophisticated agricultural systems that we are able to feed and clothe the existing world population.

 

The experts include Professor Sir David Baulcombe, a renowned expert in the fields of virus movement, genetic regulation, disease resistance and gene silencing. He holds the position of Royal Society Research Professor and Regius Professor of Botany at Cambridge University. Professor Baulcombe recently chaired a Royal Society working group studying the extent to which biological and related sciences can contribute to enhancing global food crop production over the next 30 years, within the context of changing global and regional demand.

 

Another leading scientist who will be in Dundee is Dr Sandra Knapp, a research botanist at the Natural History Museum in London. She is an expert on various Solanum groups, including tomatoes and their wild relatives.    She will be chairing a session on the biodiversity of Solanaceous plants at the conference.

 

Dr Robin Buell, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, USA has research interests activities centered on genomic aspects of plant biology and plant pathogens. She has played a major role in the genome sequencing of important crops such as rice and potato, and will be talking about the Potato Genome Project at SOL2010.

 

Dr Esther van der Knaap is an expert on tomato fruit development at the Ohio State University in the USA.  She will be speaking about how, in different countries around the world, plant breeders have selected tomato varieties with different fruit shapes.  Her research also shows that some mutations giving rise to certain shapes of tomatoes, occurred before tomatoes were first domesticated in South America, whereas others took place in Europe much later.

 

Karen Tocher, manager of Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau says, “We’ve had an excellent response to the conference so far, with more than 250 delegate registrations.  With the high calibre of speakers and fascinating conference programme, organisers expect the number of registrations to exceed expectations.  Securing a major conference such as this is fantastic for the local economy.  We look forward to welcoming the international delegates and giving them a taste of our renowned Scottish hospitality.”

 

Glenn Bryan, leader of the Potato Genetics and Breeding Group at SCRI says, “This is set to be a fantastic, vibrant conference, and we are delighted to be hosting it in Scotland. We have secured a top-notch line-up of internationally renowned experts in the field of Solanaceae research to share their latest research techniques and findings.”

 

Submited by Laura Anderson

landerson@trickerpr.com

 

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1.14  A long history but slow uptake of drought-tolerant crops

 

5 August 2010

by Abraham Blum, Plantstress.com

In his opinion article, Drought-tolerance: a learning challenge for poor farmers, Travis Lybbert points to a growing interest in drought-tolerant (DT) crops in recent years, largely motivated by impending climate change.

 

In fact, research and development of DT crop varieties have a much longer history. For decades DT crops have provided the basis for viable dryland agriculture in semi-arid regions such as Australia, the Canadian Prairie, parts of Latin America, the Mediterranean and the Midwestern United States.

 

As early as 1932, the US maize breeder, M.T. Jenkins, described his selection of DT maize hybrids in Agronomy Journal. And the Rockefeller Foundation has been very active in supporting the development of DT rice in South East Asia since the 1990s — before the issue of climate change became such a dominant topic of concern.

 

Progress in DT breeding has been slow because selection criteria have focused merely on yield, and in most cases high drought tolerance is negatively associated with high yield potential. When developing a DT variety, breeders have difficulties accepting that its yield under normal conditions might be mediocre.

 

I have met breeders in developing countries who avoid showing the results of their field DT trials to their superiors, because the results look terrible. But if you question a poor drought-prone farmer he will indicate that he prefers a DT variety with a low but stable yield over a variety that yields extremely well in a good year but fails completely in a dry one.

 

Lybbert's misconceptions about breeding DT varieties and their adoption may stem from questionable assumptions he makes in his model of farmers' decisions to adopt DT crops. [1] These include the assumption that at extreme drought pressure DT varieties are virtually indistinguishable from non-DT varieties.

 

It is true that both DT and non-DT crop varieties reduce yield as drought stress increases, but the rate at which DT yields reduce is comparatively smaller. The yields of DT crops are often lower under favourable conditions but they are almost always better as conditions become very dry, and are certainly distinguishably higher than non-DT crop yields.

 

References

[1] Lybbert, T.J. and Bell, A. Stochastic Benefit Streams, Learning and Technology Diffusion: Why Drought Tolerance is not the new Bt. AgBioForum 13(1) (2010)

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9471&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.15  Japan sponsors rice research hub in East Africa

 

6 August 2010

 by Esther Nakkazi

Uganda hopes to become the region's leader in rice research with the opening later this year of a US$6 million centre at its crop research institute.

 

The National Crop Resources Research Institute (NACRRI) received the money from Japan in September last year for the construction of a training and research centre for rice farmers and scientists, which is now nearing completion.

 

The centre will promote North-South collaboration in research and technology transfer, said Geoffrey Asea, head of the cereal department at NACRRI, and "will be fully operational by December".

 

The investment is part of Japan's attempt to position itself as a strategic business partner to East African countries by investing in a range of infrastructure, food production and trade projects under the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) initiative.

 

On the TICAD IV platform Japan launched the Coalition for African Rice Development initiative whose goal was to double rice production between 2008 and 2018.

 

"Japan has the expertise and history in growing rice," said Goto Akio, coordinator of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) project at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). "We started helping Africa after finding out that rice consumption there was lacking and the continent was losing a lot of foreign currency through importing rice."

 

The Uganda project, which is one of JICA's biggest agricultural initiatives to date in Africa, is aimed at developing institutional capacity and superior strains of rice, Akio said.

 

"When we did research in Uganda in 2004 there was only one rice researcher there, but now there are more than ten," said Akio. "We want them to increase rice research by themselves."

 

The centre will allow farmers to become familiar with rice technologies and learn production skills while giving feedback to researchers, he said. This is unusual because there is normally very little interaction between researchers and rice growers in Uganda, Asea added.

 

The grant will also be used to promote rice production in Uganda and build the capacity of researchers, extension agents, farmers and other stakeholders in the rice value chain for production and post-harvest handling.

 

Asea said Uganda spent $90 million on rice imports in 2005 but, with improved varieties, the bill has been cut to $60 million a year and the area planted with rice has grown to 50,000 hectares from about 1,500 a decade ago.

 

"But rice is relatively new to eastern and southern Africa and has not been given much priority — crops are of poorer quality than imported rice," said Asea.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9470&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source:SciDev.Net via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.16  Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics partners with Kazakhstan Government to deliver improved varieties of wheat and barley

 

Adelaide, Australia

12 August 2010

The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Kazakhstan; a partnership that will produce improved varieties of wheat and barley more tolerant to drought, salinity and nutrient deficiencies and toxicities for both countries.

 

The collaborative program will allow ACPFG to access knowledge and intellectual property produced by research in Kazakhstan while also helping to accelerate Kazakhstan’s breeding programs by building the capacity of researchers in that country.

 

‘The partnership is an exciting venture for ACPFG and Australia. Our farmers will benefit from the research activities of scientists working on crop tolerance to environmental stresses’ said ACPFG CEO, Professor Peter Langridge.

 

ACPFG will provide Kazakhstan researchers with training in the development and application of molecular biology techniques to improve cereal varieties with a particular focus on stresses including salinity and drought which are major problems for growers in both countries.

 

In return the MoU will expand ACPFG’s base of knowledge and increase the number of scientists working on important environmental issues for wheat and barley growers.

 

‘Whilst the varieties grown in Kazakhstan and Australia are quite different, it’s likely that the advances in genetic studies will have a very positive effect on Kazakhstan varieties and the lessons we learn in working with this material will have direct application to Australian germplasm,’ Professor Serik Kenenbayev, President, JSC KazAgroInnovation said.

 

‘Outcomes of the MoU include support for Kazakhstan’s conventional breeding programs to accelerate the rate of improvement of Kazakh varieties,’ said Professor Langridge. ‘We will also use genetic modification techniques to improve wheat and barley using a cis-genic approach which involves the use of wheat and barley genes to improve stress tolerance in wheat and barley plants.’

