PLANT BREEDING NEWS

 

EDITION 223

30 April 2011

 

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  Biofuels and rising food prices: how big is the connection?

1.02  Potentially catastrophic climate impacts on food production over the long-term

1.03  Starting a food revolution

1.04  Feeding the world is back

1.05  Sustainable food's biggest problem: no definition

1.06  Golden Rice to be planted in the near future

1.07  PHILRICE recommends better rice varieties for irrigated lowlands

1.08  Korea releases tasty new pest-proof rice

1.09 Philippine Rice Research Institute and International Rice Research Institute to improve release of varieties

1.10  Kenya may double rice output with Introduction of New Variety

1.11  BRRI releases two new stress-tolerant rice varieties

1.12  Scientists warn of growing threat of wheat rust epidemics in vulnerable nations worldwide

1.13  Sammaz-18 and other maize varieties from IAR rated high among top performing entries across west and central Africa

1.14  Scientists report growing threat of wheat rust in vulnerable nations worldwide

1.15  The quest to develop new and improved tomato varieties is benefiting from a systems biology approach to understand the ripening process

1.16  Joint China-Brazil agricultural lab established

1.17  Danforth Center gets $8.3M from Gates Foundation

1.18  Cornell releases two new potato varieties

1.19  Ethiopia study on biofortified maize reveals tasty results

1.20  Resistant varieties make the difference between having enough to eat – or not

1.21  “Smart” crops target malnutrition across Latin America and the Caribbean

1.22  Nepalese farmers to enjoy bountiful harvest from drought-proof rice

1.23  Farmers more than double cassava yields

1.24  Better soybean varieties offer African farmers new opportunities

1.25  Why wheat pre-breeding will help feed the world

1.26  Change needed at UPOV, says new study

1.27  Plant breeder’s rights – A blessing or a curse?

1.28  Intellectual property protection and innovation will enable sustainable agricultural technologies

1.29  Perceptions on the holistic assessment of next-generation genetically engineered crops

1.30  Latin American effort to rejuvenate crop collections rooted in the origins of agriculture

1.31  Big business of biodiversity is dependent on seed

1.32  Could crop ancestors feed the world?

1.33  Scientists aim to improve photosynthesis to increase food and fuel production

1.34  What are the prospects for genetic improvement in drought-tolerant crop plants?

1.35  Iowa State University research leads to understanding of how crops deal with stress – yield’s biggest enemy

1.36  Starch-controlling gene fuels more protein in soybean plants

1.37  New technique improves sensitivity of PCR pathogen detection

1.38  Production of viable gametes without meiosis in maize

1.39  Maize: It’s in the Genes - Study identifies association mapping as a way to improve the global food security in international maize production

 

2.  PUBLICATIONS

2.01  Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources -- Legume Crops and Forages

2.02  New GTZ publication : "Triggering the Synergies between Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity"

2.03  Global Harvest Initiative publishes policy issue brief addressing the need for action on global hunger, food security

2.04  Four case studies on plant breeding now available online from the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)

2.05  Two new studies on rust published and available online from the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)

2.06  PGR CWR ETC Acronyms

2.07  Journal explores translational seed biology

 

3.  WEB AND NETWORKING RESOURCES

3.01  Open source software for breeding

3.02  All diseases and pests in a single database

3.03  Hawaii Foundation Seeds (HFS) announces completion of its website

3.04  Biotechnology for sustainability

3.05  Plant Breeding and Genomics Focus of New National Web Resource

 

4.  GRANTS AND AWARDS

 

(None submitted)

 

5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

5.01  Jobs available at Aberystwyth University

 

6.  MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

7.  EDITOR'S NOTES

 

 

1 NEWS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RESEARCH NOTES

 

1.01  Biofuels and rising food prices: how big is the connection?

 

Food prices are climbing steeply just as more crops are being converted to biofuels worldwide.

 

The US, China, Indonesia, India and the European Union have all established biofuel targets in recent years. This increased demand, along with poor crop yields in parts of the world (because of severe drought, floods and fires associated with climate change), has limited food reserves. Combined with rising fuel costs for transportation, these factors are driving food prices to all-time highs.

 

Prices rose 15% from October to January alone, according to an index kept by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Prices are higher across the board than ever before in the 20-year history of the index. As a result, an additional 44 million people around the world have crossed into poverty, as measured by the World Bank.

 

"The problem is complex, so it is hard to come up with sweeping statements like biofuels are good or bad. But what is certain is that biofuels are playing a role. Is it 20 or 30 or 40 percent? That depends on your modeling," said Olivier Dubois, a bioenergy expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization.

 

In 2007, China banned the use of corn for making ethanol, after prices of the grain skyrocketed. Instead, biorefineries in the country have switched to using cassava root as a feedstock. But as a result, 98% of cassava chips exported from Thailand are now used in Chinese biofuel, instead of food products like tapioca pudding, ice cream and animal feed. 