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9537&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.17  India - Seed Bill 2010 provides for compulsory registration of kinds or varieties of seeds; Farmers are exempted

 

New Delhi, India

27 August 2010

The Seed Bill 2010 provides for compulsory registration of kinds or varieties of seeds. No person will be allowed to carry on the business of selling or supplying any seed which is not of a registered kind/variety. Farmers are exempted from compulsory registration. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act provide registration of plant varieties with the objective of conserving rights of breeders and farmers.

 

Penalties proposed in the Bill are higher than the existing Act. Proposed penalties have been further enhanced based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and other amendments proposed to the Bill. The Seeds Bill is stringent in its provisions as it provides not only for penalty (both fine and imprisonment) but also for cancellation of registration and compensation to farmers.

 

This information was given by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9991&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.18  New GEAC role clouds future of GM crops

 

New Delhi

3 August 2010

 

In a surprise move, the government has divested “Genetic Engineering Approval Committee” (GEAC) of its role as approver of GM crops, such as BT cotton, by changing it to “Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee”. The panel itself had no role in its re-designation and industry watchers say this deepens the uncertainty over India’s highly competitive but fiercely opposed GM crops, pushed by both the public and private sector .

 

The change was effected through a Gazette notification on July 22, which the HT has viewed. It states: “…for the words Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, wherever they occur, the words, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, shall be substituted.”

 

“We were not consulted. The government took a decision on its own. But we were told our mandate would not change,” GEAC co-chairperson Arjula Reddy told HT.

 

Key UPA ministers have been sharply divided on GM food crops. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has advocated caution, while farm minister Sharad Pawar has said meeting the country’s increasing food demands hinged on breakthroughs, such as GM crops.    

 

Until a new biotech regulatory Bill -- which will replace the GEAC -- is signed into law, which is still a long way off, a state of limbo over GM crops looms large. Even if it is enacted, it may take up to three years to be implemented, according to experts.  

 

“We would like the GEAC to remain the approval committee until then. Its statutory powers as a scientific body should not be diluted or transferred to a political authority,” Shanthu Shantaram of the Association for Biotech-led Enterprises said.

 

Projects awaiting or granted approval, including new variants of Bt cotton, may stall. A key application is from Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech, now ready with its Roundup Ready Flex, a Bt Cotton variety that can survive weedicides, or weed-killing agents.  

 

In February, the Centre had shelved the launch of the country’s first genetically modified food, BT brinjal, after it was cleared by the GEAC.

Groups opposed to GM crops have questioned the GEAC’s impartiality itself in the Supreme Court, a case still pending. However, till it is decided, the court asked the GEAC to continue.

 

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/newdelhi/New-GEAC-role-clouds-future-of-GM-crops/Article1-581432.aspx

 

Source: Hindustan Times via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.19  Soybeans to go non-GM

 

5 August 2010

By Sun Zhe

China's biggest soybean producing province is trying to build a non-genetically-modified (non-GM) brand to revive its bean industry, according to a press release on the province's Department of Agriculture website Wednesday.

 

Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which produces about half of China's soybean, aims to build the brand through mergers among the more than 160 soybean processing plants, said the press release.

 

The non-GM brand is our last hope, said Wang Xiaoyu, director of Heilongjiang Soybean Association.

 

"The only advantage we have now is that our beans are natural and healthier than GM products," said Wang.

 

So far, non-GM soybean oil is only prominent in Northeast China. The rest of the country relies mainly on imports from international conglomerates.

 

China was a net exporter of soybeans before 1995 when the US soybean entered China due to low prices. Using up about half of the world's soybeans, China is now a net importer of the crop. And the soybean planting acreage has shrunk over the past decade and a half in Heilongjiang.

 

About 90 percent of China's soybean consumption relies on imports, and about 70 percent of the country's soybean processing plants are controlled by a multinational oligopoly, made up of ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LouisDreyfus.

 

Heilongjiang soybean processing plants cannot compete with plants in the coastal areas using GM soybeans, which are about 10 percent cheaper than China-produced beans.

 

http://business.globaltimes.cn/industries/2010-08/559830.html

 

Source: Global Times via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.20  Pavlovsk seed bank faces destruction

 

'Priceless collection' in Russia was never registered so is therefore worthless and does not officially exist, say developers

 

John Vidal, environment editor

 8 August 2010

Twelve Russian scientists famously chose to starve to death rather than eat the unique collection of seeds and plants they were protecting for humanity during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in the second world war. But the world's first global seed bank now faces destruction once more, to make way for a private housing estate.

 

The fate of the Pavlovsk agricultural station outside St Petersburg will be decided in the courts this week. If, as expected, the case goes against it then the collection of plants built up over 85 years could be destroyed within months.

 

At stake, say Russian and British campaigners for the station, is not just scientific history but one of the world's largest collection of strawberries, blackcurrants, apples and cherries. Pavlovsk contains more than 5,000 varieties of seeds and berries from dozens of countries, including more than 100 varieties each of gooseberries and raspberries.

 

More than 90% of the plants are found in no other research collection or seed bank. Its seeds and berries are thought to possess traits that could be crucial to maintaining productive fruit harvests in many parts of the world as climate change and a rising tide of disease, pests and drought weaken the varieties farmers now grow. As it is predominantly a field collection, Pavlovsk cannot be moved. Experts estimate that even if another site were available nearby, it would take many years to relocate the plants.

 

In what appears Kafkaesque logic, the property developers argue that because the station contains a "priceless collection", no monetary value can be assigned to it and so it is worthless. In another nod to Kafka, the government's federal fund of residential real estate development has argued that the collection was never registered and thus does not officially exist.

 

"It is a bitter irony that the single most deliberately destructive act against crop diversity could be about to happen in the country that invented the modern seed bank," said Cary Fowler, of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. "Russia taught the world about the importance of crop collections for the future of agriculture. A decision to destroy Pavlovsk would forever tarnish a cause that generations of Russian plant scientists have lived and, quite literally, died, to protect."

 

The station was established in 1926 by Nikolai Vavilov, the man credited with creating the idea of seed banks as repositories of plant diversity that could be used to breed new varieties in response to threats to food production. During the siege of Leningrad, 12 scientists chose to starve while protecting the diversity amassed by Vavilov, even though the seeds of rice, peas, corn and wheat that they were protecting could have sustained them. Vavilov died of malnutrition in prison in 1943, having criticised the anti-genetic concepts of Trofim Lysenko. But Russia has since elevated him to hero status.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/08/pavlovsk-seed-bank-russia

 

Source: The Guardian via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.21  Montana State University researchers working on spring wheat cultivars resistant to orange wheat blossom midge

 

1 August 2010

From the northwestern corner of Montana to the eastern edge of the state, MSU's Research Centers are conducting research in and for the agricultural and natural resource communities of Montana.

 

Agronomists from the centers, working with other MSU scientists, are finding ways to protect Montana's crops from insect and disease infestations.

 

They are breeding new varieties of crops to better serve the needs of Montana producers and global customers.

 

In Flathead County, a 2006 outbreak of orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) cost spring wheat producers over $1.5 million. Instead of getting 80 bushels per acre, producers saw yields of two or three bushels per acre.

 

In an effort to identify a spring wheat with a natural OWBM resistance, agronomist Bob Stougaard, of the Northwestern Research Center near Kalispell, grew 64 entries of spring wheat and dissected their heads to count midges. He found that some varieties (McNeal, Thatcher and Choteau) are very susceptible to the OWBM, while other varieties (those with Reeder in their parentage) were less attractive to adult female midges.

 

Stougaard then shared his work with Bozeman-based researchers from the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology (PSPP) and Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) Depart-ments.

 

PSPP spring wheat breeder Luther Talbert bred a spring wheat population derived from crosses between Reeder (non-preferred by the midge) and Conan (preferred by the midge).