 

Read the full story: www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/science/earth/07cassava.html?_r=2&hp

 

Source: SustainableBusiness.com News

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/22216

 

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1.02  Potentially catastrophic climate impacts on food production over the long-term

 

 

Food security merits greater space in the climate change agenda

 

31 March 2011

 

"Slow-onset" climate changes are likely to seriously compromise agricultural ecosystems in the second half of the 21st century.

 

Rome - "Potentially catastrophic" impacts on food production from slow-onset climate changes are expected to increasingly hit the developing world in the future and action is needed now to prepare for those anticipated impacts, FAO warned today in a submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 

"Currently the world is focused on dealing with shorter-term climate impacts caused mainly by extreme weather events," said Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant-Director General for Natural Resources.

 

"This is absolutely necessary," he continued. "But 'slow-onset' impacts are expected to bring deeper changes that challenge the ecosystem services needed for agriculture, with potentially disastrous impacts on food security during the period from 2050 to 2100. Coping with long-term changes after the fact doesn't make much sense. We must already today support agriculture in the developing world to become more resilient," he said.

 

"While these changes occur gradually and take time to manifest themselves, we can't simply ignore them," said Müller, adding: "We need to move beyond our usual tendency to take a short-term perspective and instead invest in the long-term."

 

In its submission, FAO outlines steps that governments could consider in climate change negotiations to ensure that food security is not threatened.

 

Food insecurity as an indicator of vulnerability to climate change

 

FAO recommends that food security be used as an indicator of vulnerability to climate change.

 

Food production systems, and the ecosystems they depend on, are highly sensitive to climate variability and climate change. Changes in temperature, precipitation and related outbreaks of pest and diseases can reduce production. Poor people in countries that depend on food imports are particularly vulnerable to such effects.

 

"If we're looking to assess vulnerability to climate change, it makes very good sense to look at food security as one important indicator," said Müller.

 

Managing the long-term risks of climate change is important

 

FAO suggests that within the global adaptation architecture greater space be given to the risks linked to slow-onset impacts of climate change, particularly food security risks. These have so far received little attention within the climate change agenda. 

 

One key measure highlighted in the FAO submission is the need to develop staple food varieties that are better adapted to expected future climatic conditions.

 

Plant genetic material stored in gene banks should be screened with future requirements in mind. Additional plant genetic resources -- including those from wild relatives of food crops - must be collected and studied because of the risk that they may disappear.

 

Climate-adapted crops - for example varieties of major cereals that are resistant to heat, drought, submergence and salty water - can be bred. FAO stressed however that this should be done in ways that respect breeders' and farmers' rights, in accordance with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources.

 

Food security consequences of climate change mitigation efforts 

 

FAO suggests that countries consider food security as a socio-economic safeguard for mitigation measures. Meeting increasing demand for fuel, food and carbon storage will challenge national policy-makers to capture synergies and manage trade-offs between competing land-uses. Already biofuel production (a mitigation response measure) has been associated with spiking food prices in 2007-2008. Also, there are signs that the success of REDD+ (an initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase the carbon stock in forests) will depend on how successfully the linkages with agriculture are managed.

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/54337/icode/

 

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1.03 

Starting a food revolution

 

Chinese scientists take on the feeding of Africa

 

by John Berthelsen   

19 April 2011

In February, Dr Li Zhi-Kang, a senior Chinese molecular geneticist, led a delegation of 15 international plant scientists to Africa with the aim of starting nothing less than a food revolution.

 

The vehicle for the revolution is a groundbreaking new rice developed by Li, the chief scientist with the Institute of Crop Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, and hundreds of plant scientists across the world at a cost of $50 million.

 

Li, also a geneticist with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, is the father of Green Super Rice, developed over 13 years through the painstaking crossbreeding of hundreds of strains of rice to fashion plants that are resistant to diseases and bugs, needs no fertilizer and raise yields dramatically. 

 

Green Super Rice looks to be the successor to the Green Revolution of the 1960s that was led by Dr Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his efforts. 

 

More importantly, it was developed using a new plant breeding system that Li and his fellow scientists, particularly Chinese ones, are spreading from rice to millet to wheat to barley to soybeans, even to cotton. Li says Green Super Rice can increase yields in Africa by six-fold, to as much as six metric tons per hectare. Already Chinese scientists have doubled yields of millet, a staple for millions of Africans.

 

“Our goal is to work together with African science people to transfer the technology,” Li said. “In the second phase we will work together to develop a new type of rice there.” 

 

It is a big undertaking. In just one project along the Niger River in Mali the trials use 112 different Green Super Rice hybrids and another 33 inbred varieties.

 

Under the aegis of the Green Super Rice Program, Li and his fellow scientists visited Mali, Senegal and Mozambique to work on a seed production and distribution system that is designed to eventually feed millions of Africans a more nutritious and plentiful diet.  The scientists were drawn from IRRI, the African Rice Center, Chinese universities and several African institutions.

 

In Africa, they are being aided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which put up $18 million.  With the aid of the Gates Foundation, the Global Rice Science Project (GRiSP) is seeking funds to expand into seven countries across Asia and seven in Africa. Some 260 people have been trained from public and private centers, including in Africa, on the use of breeding and seed production technology and now are working to put it into the hands of farmers. 