 

Jamie Sherman, a PSPP molecular geneticist, used Talbert's population to genetically map and identify a major gene that appears to control the level of plant attractiveness to the OWBM. This non-preference gene could potentially serve as a new form of resistance.

 

The use of this trait has recently become more plausible as Sherman has identified molecular markers. The markers may be used to screen and select genetic material carrying this gene.

 

Next, LRES entomologist David Weaver will sample selected experimental lines grown at NWARC for volatile organic compounds. The goal is to identify the molecules responsible for the non-preference.

 

Stougaard will continue to screen morespring wheat cultivars in hopes of identifying additional forms of plant resistance.

 

“OWBM is a problem in spring and winter wheat around the world, not just in Flathead County,” said Stougaard. “An OWBM resistant cultivar will benefit many growers.” H

 

By TERRI ADAMS

 

http://www.theprairiestar.com/articles/2010/08/01/ag_news/farm_and_field/field2.txt

 

Source: The Prairie Star via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.22  Wheat variety blends may reduce risk - Select for disease-resistance, maturity levels

 

Manhattan, Kansas, USA

5 August 2010

Farmers preparing to plant winter wheat might consider blending varieties for a stable yield.

 

Crop production specialist Jim Shroyer with Kansas State University Research and Extension said blending wheat varieties will spread out performance risk. "While any one variety may do much better or worse than other varieties in the same vicinity, having a blend of two or three varieties can usually even out those ups and downs," he said.

 

Shroyer said he prefers three-way blends. Studies show that farmers who use three-way blends can lose two varieties and yet still get up to 60 to 70 percent of normal yields from the third variety.

 

When choosing the components of a blend, it is important for the varieties to be genetically diverse. After yield potential, Shroyer said the most important thing to look for is different types of disease resistance.

 

He also recommended spreading out maturity of the varieties over three to five days. "If producers can spread out the maturity a bit, there is a better chance that at least one of the varieties can benefit from a given weather pattern," he said. "For example, a later- maturing variety might take better advantage of a late rain than an early-maturing variety."

 

But spreading out maturity has its price as well. If the early variety has a shattering problem, farmers may wish to harvest as soon as it matures, taking a moisture discount on the late-maturing varieties rather than losing grain yield on the early variety.

 

Shroyer said farmers also should consider blending varieties with different levels of winter hardiness and spring green up tendencies.

 

"If there are high-yielding varieties available, but which have poor winter hardiness or a tendency to break dormancy early in the spring, blend them with varieties that have better winter hardiness or stronger spring dormancy," he said.

 

Shroyer also said not to be afraid of using the newest varieties in a blend; however, he prefers to watch a new variety grow by itself for a year to identify its unique strengths and weaknesses. After this trial period, it is easier to determine with which other varieties it should be blended.

 

Although blending wheat varieties has many advantages, Shroyer said there are disadvantages as well. Blends do not provide the same management flexibility as a pure variety. They also are unlikely to result in the highest yields in any given year. Many farmers, however, would prefer the stability in yield that comes from a blend over the uncertainty with pure varieties.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9411&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.23  Plant scientists move closer to making any crop drought-tolerant

 

Riverside, California, USA

25 August 2010

Drought-tolerant crops have moved closer to becoming reality.

A collaborative team of scientists has made a significant advance on the discovery last year by the University of California, Riverside’s Sean Cutler of pyrabactin, a synthetic chemical that mimics a naturally produced stress hormone in plants to help them cope with drought conditions.

 

Led by researchers at The Medical College of Wisconsin, the scientists report in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (online) on Aug. 22 that by understanding how pyrabactin works, other more effective chemicals for bringing drought-resistance to plants can be developed more readily.

 

Abscisic acid versus pyrabactin

Plants naturally produced a stress hormone, abscisic acid (ABA), in modest amounts to help them survive drought by inhibiting growth. ABA has already been commercialized for agricultural use. But it has at least two disadvantages: it is light-sensitive and costly to make.

 

Pyrabactin, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive, easy to make, and not sensitive to light. But its drawback is that, unlike ABA, it does not turn on all the “receptors” in the plant that need to be activated for drought-tolerance to fully take hold.

 

Lock and key

A receptor is a protein molecule in a cell to which mobile signaling molecules – such as ABA or pyrabactin, each of which turns on stress-signaling pathways in plants – may attach. Usually at the top of a signaling pathway, the receptor functions like a boss relaying orders to the team below that then proceeds to execute particular decisions in the cell.

http://www.seedquest.com/visuals/image/2010/drought.gif

Each plant receptor is equipped with a pocket, akin to a padlock, in which a chemical, like pyrabactin (a synthetic chemical that helps plants cope with drought conditions), can dock into, operating like a key. Each receptor is equipped also with a lid that operates like a gate. For the receptor to be activated, the lid must remain closed. In a receptor where the gate closes, pyrabactin fits in snugly to allow the gate to close. In a receptor not activated by pyrabactin, the chemical binds in a way that prevents the gate from closing and activating the receptor. Image credit: Cutler lab, UC Riverside.

 

Each receptor is equipped with a pocket, akin to a padlock, in which a chemical, like pyrabactin, can dock into, operating like a key. Even though the receptor pockets appear to be fairly similar in structure, subtle differences distinguish a pocket from its peers. The result is that while ABA, a product of evolution, can fit neatly in any of these pockets, pyrabactin is less successful. Still, pyrabactin, by being partially effective (it works better on seeds than on plant parts), serves as a leading molecule for devising new chemicals for controlling stress tolerance in plants.

 

Cutler explained that each receptor is equipped with a lid that operates like a gate. For the receptor to be activated, the lid must remain closed. Pyrabactin is effective at closing the gate on some receptors, turning them on, but cannot close the gate on others. The researchers have now cracked the molecular basis of this behavior.

 

“A key insight from the current work is that this difference is controlled by subtle differences between the receptors in their binding pockets,” said Cutler, an associate professor of plant cell biology in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and one of the members of the research team.

 

He explained that in a receptor where the gate closes, pyrabactin fits in snugly to allow the gate to close. In a receptor not activated by pyrabactin, the chemical binds in a way that prevents the gate from closing and activating the receptor.

 

“These insights suggest new strategies for modifying pyrabactin and related compounds so that they fit properly into the pockets of other receptors,” Cutler said.

 

Impact of pyrabactin

According to Cutler, pyrabactin has paved the way for manufacturing new molecules that activate or turn on receptors.

 

“For it to be a good agriculture chemical, however, it needs to turn on more receptors by fitting into their pockets,” he said. “If a derivative of pyrabactin could be found that is capable of turning on all the receptors for drought tolerance, the implications for agriculture are enormous. The current research is an important step on the way to what is likely to be the next big result: an ABA-mimicking chemical that can be sprayed on corn, soy bean and other crops.”

 

The discovery of pyrabactin by the Cutler lab was heralded as a breakthrough research of 2009 by Science magazine.

 

In the current research, Cutler collaborated with Brian Volkman and his research group at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and helped guide critical questions.

 

“Specifically, we performed genetic experiments that helped us pinpoint which amino acids in the receptors are critical for pyrabactin to either work or not work,” Cutler said. “We also identified reasons for why one receptor is sensitive to pyrabactin while a neighboring receptor is not.”

 

A grant from the National Science Foundation supported Cutler’s contribution to the study.

 

Cutler and Volkman were joined in the study by Francis C. Peterson (first author of the research paper), Davin R. Jensen and Joshua J. Weiner of the Medical College of Wisconsin; Sethe Burgie, Craig A. Bingman and George N. Phillips, Jr. of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Sang-Youl Park and Chia-An Chang of UCR.