 

But, said Dr Jauhar Ali, a plant scientist and Asia Green Super Rice Coordinator for IRRI, “We have to find some private sector funding to help us.  No company is willing to establish anything in Africa.”

 

Chinese companies are providing some assistance. A Chinese engineering construction company working in Mali, Ali told Asia Sentinel, “wants to do some goodwill” and undertook the development of 1,000 hectares of land for rice as a goodwill project.

 

But more help for Li and his colleagues is urgent. The International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC, says spending for agricultural research and development in Africa has stagnated or fallen in most of the region.

 

“In a survey of 32 African nations, the study found that investment in agricultural R&D had rebounded in many of the larger countries, primarily Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda,” the IFPRI said last week in a prepared news release. “However, in 13 countries, spending actually declined. Even where funding did increase, much of the money went to boost low salaries and rehabilitate infrastructure and equipment after years of neglect.”

 

That unfortunately coincides with growing concern that the weight of the world’s population, estimated to reach 7 billion later this year, will simply make it impossible to feed them all.

 

Against this is arrayed a painstaking process of plant improvement that began in the mid-1990s in China and holds enormous promise – without genetic modification from proprietary inputs sold by for-profit giants such as Monsanto or Cargill.  

 

"Zhang Hybrid Millet," or ZHM, which is named for its originator, Chinese scientist Zhao Zhihai, doubled production to more than 12 metric tons per hectare. It has been introduced by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 10 African countries including Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Senegal.  According to the state-owned China Daily, it has been planted on 266,666 hectares of farmland in 11 provinces in China, increasing annual output by 100 million kilograms.  As with Green Super Rice, the seeds are drought-resistant, water-economic and high yielding. 

 

Dr Ali says the method of producing the new strains is perhaps even more important than the rice itself.  “This technology has created 50 varieties of different plants,” he said. “This is very exciting. We never expected this to happen.  [Other scientists] started doing it and it is spreading very rapidly.”  Indeed, he says, the pace is picking up.  Although Green Super Rice has taken 13 years to develop, today, mature varieties are being completed in five years or so.

 

Ali calls the combined approach, which for rice is centered in GRiSP, “pro-poor.”

 

“We do not promote private production. With the Chinese Academy of Sciences, we are promoting local companies in these countries. Benefits must go equally.  We are very cautious about that,” he said.

 

Access to the products the partnership is producing is free. The hybridization process is continuing.

 

“We are trying to breed in local milieus to customize the products for them,” he says. “These materials will flow to all of these countries.  We are teaching them the breeding strategies. We try to develop local resources to enable them to breed more efficiently, more precisely. Molecular genotyping will be supported in all Asian and African countries, training [of local scientists] to do the servicing of the genotyping so that these countries will be on their own feet.  They will be able to produce to their own requirements.  These are people who have never seen a bag of fertilizer.”

 

For Li and his colleagues, this has meant going back to primal, pre-Green Revolution rice to start over. In the 1960s, when Borlaug led the project to develop a short-stemmed dwarf rice that staved off a world famine, it raised yields nearly five-fold and kept billions alive. 

 

But that rice, IR8 and its successors, required intensive fertilization and pesticides, which have polluted rivers and estuarine deltas, creating zones of oxygen-depleted waters where the rivers run into the sea.  China, Li said, uses about a third of the world’s fertilizers on about 7 percent of the world’s land.

 

To give an indication of the complex process now underway, the original launch of the rice breeding program involved scientists from 18 countries and 36 institutions. As many as 2,000 Chinese scientists worked on the project for more than 10 years, taking hundreds of donor cultivars from dozens of countries, identifying the variations in the plants’ responses to drought, global warming and other problems. For instance, in the last four decades, climate change has driven up temperatures in the northern province of Heilongjiang by 2.5 degrees Celsius. The change has allowed rice to be grown where it was never grown before, but it has put tremendous strains on plants of all kinds.

 

“Backcross breeding,” as the process is known, involves crossing a hybrid with one of its own parents, or with one genetically like a parent, then screening the resulting population to find the improved strains. Ultimately they examined backcrosses from 46 parent plants and 500 donors. Then they pooled them across different traits by using molecular markers. 

 

In one study, it took researchers six years to backcross breed three recurrent elite rice lines with 203 diverse donors to improve resistance to pests, salinity, submergence and zinc deficiency.

 

It is expected to take two more years to create rice that can be grown in bulk in the African nations where the project is going forward. The task is urgent. Rice consumption on the African continent is growing at 6-7 percent a year and causing a growing shortfall. The continent is importing 10 million metric tons a year, costing $4 billion a year.

http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3136&Itemid=189

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.04  Feeding the world is back

 

April 2011

By Greg Duerksen, Managing Partner, Kincannon & Reed

As I write this, I am in Nairobi, Kenya listening to farmers and politicians clamor for change. Feeding the world is back.

Just five years ago, food production wasn’t a major part of the public discourse. But today a surprising number of policy makers and influencers know that we need to double global food production by 2050 and are open to policy and investment priority changes. The reappearance of price spikes in agricultural commodities and food, such as occurred in 2008, is scaring governments accustomed to cheap food. Consequently, we see more discussion on the subjects below:

 

The debate on technology use is changing. Depending on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person, the European parliament is either softening or abdicating in its views on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Some historically Luddite activist groups are recognizing that advances like Bt corn and Roundup Ready® have led to dramatic reductions in pesticide use, water use, and soil erosion, and that technology is necessary to feed the world. We hear from developing world agriculturalists that there is a growing desire for access to modern technology. Often, it is remarked that "We have tried organic farming for the past 10,000 years and look where it's gotten us. Let us try something new." For some wealthy consumers, "fresh and local" has become more important than organic or GMO-free.

 

Vast investments in transportation infrastructure are needed. Ports, railways, and roads must be upgraded, expanded, or built in places like Latin America and Africa if we are going to feed the world. For example, it's cheaper to transport rice from the farm in Vietnam to the coastal population centers of West Africa than it is to transport rice from the farming centers of their own countries just a couple of hundred kilometers inland.

 

The food chain's risk management tool box is not big enough, robust enough, or used enough. This is true everywhere in the system from the farm level to the government trade, economic, and agricultural policy levels. Inexplicably, many farmers have not used the pricing and insurance tools available to them and, in effect, seek risk. And now, agricultural producers may lose some futures market and contractual tools because of government reaction to the global financial crisis or because certain interest groups oppose integrated meat and poultry production systems. Many manufacturers say they are hedging when actually they are speculating. After decades of trade barrier reductions and opening of markets, some governments are imposing export bans when local prices rise or erect new non-tariff barriers to protect local farmers or manufacturers. The result of these and a long list of other acts of omission and commission lead to increased risk and volatility.

 

 http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16340&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.05  Sustainable food's biggest problem: no definition

 

Most people like "sustainability"—but few can agree on what it means. Four panelists from The Atlantic's Food Summit share their thoughts.

 

By Daniel Fromson

April 28, 2011

 

Most people agree that "sustainability" is a good thing when it comes to food, but there's a big problem with the term: It's incredibly hard to define. "It is an umbrella term of umbrella terms right now," said Atlantic senior editor Corby Kummer during the first panel at this Tuesday's Food Summit. "There are so many visions of sustainability that you would think they couldn't live on the same stage, and yet we're going to try to have them on the same stage today."

 

Thus began a "crash course in sustainability," as Corby put it, featuring four panelists from the worlds of agricultural policy, the organic foods industry, and biotechnology:

 

Š         Sarah Stokes Alexander, Director of Environmental Practice, The Keystone Center

Š         Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Stonyfield Farm

Š         Nina Fedoroff, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Š         Molly Jahn, Dean, UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, UW-Madison; Former Deputy Under Secretary for Research Education and Economics, United States Department of Agriculture

 

While not every voice was represented—later in the day, some Summit participants pointed to the absence of panelists who were actually farmers or who came from the portion of the scientific community that is opposed to genetically modified foods—the definitions of "sustainability" were nuanced, varied, and sometimes fiercely contradictory, showing just how much of a challenge the food community faces when it comes to rallying behind the term to initiate real change. Here's what each person said.

 

Sarah Stokes Alexander. The Keystone Center, which Sarah Stokes Alexander directs, emphasizes the need to bring together food companies, farmers, and other players to develop meaningful food policy, and accordingly she suggested that sustainability has to do with compromise: "This is something that no one entity will be able to accomplish on their own." She went on to imply that sustainability is about balancing the food industry's desire for greater productivity with other environmental and human needs. It necessitates, she said, that we "increase productivity of food and other things that we rely on, that we decrease the environmental footprint of that productivity, that we improve human health, and that we improve the livelihood of farmers and the communities in which they live."

 

Gary Hirshberg. Hirshberg runs Stonyfield Farm, one of America's most successful organic food businesses (for more info, see this profile by the Life channel's Barry Estabrook). As Corby put it during the panel: "He has decided that big can be beautiful and that small doesn't have to be the only way for organic to grow." Hirshberg argued that sustainability has to do with recognizing and addressing the real costs of food production. "What organics is about, and what Stonyfield is about, is a notion of sustainability that I think we have to confront," he said. "In practice, what it really means is that we have to stop allowing ourselves this convenient exception, which is this notion of externalities." Hirshberg meant "externality" in the economic sense: industrial byproducts that aren't reflected in the price we pay for groceries, like pollution, topsoil erosion, and obesity. "You can't just solve one problem and create others down the road," he said.

 

Nina Fedoroff. In contrast to Hirshberg's pro-organics stance, Fedoroff, a longtime plant scientist, brought a pro-technology perspective to the panel. "Everything that Gary says is absolutely true," she said. "We have to do it better; we have to be more ecologically mindful. But there are many ways to do it." Offering an example, she pointed out that one of the biggest boosts to soil conservation has come from the development of herbicide-tolerant soybeans. Fedoroff noted that opposition to genetically modified crops on the basis of traditional values is "a tragedy" and "not scientifically defensible." "If we can't use modern science to increase productivity," she added, "I think we're not going to make it. And what we'll see is more environmental destruction, and not less." Sustainability, she noted, is about avoiding that.