 

Companion paper

Cutler is a coauthor also on a companion paper, titled “Identification and Mechanism of ABA Receptor Antagonism,” that appears online Aug. 22 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

 

He joins the following researchers in that study: Karsten Melcher (first author), Yong Xu, Ley-Moy Ng, X. Edward Zhou, Fen-Fen Soon, Kelly M. Suino-Powell, Amanda Kovach, Jun Li and H. Eric Xu of the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Eu-Leong Yong of the National University of Singapore; and Viswanathan Chinnusamy, Fook S. Tham, and Jian-Kang Zhu of UCR.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9940&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.24  New varieties of drought-tolerant maize could generate up to US$1.5 billion for African farmers, consumers

 

26 August 2010

Race is on to replace existing varieties amid concerns that climate change is likely to intensify droughts and significantly depress maize harvests in sub-Saharan Africa

 

As climate change intensifies drought conditions in Africa and sparks fears of a new cycle of crippling food shortages, a study released today finds widespread adoption of recently developed drought-tolerant varieties of maize could boost harvests in 13 African countries by 10 to 34 percent and generate up to US$1.5 billion in benefits for producers and consumers.

 

“We need to move deliberately, but with urgency, to get these new varieties from the breeders to the farmers, because their potential to avert crises is considerable,” said Roberto La Rovere, a socio-economist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT) and lead author of the study, which was produced in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

 

“Our analysis shows that with high rates of adoption, more than four million producers and consumers would see their poverty level drop significantly by 2016,” he added.

The study was conducted as part of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Initiative (DTMA) implemented by CIMMYT and IITA with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. CIMMYT and IITA have worked with national agriculture research centers in Africa to develop over 50 new maize varieties that in drought conditions can produce yields that are 20 to 50 percent higher than existing varieties.

 

The CIMMYT-IITA analysis of the benefits of conventional drought-tolerant maize for Africa, or DTMA, examined the potential impact in Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The researchers found that under “conservative yield” improvements, the new varieties would provide farmers and consumers with food and income worth US$537 million, while under more “optimistic yield improvements,” their value would increase to US$876 million.

 

Moreover, the researchers estimate that if drought-tolerant maize completely replaced existing varieties in the countries studied, the benefits could reach US$1.5 billion.

 

Farmers and consumers in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe would see the greatest benefits, the authors note, because maize dominates local diets and livelihoods, and farmers in these countries have a history of rapidly adopting improved maize varieties.

 

“The goal now is to make drought-tolerant maize easily available to millions of smallholder growers in countries where droughts, which always lurk as a perennial threat to food production, are expected to become more common and more severe,” said Hartmann, director general of IITA.

 

“Maize is life for 300 million in Africa, and as climatic conditions deteriorate, it is up to researchers in cooperation with governments, seed companies and farmers to ensure that maize production does not collapse.”

 

For example, a peer-reviewed study published last year by Stanford University and the Global Crop Diversity Trust warned that by 2050, growing conditions in most African countries will be hotter than any year on record and that many varieties of maize now under cultivation will no longer be viable. Another study from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) warned that a failure to transition to drought-tolerant maize could diminish yields across the region by up to one ton per hectare.

 

Some of the new drought-tolerant maize seed is already reaching farmers’ fields. This year alone, four new varieties developed by breeders with IITA and the Government of Ghana that are both drought-tolerant and resistant to the parasitic weed Striga were officially released.

 

The CIMMYT-IITA study examined past trends in adoption of improved maize varieties and cautioned that there could be wide variations in the rate at which farmers’ transition to drought-tolerant maize. For example, adoption rates are projected to be as high as 85 percent in Kenya and Zambia, but only 20 percent in Benin, 30 percent in Mali, and 27 percent in Mozambique.

 

“It is very important for everyone at all points in the value chain to coordinate their efforts so that we address the challenges that in the past have made it very difficult for many African farmers to obtain seed of improved crop varieties,” said Wilfred Mwangi, associate director of CIMMYT's global maize program and leader of the DTMA project.

 

According to Mwangi, farmers will adopt a new crop variety if it offers distinct advantages. But they still face barriers to obtaining improved seeds.

 

“Over the years, many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have continued to grow old, low-yielding, and unsuitable maize varieties, despite the availability of newer and better-performing ones,” said Mwangi. “This is partly because they don't know about the new varieties or can't get credit to buy seed. Many farmers are discouraged from buying seed because they can't sell their surplus grain at attractive prices; others live beyond the reach of commercial seed companies.”

 

Feeding farm families in dry areas of Malawi

In Malawi, the impact of the DTMA project is already becoming evident in farmers’ fields and finances. For example, Bamusi Stambuli estimated he will save US$330 over 12 months by growing a drought-tolerant maize variety developed by CIMMYT and breeders from Malawi’s Chitedze Research Station. This year, Stambuli’s maize yields of this variety were nearly twice those of other popular local varieties.

 

“I will now be able to feed my family for 12 months,” said Stambuli, who has seven children and five grandchildren.“

 

The climate is changing, rainfall is decreasing, and the weather is now dictating which varieties farmers grow and in turn what varieties seed companies produce,” said Dellings Phiri, Managing Director of Seed Co. Malawi, a leading seed company in the southern African region.

 

Two varieties released in Malawi in 2009—ZM 309 and ZM 523—are suited specifically for drought-prone areas where soils are infertile. Introduced by local extension agents to farmers in the Balaka area, the new varieties have produced good yields in demonstration plots.

 

Farmers are saying that ZM 309 and ZM 523 yield more corn, mature earlier, and are better for pounding into flour than other popular commercial varieties.

 

Locally, ZM 523 is known as “Mwayi”—the Chichewa term for “fortunate.” ZM 309 is called “Msunga banja,” or “that which takes care of or feeds the family.” In September 2009, the Malawi government decided to include ZM 309 in a government initiative that offers farmers discounts on purchases of improved maize seeds.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9970&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: IITA via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.25  Researcher measures leaf transpiration efficiency of drought-resistant maize lines

 

Stomatal conductance refers to the speed at which water evaporates from pores in a plant. Field measurements of leaf gas exchange in maize often show that high stomatal conductances supply substomatal carbon dioxide concentrations saturating to photosynthesis. This makes maize leaves to operate at lower transpiration efficiency (TE; the biomass produced per water transpired) than possibly attainable for C4 plants. Thus, James A. Bunce of USDA-ARS Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory investigated if five drought resistant or drought tolerant maize lines operated with higher leaf TE than three less-adapted local maize lines. Field measurements of leaf TE, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and substomatal carbon dioxide concentration were obtained over two planting seasons of maize in Beltsville, Maryland.

 

Consistent and significant variation among the lines were observed for stomatal conductance, substomatal carbon dioxide concentration, and TE, but not for photosynthesis. One of the drought-tolerant lines exhibited the highest TE, and a local line with the lowest TE. However, not all drought-tolerant lines showed higher TE than the local lines. Bunce concluded that significant genotypic variation in leaf TE is possible in maize, and that TE could be enhanced without reducing photosynthesis.

 

Subscribers of Crop Science Journal can download the full paper at http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/50/4/1409.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 30 July 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.26  Wheat disease resistance-like gene stimulates susceptibility to necrotrophic pathogens

 

Disease resistance of plants is governed by genes with three protein domains. On the other hand, plant's mechanism for susceptibility is not widely-studied, especially for necrotrophic pathogens or fungi that feed on the dead cells and tissues of the host. Previous studies have shown that diseases tan spot and Stagonospora nodorum blotch on wheat produce ToxA, a toxin that stimulate susceptibility in wheat lines harboring matching toxin sensitivity gene (Tsn1).

 

Justin Faris of USDA Agricultural Research Service, together with other scientists, reported the cloning of Tsn1, which was found to have resistance gene-like features, including the three protein domains of the resistance genes. After inducing genetic mutation, it was revealed that all the three domains are needed for ToxA sensitivity and disease susceptibility. Tsn1 is available only in ToxA-sensitive genotypes, but Tsn1 protein is not directly stimulated by ToxA. Tsn1 transcription is strictly regulated by circadian clock and light, which suggests that the Tsn1-ToxA interactions are linked with photosynthesis pathways.