 

Molly Jahn. Jahn, with a background in plant breeding and in government, emphasized a scientific and pragmatic way of thinking about sustainability. "Any discussion of sustainability requires us to do something we're not especially good at," she said, and that is to think about the future outcomes of present-day actions. "And any definition of sustainability typically requires some discussion of systems in balance." When it comes to food, she said, "We need to understand all the inputs and all the outputs—not only all the inputs we're used to looking at, such as food, but also carbon, water, air quality, and cultural and social implications." Jahn argued that at the end of the day, sustainability is about "planetary boundaries." What we need are data on carbon emissions, water use, and so on—"the targets we need to hit in order to stay within our planet's operating space." And, she concluded, "We've come to understand that real progress will require real changes where all parties are not necessarily all going to win at the same time or in exactly the same way."

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/04/sustainable-foods-biggest-problem-no-definition/237997/

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.06  Golden Rice to be planted in the near future

 

Hyderabad, April 9: 

After years of waiting, farmers in the Asian countries could hope for sowing Golden Rice in the next few seasons. “The Golden Rice project is moving on well. An important announcement will come on this later this month. We have undertaken field trials at various locations. It is going on very well,” said Mr Robert S. Zeigler, Director-General of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

 

Addressing reporters here on Saturday, he said the rice strain fortified with Vitamin-A was critical to address the micro-nutrient needs of hundreds of thousands of poor children in the world.

 

“It will be available for commercial farming in two years. It first will be launched in the Philippines and then in Bangladesh,” he said.

 

India centre

IRRI engaged in talks with ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture Research) to set up a research centre in Hyderabad. “One possibility is to create a centre in Hyderabad. The other possibility is to create a distributed presence in India,” he said.

 

Mr Zeigler was here to attend the 46th Annual Rice Research Group meeting at the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR). He said the global outlook for rice was good assuming there was good weather. Stocks were adequate if not abundant.

 

Earlier addressing the gathering of rice scientists and private industry, he said the food security of India was food security of the world. “If India is not food secure, the world is not,” he said, pointing out the recent Census estimated population figure at 1.2 billion.

 

Mr Zeigler and other speakers, who included Dr Swapan Kumar Datta Deputy Director-General of ICAR, highlighted the focus on East India to grow rice. They pointed out that traditional areas such as Punjab and Haryana reached stagnation and the East promised a good alternative with abundant availability of water.

 

(kurmanath@ thehindu.co.in)

Keywords: Golden riceVitamin A fortified

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.07  PHILRICE recommends better rice varieties for irrigated lowlands

 

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is promoting new high yielding rice varieties with maximum yield potential of 9-12 tons per hectare (t/ha), which has a 1t/ha advantage over the previously bred varieties. These new varieties that are best suited for irrigated lowlands include NSIC Rc212 (Tubigan 15), Rc214 (Tubigan 16), Rc216 (Tubigan 17), Rc222 (Tubigan 18), Rc224 (Tubigan 19), and Rc226 (Tubigan 20). Registering better performance than the check varieties, PSB Rc82 and PSB Rc18, NSIC Rc212 and NSIC Rc214 could yield up to 10 t/ha when transplanted and have an average yield of 6 t/ha. These varieties are bred to help farmers increase their production.

 

For more information regarding these new varieties, visit http://www.philrice.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1251&Itemid=1.

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 11 March 2011

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.08  Korea releases tasty new pest-proof rice

 

Early last week, South Korea released Anmi – a new pest- and disease-resistant japonica rice with high palatability and the latest output from a collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to help Korean farmers boost rice production.  

 

Anmi, meaning “safe and delicious rice” in Korean, has high resistance to a destructive rice pest, the brown planthopper (BPH), as well as to a range of diseases such as blast, bacterial blight, and rice stripe virus that can devastate rice crops.

 

Anmi is a “japonica” rice, a high-quality medium grain typically grown in temperate climates such as those found in Korea, Japan, and northeastern China. Other countries such as Australia, the United States, and some countries in Europe and Central Asia have also shown preference for japonica rice.

 

Read more at http://irri.org/news-events/media-releases/korea-releases-tasty-new-pest-proof-rice

 

Source: IRRI:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.09  Philippine Rice Research Institute and International Rice Research Institute to improve release of varieties

 

Maligaya, Science City of MuĖoz, Nueva Ecija, the Philippines

April 28, 2011

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are ensuring the good field performance of irrigated lowland varieties across the country through multi-environment trials (MET) at PhilRice stations in Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and Agusan.

 

MET, a function of the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER), is being conducted to validate the adaptability and quality of rice lines before they advance to the National Cooperative Testing (NCT).

 

Recently, PhilRice and IRRI researchers assessed about 900 varietal lines in terms of on-site pest resistance and phenotypic acceptability such as good standing crop and filled grains. About 50 researchers from PhilRice and IRRI evaluated the rice lines being tested at PhilRice stations across the country.

 

Dr. Edilberto D. RedoĖa, IRRI scientist and project leader of INGER – the 36-year-old network of the world’s rice varietal improvement programs, said MET ensures wide adaptation of irrigated lowland rice varieties developed by PhilRice and IRRI as the genetic traits of rice lines are tested in more environments.

 

“Traditionally, elite lines are evaluated in one location only. When we assess varieties in just one location, the performance of the variety could not be fairly generalized. We know that some released varieties may be good at one location but perform poorly in other sites. MET will try to bridge this gap in testing rice lines,” RedoĖa said.

 

The first monitoring and assessment tour at PhilRice station in Nueva Ecija screened 900 lines from which 20-30 percent or about 300 lines will again be tested in other locations across the country.

 

“The screening of the varieties involves an inverted pyramid scheme. From many varietal lines, only about 10 varieties will be recommended to NCT,” RedoĖa said.

 

The 900 lines include both inbred and hybrid lines, in which 200 of the lines were PhilRice-bred.

 

“Through MET, we may increase the yields of irrigated lowland varieties, which have reached plateau or are stagnating since 1980s,” RedoĖa said.

DA-PhilRice is a government-owned and –controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16696&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.10 Kenya may double rice output with Introduction of New Variety

 

April 06, 2011, 7:16 AM EDT

By Consolatah Lucas

April 6 (Bloomberg) -- Kenya, a net rice importer, may double production of the grain over the next seven years after introducing a drought-resistant seed variety that thrives in drier environments, the Agriculture Ministry said.

 

The government is encouraging use of the seed type, known as New Rice for Africa, or Nerica, which may increase output to 178,000 metric tons by 2018 from 80,000 tons, Johnson Irungu, director of crops at the ministry, said in a phone interview yesterday from Nairobi, the capital. So far, about 60 tons of the seed has been distributed, he said.

 

“This is very low, but we hope that farmers will soon embrace this rice variety,” he said.

 

Kenya, with a population of 38 million people, consumes 300,000 tons of rice a year, according to the ministry. The shortfall is made up of imports from countries including Pakistan,

 

 Thailand, Uganda and Tanzania. The grain is Kenya’s third-biggest staple food, after corn and wheat.

 

The government has distributed Nerica seeds in the central Mwea area, which produces 80 percent of Kenya’s rice, as well as farmers in the eastern Coastal and western Nyanza provinces under an 8.5 million-shilling ($100,000) program. Nerica yields as much as 5 tons per hectare (2.5 acres), compared with 1.5 to 2 tons produced by domestic varieties on the same size of plot.

 

Last year, Kenya received a 12.1 billion-shilling loan from Japan to build an irrigation system to boost rice production. The funds were aimed at helping Kenya meet its target of irrigating 30,000 hectares of farmland annually, the Water Ministry said in July.

 

--Editors: Paul Richardson, Karl Maier.

 

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-04-06/kenya-may-double-rice-output-with-introduction-of-new-variety.html

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.11  BRRI releases two new stress-tolerant rice varieties

 

The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) released two new stress-tolerant varieties of rice for cultivation in flood-affected areas. The new varieties BRRI Dhan 51 and BRRI Dhan 52 could produce grain even after two weeks of submergence. According to the officials of BRRI, the new varieties have an average yield of 5.0 tonnes and would be very effective in increasing rice production in Bangladesh.

 

Executive Director of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) Wais Kabir said, "We have self-sufficiency in food grains but still we have more chances to greatly increase our food output. The north-western and the southern parts of the country are suffering from drought and salinity respectively; for the stressed condition of these areas the country is being deprived of a large! crop output."

 

"To get significant crop production from these areas we have to adopt modern agricultural technologies and have to introduce stress-tolerant varieties of crops," the BARC chief added.

 

Read more information at http://irri.org/news-events/irri-bulletin/2011.14?print=1&tmpl=component

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 29 April 2011

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.12  Scientists warn of growing threat of wheat rust epidemics in vulnerable nations worldwide

 

Aleppo, Syria

April 20, 2011

Researchers meeting at a scientific conference in Aleppo this week reported that aggressive new strains of wheat rust diseases – called stem rust and stripe rust – have decimated up to 40% of farmers’ wheat fields in recent harvests. Areas affected are North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

 

“These epidemics increase the price of food and pose a real threat to rural livelihoods and regional food security,” said Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

 

In most of the countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the Caucuses, where wheat can contribute more than 40% of people’s food calories and 20% of the protein, the epidemics cause economic hardship for farmers and their families.

 

More than 100 scientists and policymakers from 31 countries are meeting at the International Wheat Stripe Rust Symposium 18-20 April at ICARDA, in Aleppo, Syria, to discuss strategies for wheat rust surveillance and monitoring, development of rust-resistant wheat varieties, and crop diversity strategies to slow the progress of rust across large areas of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

 

“Some of the countries affected by rust epidemics have invested very little in agricultural research and development,” said Hans Braun, director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. At the meeting, he challenged policymakers to recognize the link between scientific research and food security and to invest more heavily in agricultural research.