 

Results of the study imply that the pathogens mentioned may increase by subverting the resistance mechanisms acquired by plants to fight other pathogens.

 

The abstract of this study is available at http://www.pnas.org/content/107/30/13544.abstract.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 30 July 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.27  Cadmium tolerance and accumulation in wheat differ in ploidy and genome at seedling stage

 

Scientist D. Ci of the Nanjing Agricultural University and colleagues investigated the tolerance and accumulation of the heavy metal cadmium (Cd) in wheat varieties with different ploidy and genome. The researchers measured the growth and photosynthesis and the ratio of these two parameters in the 24 wheat varieties studied. Cd concentrations in shoots and roots, Cd accumulation in shoots (SCA) and Cd translocation (ratio of SCA to total Cd accumulation in plants) of the wheat varieties differing in ploidies generally decreased from octoploid to diploid, except for Aegilops triuncialis. It was observed that the Cd tolerance of the varieties studied exhibit different Cd tolerance based on their ploidy and genomes at seedling stage. However, there were no significant differences in the growth and photosynthesis parameters of the different ploidies.

 

After various analysis were conducted, the researchers found that Triticum boeoticum Boiss was the most Cd-tolerant variety exhibiting low Cd translocation rates. On the other hand, T. aestivum cv. Huixianhong and Jinghui 1 were identified as the most Cd-sensitive varieties which also exhibited high Cd translocation rates.

 

The full article in the Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science is available for subscribers at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-037X.2010.00417.x/full.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 13 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.28  Para que servem os estudos citogenéticos no melhoramento de trigo

 

Brazil

4 August 2010

Sandra Patussi Brammer

Dra. em Genética e Biologia Molecular, pesquisadora da Embrapa Trigo, área de genética e citogenética de cereais de inverno

O trigo comum, denominado Triticum aestivum, possui constituição cromossômica complexa, sendo formado por três genomas distintos, oriundos de espécies primitivas diferentes, resultantes de cruzamentos naturais entre elas, ao longo de sua evolução, há cerca de 10 mil anos.

 

O conhecimento dos padrões de herança, bem como a localização dos genes nos cromossomos, tem permitido ao melhoramento genético expressivo avanço na incorporação de importantes características agronômicas entre as melhores plantas, resultando no desenvolvimento das cultivares disponíveis aos agricultores. Ressalta-se que a criação destas cultivares é feita através de cruzamentos direcionados, podendo ser mais rápida e eficiente, por meio da ação conjunta entre melhoristas e citogeneticistas que visam analisar o modo como as características hereditárias são transferidas nas diferentes gerações, bem como a detecção da ocorrência de anormalidades cromossômicas.

 

A partir do emprego da citogenética molecular, pode-se detectar sequências específicas de DNA dos três genomas, o que tem possibilitado importantes avanços na citogenética de trigo, cujas pesquisas estão focadas na investigação detalhada da estrutura cromossômica, no acompanhamento da quantidade de segmentos de DNA introgredidos em cruzamentos interespecíficos, entre as espécies afins ao trigo cultivado, além da análise de pareamentos intergenômicos em plantas híbridas. Esta área da citogenética também é promissora para a caracterização de germoplasma, bem como para a detecção de segmentos cromossômicos associados a genes de resistência a estresses bióticos e abióticos, foco de um programa de melhoramento. Portanto, é possível explorar os recursos citogenéticos do trigo e de seus parentes próximos, através do uso de ferramentas biotecnológicas, como a citogenética clássica e molecular, associadas à genética e ao melhoramento.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9380&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.29  VIB and Ghent University researchers identify key mechanisms of cell division in plants - New technology can be applied to boost crop yields

 

Ghent, Belgium

11 August 2010

Scientists from VIB and Ghent University have developed a technology that may contribute to the increase of crop yields in agriculture. The technology platform based on ‘Tandem Affinity Purification (TAP)’ was developed to map the basic machinery of cell division in plants much faster than possible with existing techniques. The results of the research, which are published in the prestigious scientific journal Molecular Systems Biology, were obtained through close collaboration with researchers from the University of Antwerp. In the future, this new platform might prove to be an important tool in plant research.

 

Cell division is the key to increase agricultural yield

As a result of the worldwide growing population, the output of agricultural crops has to double by 2050. To address this challenge, the world needs new varieties of plants, with higher yield per hectare than current varieties. “The major driving force behind plant growth is cell division,” says Geert De Jaeger, group leader at VIB and Ghent University. “If you understand the machinery that governs this process, you have the key to increase agricultural yield.”

 

Four years and 300 experiments

The research, which took four years and more than 300 experiments to complete, was conducted by Jelle Van Leene and colleagues from De Jaeger’s team, together with Erwin Witters of the University of Antwerp. The researchers have now published the complete map of the machinery behind cell division in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. During their experiments, the researchers discovered more than 100 new proteins involved in the process.

 

TAP: a combination of transgenic technology, protein purification, mass spectrometry and bioinformatics

Many proteins with an essential role in the cell cycle of plants have been revealed by the global sequencing projects of recent years. Until now, little was known about the interactions between these proteins, the actual core of the machinery. The newly developed ‘Tandem Affinity Purification (TAP) Platform’ allows researchers to quickly unravel the interactions between the proteins involved. TAP requires a multidisciplinary approach, combining transgenic technology, protein purification, mass spectrometry and bioinformatics.

 

The results of this research have been published in the leading journal Molecular Systems Biology (Van Leene et al., Targeted interactomics reveals a complex core cell cycle machinery in Arabidopsis thaliana): www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/msb.2010.53.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9526&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.30  Gene discovery could help to boost crop yields

 

York, United Kingdom

12 August 2010

A discovery by scientists at the University of York of a vital feature of a plant's temperature sensing and growth mechanism could help to increase yields from crops.

 

Researchers in the University’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) have found a gene that plays a significant role in the growth rate of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

 

The study published in the latest issue of Current Biology reveals that plants without the SPT gene grow at a faster rate at lower temperatures, but nevertheless have the same tolerance to freezing as plants that have the gene.

 

The research also shows that daytime temperatures have a particular influence on plant growth and that the SPT gene allows plants to measure temperature in the morning.

 

Because most British crops are winter varieties that are sown in the autumn and harvested the following summer, plants that can grow larger during the lower temperatures of autumn, winter and spring have the potential to yield more biomass and larger numbers of seeds.

 

CNAP’s Dr Steve Penfield, who led the research team said: “There is potential for this discovery to be used to increase crop yields by extending the growing season particularly in spring and autumn.”

 

The research also involved scientists from the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

 

  • The article ‘SPATULA Links Daytime Temperature and Plant Growth Rate’ appears in the latest issue of Current Biology.
  • The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) is an academic research centre which specialises in gene discovery for plant- and microbial-based applications using biology to benefit society and to provide a sustainable future. Target-led programmes in CNAP are underpinned by fundamental and strategic research, funded by UK Research Councils particularly the BBSRC, charitable organisations, EU framework programmes and US funding agencies.
  • CNAP is part of the University of York’s Department of Biology, one of the leading centres for biological teaching and research in the UK. In the recent Research Assessment Exercise, the Department was equal first among broad spectrum bioscience departments. The Department both teaches degree courses and undertakes research across the whole spectrum of modern Biology, from molecular genetics and biochemistry to ecology.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=9552&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.31  Genome breakthrough heralds new dawn for agriculture

 

Decoding of genome hailed as most significant breakthrough in wheat production in 10,000 years

27 August 2010

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

The breakthrough could result in new breeds of disease resistant crops which could be producing higher wheat yields in as little as five years' time, raising the prospect of lower bread prices and greater food security in a more populated world

 

In a scientific tour-de-force that has been hailed as the most significant breakthrough in wheat production since the cereal crop was cultivated by the first farmers more than 10,000 years ago, scientists have decoded the genome of the wheat plant.