 

Climate change, in terms of rising temperatures, and the timing and increasing variability of rainfall, is contributing to the spread and severity of rust diseases. Emerging races of rust are showing adaptations to extreme temperatures not seen before. Scientists around the globe are working on monitoring and surveillance of stem rust and stripe rust to insure rapid detection and reporting so farmers, policymakers, and agricultural research centers can respond more quickly to initial outbreaks.

 

“To combat the problem of wheat rusts, farmers in these regions need to adopt new varieties of wheat that have durable resistance to both stem and stripe rust,” said Ronnie Coffman, vice chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative.

 

New rust resistant varieties are in the pipeline at international and national agricultural research centers. Breeders are selecting for other important characteristics including improved yield performance, drought tolerance, and regional suitability.

 

Country preparedness for outbreaks of wheat rust involves such issues as the availability of resistant varieties that are known to and accepted by farmers, the availability of sufficient quality seeds of new varieties for farmers to use, and the availability, accessibility and affordability of effective fungicides and capacity of farmers to use them.

 

In most cases, the bottleneck to getting resistant varieties into the field in time to protect local harvests is local capacity and the ability of national programs to rapidly multiply seeds and deliver them to market. Improving country capacity requires long-term planning, funding, and getting farmers involved earlier in the variety selection process.

 

“There is need for enhancing in-country capacity of the breeding, seed and extension systems to continuously ensure that new, highly productive and genetically diverse resistant varieties are available and accepted by farmers to meet the challenges of changing rust virulence,” said Wafa El Khoury, coordinator of the Wheat Rust Disease Global Program at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). “Coordination and timely information sharing among all the stakeholders—from surveillance and plant protection officers, to wheat breeders, seed system and extension agents, and farmers—is key.”

 

For more information, see http://icarda.org/wheatrust/ and www.globalrust.org 

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16382&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.13  Sammaz-18 and other maize varieties from IAR rated high among top performing entries across west and central Africa

 

IN 2007, breeders from IAR Samaru led by Professor S. G Ado and I. S. Usman nominated four (4) entries in the early maturing regional uniform variety trial (RUVT).  The entries are Tillering Early DT (SAMMAZ – 18), Multi-cob early DT, IAR Dent-Q and IAR Flint-Q.  The results of 2009 RUVT  complied by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan forwarded to the Director IAR, indicates that two of the maize varieties developed by IAR Samaru breeders excelled in yield and other agronomic characteristics.  The mean grain yields from six locations with coefficient of variations of 25% or less across West and Central Africa indicated that IAR multicob early DT produced 4,734 kg/ha and IAR flint Q 4,726 kg/ha.  All the four entries nominated by IAR in the regional trials performed higher than trial mean (4,463 kg/ha).  The top most yielding variety, IAR Dent Q out yielded the reference variety TZE Comp 3 DTC1F1 by 18%.  IAR Dent Q and SAMMAZ-18 has mean days to silking of 61 and 59, respectively.  TZE Comp 3 DTC1F2 had 58 days to silk.  The trials were conducted across locations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

 

An interesting G x E interaction was observed at Lusaka, Zambia where the entries from IAR gave grain yields of 10 to 12 t/ha.  SAMMAZ – 18 gave 12166 kg/ha, whereas Multicob early DT, IAR Flint-Q, IAR Dent-Q and TZE Comp 3 DT C2F2 (reference Check) gave 10238, 10133, 10065 and 9200 kg/ha, respectively.

 

IAR Dent Q and IAR Flint Q are open pollinating varieties developed from quality protein maize germplasm introduced from the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) Mexico, while SAMMAZ-18 and IAR multicob early DT also OPVs are drought tolerant varieties developed after three cycles of S1 family selection with imposed drought.  It would be remembered that SAMMAZ-18 was released in December, 2009 in Nigeria for cultivation and use because of its outstanding characteristics.

 

Contributed by Shehu G. Ado

Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University

Zaria,NIGERIA

shehuado@hotmail.com

 

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1.14  Scientists report growing threat of wheat rust in vulnerable nations worldwide

 

Researchers, institutes, and policy makers gathered at the International Wheat Stripe Rust Symposium in Aleppo, Syria on 18-21 April 2011 to review the current status of wheat stem and stripe rust epidemics in different countries. It was reported during the symposium that new strains of the wheat diseases have appeared, destroying up to 40 percent of growers' wheat fields in the past harvests. Areas affected by the new strains are North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

 

Hans Braun, director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), challen! ged policy makers to invest more heavily in agricultural research. New rust resistance varieties are being developed in international and national research centers to help farmers increase production amidst various wheat rust attacks. Wafa El Khoury, coordinator of the Wheat Rust Disease Global Program at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) emphasized that "coordination and timely information sharing among all the stakeholders-from surveillance and plant protection officers, to wheat breeders, seed system and extension agents, and farmers-is key."