 

As a result, new breeds of disease-resistant crops could be producing higher wheat yields in as little as five years' time, raising the prospect of lower bread prices and greater food security in a more populated world. And rather than guard their knowledge, the British scientists responsible for the research will today place a draft version of the genome online, making it available for free to wheat breeders around the world, who will be able to use it to speed up the creation of the new disease-resistant varieties that are urgently needed. Most wheat breeders currently rely on traditional methods of mixing new crop varieties – techniques that have not changed substantially for hundreds of years.

 

Wheat production is under pressure, particularly this summer because of the failure of the Russian harvest. Yet world food production will have to increase by an estimated 50 per cent over the next 40 years if the growing global population is to be fed.

 

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One leading scientist behind the British study said yesterday that knowing the wheat genome would revolutionise the conventional breeding of wheat. Breeders, he explained, will be able to take valuable shortcuts that reduce the amount of time it takes to breed essential new plant varieties resistant to disease and drought. This would not entail genetic modification, although the genome will also prove invaluable for scientists if they did want to directly change the DNA of the wheat plant.

 

Conventional breeding can exploit the information contained in the wheat genome to screen seeds for the genetic "markers" or signposts that indicate the presence of valuable genes, such as those for resistance to drought or disease.

 

"A process that now takes five or six years will take one or two years. It is quite possible in five years' time that a loaf of bread will be cheaper because of this," said Professor Neil Hall, a genome scientist at Liverpool University, one of the three research centres that carried out the study.

 

Professor Keith Edwards of the University of Bristol said the breakthrough was highly significant. "In a short space of time we have delivered most of the sequences necessary for plant breeders to identify genetic differences in wheat. The public release of the data will dramatically increase the efficiency of breeding new crop varieties," Professor Edwards said.

 

Wheat yields per hectare have increased threefold since Roman times, but over the past decade they have reached a plateau despite intensive efforts by the plant breeders who have struggled with the menace of constantly evolving wheat diseases. This is one reason why wheat production has failed to keep pace with increased demand.

 

"It has been estimated that in Europe, productivity needs to double to keep pace with demand and to maintain stable prices. We need to start breeding new varieties of wheat that will be important in five or 10 years' time," Professor Hall said.

 

"This means that we will be able to utilise the wheat genome to its full potential. It means that we can fully utilise what nature has given us." However Professor Hall added: "Unless global population is kept under control, nature may not be enough and we may have to use genetic modification because there is always going to be a limit to what you can get out of wheat."

 

Although wheat was one of the first domesticated crops, it has posed formidable problems for modern breeders, largely because of its complex genetics which are the result of the plant being a hybrid of three distinct species of wild grass. The 17 billion individual "letters" in the wheat genome – which is more than five times larger than the human genome – mean that it is one of the largest genomes to be sequenced. The draft sequence, covering 95 per cent of the wheat plant's DNA, was completed within a year of the start of the project, which cost £1.8m and was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

 

"Sequencing the human genome took 15 years to complete, but with huge advances in DNA technology, the wheat genome took only a year," Professor Hall said. "The information we have collected will be invaluable in tackling the problem of global food shortage."

 

He added: "The primary goal of this research was to help conventional plant breeders. But it may be that... genetic modification will also be necessary to boost yields."

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/a-new-dawn-for-agriculture-2063308.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.32  Michigan State University  researchers discover novel mechanism protecting plants against freezing

 

East Lansing, Michigan, USA

26 August 2010

New ground broken by Michigan State University biochemists helps explain how plants protect themselves from freezing temperatures and could lead to discoveries related to plant tolerance for drought and other extreme conditions.

 

“This brings together two classic problems in plant biology,” said Christoph Benning (photo right), MSU professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. “One is that plants protect themselves against freezing and that scientists long thought it had something to do with cell membranes, but didn’t know exactly how. “The other is the search for the gene for an enigmatic enzyme of plant lipid metabolism in the chloroplasts,” shedding light on how cell membrane building blocks are made, Benning said.

 

In an article published online this week by the journal Science, Benning and his then-doctoral degree candidate Eric Moellering and technical assistant Bagyalakshmi Muthan describe how a particular gene leads to the formation of a lipid that protects chloroplast and plant cell membranes from freeze damage by a novel mechanism in Arabidopsis thaliana, common mustard weed.

 

Working on his dissertation project under Benning, Moellering (photo right) identified a mutant strain of Arabidopsis that can’t manufacture the lipid and linked this biochemical defect to work done by others who originally described the role of the gene in freeze tolerance, but did not find the mechanism.

 

“One of the big problems in freezing tolerance or general stress in plants is that some species are better at surviving stress than others,” Moellering said. “We are only beginning to understand the mechanisms that allow some plants to survive while others are sensitive.”

 

There is no single mechanism involved in plant freezing tolerance, Moellering added, so he can’t say that his findings will lead any time soon to genetic breakthroughs making citrus or other freezing-intolerant plants able to thrive in northern climates. But it does add to our understanding of how plants survive temperature extremes.

 

Much plant damage in freezing temperatures is due to cell dehydration, in which water is drawn out as it crystallizes and the organelle or cell membrane shrivels as liquid volume drops. Lipids in the membranes of tolerant plants are removed and converted to oil that accumulates in droplets, the researchers said, retaining membrane integrity, keeping membranes from fusing with one another and conserving the energy by storing oil droplets. With rising concern globally about water supplies and climate change, scientists see additional reasons to understand the ways hardy plants survive.

 

The research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Basic Energy Sciences and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, also leads to speculation that freezing itself can prompt cell proteins directly to change the composition of the membrane, without activation by gradual acclimation. That has been a major focus in the plant freezing tolerance field, the researchers said.

 

“This opens a huge door now for people to do this kind of research, and to redirect researchers,” Benning said. “There are lots of them out there trying to understand cold, salt and drought tolerance in plants, and we’ve given them a new idea about how they can approach this problem mechanistically.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=10000&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.33  SolCAP and Illumnia Develop Potato and Tomato Consortiums

 

The USDA/ National Institute of Food and Agriculture Applied Plant Genomics Coordinated Agricultural Program for Solanaceae called SolCAP has an exciting opportunity for Solanaceae scientists working with potato or tomato.  SolCAP http://solcap.msu.edu/  is working with Illumina, to develop genotyping arrays. In particular, Solanaceae scientists can join in on a consortium through Illumina, to access a potato and a tomato genotyping array for the interrogation of SNPs in the respective genomes.

 

For potato, approximately 10,000 SNPs are intended for the final content in a high density genotyping chip.  Candidate SNPs are being validated for potato in elite germplasm.  The SNPs are identified from Illumina transcriptome sequencing of Atlantic (high solids chip-processor), Snowden (low reducing sugar storage chip processor) and Premier Russet (low reducing sugar frozen processing) lines. 

 

For tomato, SolCAP has completed SNP calling from the GAII transcriptome sequence data and generated sequence data for 4 cultivated varieties, an S. lycopersicum var Cerasiformae accession and an S. pimpinellifolium accession. A total of 28,380 potential SNPs were identified.  SolCAP is working with research teams in Europe and Illumina to finalize SNP content (about 7600 SNPs)  and develop a genotyping array that will be available to the tomato breeding and genetics community. 

 

There are some key benefits offered to participants that include: 1. Early Access.  2. Technology Transfer Opportunity:  This consortium offers an opportunity to work with experienced SolCAP members to learn the methods associated implementing genotyping methods into characterizing genetic merit. 3. Reduced Pricing:  The access to consortium members who participate will be at a consortium price that will be below that available to institutions working alone.  For more information about the consortium please visit us at:  http://solcap.msu.edu/. 

 

Consortium prices are available for a limited time. To place orders please contact Illumina's Consortia Manager, Cindy Taylor Lawley at Illumnina, Tel: 510.670.9478 or clawley@illumina.com.

 

Contributed by ALLEN VAN DEYNZE

avandeynze@ucdavis.edu

 

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1.34 Bioserve develops PCR-based GMO screening tests

 

BioServe, a provider of genomic solutions and services to the biotech industry, has a line of new molecular PCR tests for the detection of any and all commercialized genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to a 0.1% limit of detection of the substance tested. Rama Modali, President of BioServe, says that "These tests for GMOs are the first of what will be a comprehensive portfolio of molecular tests for pathogens and healthcare diagnostics."

 

The company's laboratories in India have likewise received accreditation from the National Board of Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL) for the detection of GM materials in raw and processed foods.

 

For more information visit http://www.bioserve.com

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 30 July 2010:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.35  NBPGR commercializes state-of-the-art GMO detection technology

 

In a bid to commercialize the state-of-the-art PCR based technologies for the detection of various GMO in food crops, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) has successfully inked a deal with M/s Amar Immunodiagnostics, a Hyderabad based GMO-detection company. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  was signed between NBPGR and Amar Immunodiagnostics on May 17, 2010 at New Delhi. This is the first public- private partnership on the GMO detection technologies between NBPGR and Amar Immunodiagnostics. These GMO detection technologies are available for further collaboration and technology transfer to interested parties.

 

A set of PCR- based GMO detection technologies, kits, bioassay and protocols have been developed in-house by the team led by Dr. Gurinder Jit Randhawa of the National Research Centre on DNA Fingerprinting based at NBPGR under the collaborative projects supported of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India. With the commercialization of these easy to use and reliable detection kits, a broad range of stakeholders would be benefited in detecting DNA sequences in GM crops for its effective regulation. The kits will help build the confidence of consumers in the technology for the development of GM crops, assisting in post release monitoring and solving legal disputes if they arise.

 

Two recent peer-reviewed articles showing proficiency of detection methodology developed by NBPGR which were published in Food Analytical Methods  and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry are available at http://www.springer.com/food+science/journal/12161 and http://pubs.acs.org/journal/jafcau, respectively.  For more information on the PCR based GMO detection technology, contact Dr. Gurinder Jit Randhawa at gjr@nbpgr.ernet.in or gurinder.randhawa@rediffmail.com or visit NBPGR at http://www.nbpgr.ernet.in/

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 6 August 2010

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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2  PUBLICATIONS

 

2.01  Changing Diets: What does the Future Hold? - HarvestPlus releases working paper

 

25 August 2010

As the global economic environment changes, so too will diets and the demand for staple foods. Researchers must assess how these will change in order to understand the long term impact of biofortification.

 

To do this, economists Msangi and colleagues used a global agricultural market model to simulate future demands for food and micronutrients under different scenarios. Such methods have the advantage of being able to hone in on the food sector and to evaluate country-specific scenarios over time.

 

In their working paper (Integrated Economic Modeling of Global and Regional Micronutrient Security) the authors find that despite urbanization and income growth associated with globalization, diets of the rural poor—who are the focus for micronutrient interventions—will continue to be based on staple foods. Biofortification will thus remain relevant to poor rural populations in the years to come, as their incomes will still be far too low to afford a more diversified diet.

 

The model also suggests that biofortification of cereal grains is likely to be most effective in South Asia, while targeting roots and tubers would be most effective in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Through refinements to the model, economists hope to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of micronutrient deficiency at a global level and of the underlying drivers of those trends. This can help identify potential ‘hotspots’ for nutrient deficiency and how to design better and more cost-effective interventions to deal with this problem.

 

Download the Working Paper:

 

Integrated Economic Modeling of Global and Regional Micronutrient Security

 

Website: http://www.harvestplus.org

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=10001&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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2.02  Gamma Field Symposia Vol. 47: New Crop Breeding and Mutation now online

 

The Gamma Field Symposia Vol. 47 has been placed online and can be accessed at the link http://www.nias.affrc.go.jp/eng/gfs/index.html. The 47th Gamma Field symposium entitled “New Crop Breeding and Mutation” was held on July 16-17, 2008 in Mito, Ibaraki, Japan.  The keynote address, Genomics-assisted breeding in rice, was presented by Dr. Masahiro Yano, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences. Eleven lecturers were also invited to present results of their research: Dr. M. Ishimoto (National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region, NARO: Genome accumulation and use of soybean genome information for molecular breeding), Dr. K. Komatsu (National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region, NARO: Common cutworm resistance in soybean), Dr. I. Ando (National Institute of Crop Science, NARO: Genetic analysis and breeding for low amylose content of rice), Dr. K. Ishizaki (Crop Research Center, Niigata Agricultural Research Institute: Breeding and practical application of blast-resistant isogenic lines in rice cultivar Koshihikari in Niigata Prefecture), Dr. R. Morita (National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences: Analysis and application of gamma-ray-induced mutations), Dr. M. Mori (National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region, NARO: Breeding new potato cultivars to meet processing needs and increase the contents of functional ingredients), Dr. M. Wada (National Institute of Fruit Tree Sciences, NARO: Gene expression in parthenocarpic apple with floral organ mutation), M. Kondo (National Institute of Crop Science, NARO: Effects of high-temperature stress on growth and grain filling in rice), and M. Sakai (National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, NARO: Rice cultivars for forage use: development and prospects for sugar-high yield in Japan) .

 

This English publication includes the contributed papers from the invited lecturers written above and the questions and discussions (in Japanese) addressed following the presentations during the symposium.

 

The 1st Gamma Field symposium was held in 1962. During its 47-year history, we have selected various themes related to mutation and breeding, and have invited leading scientists with expertise in these areas as lecturers to provide information on a wide variety of related topics. It is our sincere hope that the series of Gamma Field Symposia series, including this issue, will help plant breeders and researchers to realize the contribution that mutation breeding has made to the plant sciences.

 

Contributed by Hitoshi Nakagawa

Director, Biomass Research & Development Center, NARO

ngene@affrc.go.jp

 

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2.03  Classifying vegetable genetic resources—A case study with domesticated Capsicum spp

 

Rodomiro Ortiz, Francisco Delgado de la Flor, Gregorio Alvarado, José Crossa

Received 11 June 2010 Accepted 6 July 2010

Keywords: Chili Descriptors Genetic resources Hot pepper Multivariate analysis Modified location model Ward

 

a b s t r a c t

 Great variation for many traits seems to be available in Capsicum genetic resources but yet to be fully used by plant breeders. Adequate characterization of genebank accessions is needed to facilitate the utilization of germplasm by end-users. The aim of this research was to use multivariate techniques with both qualitative and quantitative descriptors in the five domesticated species of Capsicum for grouping them after assessing inter-and intra-specific variation. Key qualitative descriptors (seed color, corolla color and spot, calyx constriction, numbers of flowers per node and filament color) served for assigning most accessions to their respective species, whereas intra-specific multivariate diversity was better assessed by quantitative descriptors such as fruit length/width ratio, numbers of days to flowering, leaf width, and anther, filament and pedicel length. The modified location model an adequate method for classifying Capsicum accessions using quantitative descriptors. ©

 

Contributed by Rodomiro Ortiz

rodomiroortiz@gmail.com

 

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2.04  ACSS online Free-publications (Proceedings  9th ACSS conference, South Africa, 2009)

 

We are very pleased to publicize the Free-publications of the African Crop Science Society. The proceedings of the Ninth African Crop Science Society Conference held at the Southern Cape Sun Hotel, in Cape Town, South Africa, during 28th September to 2nd October, 2009. The conference attracted more than 300 participants from world-over, and was officially opened by the Honorable Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, with a moving keynote speech titled “Challenges to African Crop Scientists”.

 

The ACSS conference proceedings are serialized (ISSN 1023-070X), and this constitutes Volume 9 of the series. This volume is divided into two parts. The divisions were entirely in consideration of the size of the book. Part I comprises of agricultural engineering, agronomy, food science and soil science. Part II caters for breeding, crop protection and socio-economics.

 

Click on the link below to access these Free-publications

http://www.acsj.info/index1.html

 

Contributed by Kasem Zaki Ahmed

Faculty of Agriculture, Minia University, El-Minia, Egypt

ahmed_kz@yahoo.com 

 

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2.05  New directions in participatory plant breeding for eco-efficient agriculture

 

Farmers across the globe are facing unprecedented changes in their environment. Climate change is affecting the natural environment in often catastrophic and unpredictable ways. The global economic ‘bubble’ that provided cheap credit to many people has burst. The individual and combined effects of these two events are driving the poor into even greater poverty. Resource-poor farmers need strategies to be able to adapt to the changing conditions, over and above their ongoing efforts to raise themselves to a higher state of well-being—out of poverty. As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt worldwide— especially in the humid and semi-arid tropics, ‘dry areas’ and other regions with ‘extreme’ climates—there is an increasing need for crop breeding and variety development to become more adapted to changing weather events while making production more efficient. In this case, ‘efficiency’ is not measured simply as the ability to churn out new varieties of staple crops, but for the work to be responsive to farmers’ (rapidly) changing needs and in specific circumstances. To this end, the Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA Program) is experimenting with, promoting, and advocating new directions in participatory plant breeding (PPB) to equip both small-scale farmers and researchers for the challenges ahead.

 

For the complete brief on this topic see http://www.ciat.cgiar.org/Newsroom/Documents/ciat_brief-3_new_directions_in_participatory.pdf

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept. of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

mes25@cornell.edu

 

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3.  WEB AND NETWORKING RESOURCES

 

3.01  Launch of the in-house newsletter of the Integrated Breeding Platform

 

We are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new in-house newsletter for the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) project. http://mbp.generationcp.org/confluence/display/MBP/IBP+Buzz+Issue+1+-+16th+August+2010

 

The home page for the IBP is: http://wiki.cimmyt.org/confluence/display/MBP/Home

 

Source: Gcpnews] Issue 49--August 2010

 

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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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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 will be offering CS,HS 541, Plant Breeding Methods in a distance education version this fall.  The instructor is Todd Wehner (todd_wehner@ncsu.edu). 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 who are knowledgeable in all of the areas of plant breeding, and to have sufficient understanding to work as an assistant breeder at a seed company, or to continue with advanced courses in plant breeding.

 

CS,HS 541 presents an overview of plant breeding methods, including germplasm resources, pollen control, measurement of genetic variances, and use of heterosis.  Special topics include genotype-environment interaction, index selection, stress resistance, polyploidy, and mutation breeding.  The course provides in-depth coverage of methods for breeding cross-pollinated, self-pollinated and asexually-propagated crops.  Courses usually taken before CS,HS 541 are genetics and statistics.  Courses taken after often include CS,HS 719 (germplasm and biogeography), CS,HS 720 (molecular genetics), CS,HS 745 (quantitative genetics), CS,HS 746 (advanced breeding), CS,HS 748 (pest resistance, now PP590), CS,HS 860 (breeding lab 1), and CS,HS 861 (breeding lab 2). For more information on HS 541 Plant Breeding Methods, see:

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

 

For more information on Todd Wehner, see:

http://cucurbitbreeding.ncsu.edu/

 

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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

 

+++++++++++

 

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

·         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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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

 

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

 

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

 

Contact: 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/

 

(NEW) 26-28 October 2010. Genomics-based breeding, the 2010 conference of the Genome Analysis section of the German Society for Plant Breeding (GPZ), Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.

 

We invite participants from the plant breeding industry and research community to attend this exciting meeting with a scientific programme covering the latest cutting edge crop genomics technologies and applications.

 

Please register online (http://88.84.145.247/gbb/) to submit contributions for the four plenary sessions and the poster exhibition. An additional industry exhibition will provide companies involved in plant genomics and breeding an opportunity to present their products and services to an audience of experts and potential customers

 

Young scientists involved in crop genomics are encouraged to use the industry exhibition for contact with potential future employers. The conference language is English.

 

On behalf of the local organising committee we look forward to seeing you in Giessen!

 

Wolfgang Friedt and Rod Snowdon

 

Submitted by

Wubishet A. Bekele

Wubea2002@yahoo.com

 

1 November 2010. Annual Meeting of the ASA/CSSA/SSA: C01 Crop Breeding & Genetics.

 

Breeding and Genetics of Improved Pest Resistance

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Presiding: Mauricio Ulloa

12:55 PM-4:25 PM

 

Symposium--Accomplishing Green Revolution 2 through Plant Breeding with a Look Back at the First Green Revolution

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Presiding: David Baltensperger

4:00 PM-6:00 PM

 

Breeding for Resistance to Biotic Stress

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

 

Evaluation of Agronomic Performance and Quality

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7:55 AM-12:00 PM

 

Tools for Evaluating and/or Enhancing Genetic Progress

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Presiding: Ganesan Srinivasan

4:00 PM-6:00 PM

 

Breeding for Tolerance to Abiotic Stress

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

 

Graduate Student Poster Competition

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

 

Use of Molecular Tools to Enhance Breeding Efforts

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

9:55 AM-4:00 PM

 

A Look below Ground-the Role of Soil, Water and Root Systems & Wide Hybridization/Div. C01 Business Meeting

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Presiding: Wenwei Xu

12:55 PM-4:00 PM

 

Symposium--Green Revolution 2 through Application of Second Generation Sequencing to Plant Breeding and Improving Quantitative Traits

Organizer: Georgia Eizenga

Presiding: J. Perry Gustafson

 

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/

 

8-19 November 2010. Eighth training course of ICRISAT-CEG:

Application of Molecular Markers in Crop Improvement, ICRISAT Campus at Patancheru, Greater Hyderabad, India.

 

 http://www.icrisat.org/CEG/cegregistration.htm.

 

For further details or queries, please contact: Rajeev Varshney, Leader- Centre of Excellence in Genomics (e-mail: r.k.varshney@cgiar.org) or Kanaka Prasad, Officer- Training (k.d.prasad@cgiar.org).

 

(NEW) 9-11 November 2010. Global Conference on Biofortification, Washington, D.C. USA.

 

The First Global Conference on Biofortification will take place in Washington, D.C., USA on November 9-11, 2010. It will be organized by the HarvestPlus Challenge Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The event will bring experts to discuss the progress, lessons learned, and future prospects for biofortification.

 

Details of the conference can be obtained by emailing biofortconf@cgiar.org

 

15-27 November 2010. The Fifth International Training Course In Vitro and Cryopreservation for Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources: Current Methods and Techniques, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa Campus, New Delhi, India.

 

Details about application and course content can be found on the website.

http://www.bioversityinternational.org/news_and_events/training_calendar/in vitro_and_cryopreservation_techniques_for_conservation_of_plant_genetic_resources.html

 

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/

 

16-17 February 2011. Seed Biology, Production and Quality,

UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center, University of California, Davis.

To enroll: sbc.ucdavis.edu

 

In this course, learn the fundamentals and the most current research information from leading experts in plant sciences on seed development, production, harvesting, conditioning, storage, enhancement and quality assessment.

 

Contact:

Jeannette Martins

jmartins@ucdavis.edu

 

6-10 June 2011. 13th InternationalLupin Conference 2011, Poznań, Poland

 

http://www.poznan.pl/mim/public/turystyka/index.html?lang=en

 

http://www.igr.poznan.pl/

ilc2011@igr.poznan.pl

 

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 (e.guimaraes@cgiar.org), Margaret Smith (mes25@cornell.edu), and Ann Marie Thro (ATHRO@nifa.usda.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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