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 29 April 2011

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.15  The quest to develop new and improved tomato varieties is benefiting from a systems biology approach to understand the ripening process

 

United Kingdom

March 18, 2011

In this article Dr Charlie Baxter (photo) from Syngenta reports on how the results from a BBSRC-funded collaboration with scientists at the University of Nottingham and Royal Holloway, University of London are feeding directly into breeding programmes to increase the efficiency of selection for commercially important traits.

 

The tomato is a major fruit crop which is grown in practically every country of the world. Over 141M tonnes are produced globally each year (2009 FAOSTAT). As well as being incredibly tasty, tomatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and frequent consumption of tomatoes has been associated with a reduced risk from certain types of cancer and heart disease.

 

In addition to better consumer satisfaction and nutrition, the introduction of varieties with enhanced flavour, texture and shelf life has the potential to increase food security through harvest flexibility, lower wastage in the food chain and a reduction in the use of energy inputs. However, these important traits are controlled by complex interactions between many environmental signals and developmental processes, which make targeted plant breeding (through the identification of useful molecular markers) time consuming and costly. As a consequence Syngenta has been exploring the potential of systems biology to highlight the pathways and genes responsible for controlling key traits.

 

In 2008, a BBSRC-funded Exploiting Systems Biology LINK project brought together expertise in systems biology (Professor Charlie Hodgman) and tomato genetics and fruit ripening (Professor Graham Seymour) at the University of Nottingham with metabolomics expertise at Royal Holloway, University of London (Dr Paul Fraser), combined with plant breeding expertise at Syngenta to characterise the regulatory network controlling tomato ripening.

 

Bridging the gap between gene and function

Using known tomato ripening mutants to pinpoint perturbations in developmental processes, we compared metabolite and gene expression data, which has revealed many interesting insights.

 

Shifts in the metabolic profiles of tomato fruit with different ripening phenotypes have revealed important links between fruit ripening and primary and secondary metabolism. These metabolic changes provide important insights around the regulation of sugar and amino acid synthesis through the fruit development.

 

In addition, network analysis of gene expression changes has highlighted a number of genetic factors that regulate changes in fruit development. Researchers at Nottingham University have identified a series of transcription factors that play a role in regulating the ripening process. Such discoveries can be used to develop gene specific molecular markers that allow plant breeder to directly track ripening traits in an efficient way. This information is being fed directly into Syngenta's breeding programs to aid the selection of key traits.

 

Harvesting model data

The initial collaboration has formed the basis of an ongoing Syngenta-sponsored systems biology initiative. In 2009 Syngenta signed an agreement with Imperial College London to form the Systems Biology Innovation Centre. This has brought together scientists from the tomato project at Nottingham with computational modellers led by Professor Stephen Muggleton at Imperial.

 

The data generated in the BBSRC ESB-LINK project is now being used to develop and test predictive models designed to generate a deeper understanding of the regulation of metabolic processes. Using the Ondex data integration software, developed with BBSRC funding and led by Professor Chris Rawlings group at Rothamsted Research in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle, we have been able to quickly develop the background knowledge required to develop and run machine learning algorithms. In addition the Ondex software has allowed visualisation of the output from this process. In silico experiments are ongoing at Imperial College that will further elucidate the links between tomato fruit development and key metabolic processes to provide new molecular-genetic targets for plant breeding.

 

Work continues on the tomato Systems Biology project at Imperial College and Nottingham University, whilst the wider potential of machine learning in Systems Biology is being evaluated in further Sygenta-Imperial initiatives, looking at the biomarkers for cancer and the development of ecosystems.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16124&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: Source: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council  via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.16  Joint China-Brazil agricultural lab established

 

Beijing, China

April 14, 2011

On April 13, 2011, the China-Brazil agricultural joint lab was inaugurated in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). This lab is the first of its kind targeted at Latin American countries. It is designed to make full use of and give full play to competitive advantages in science and technology of CAAS and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), advance scientific and technological cooperation between the two sides in agriculture and natural resources, speed up conversion, application and industrialization of relevant technological advances, raise the international status and increase the global influence of the two sides in the field of agricultural bio-technology, promote sustainable agricultural development of the two countries, and make contribution to ensuring food security and raising economic benefits of China, Brazil and other developing countries.

 

It is learned that CAAS has carried out various forms of international cooperation in recent years such as bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental cooperation, guided by the principle of “keeping our own technologies at the core and adopting what is useful from others”. Consequently, it has seen expanding areas of cooperation and widening ranges of partners, rising international status and influence, and higher level of opening up which has begun to be carried out on all fronts and show features like high standing point, high level and diverse forms. Up to now, CAAS has entered a board relationship and conducted cooperation in science, technology and economy with 81 countries, 33 international organizations and 6 multinational private companies from all over the world; signed scientific and technological cooperation agreements with more than 50 nations and 17 international organizations and conducted productive campaigns under these agreements; and set up altogether 23 joint labs/research centers. Thirteen overseas institutes established their China offices in ACCS. During the period of the 11th Five-Year Plan, CAAS launched over 100 international cooperation projects annually, among which projects with regard to potato and cucumber genomics, prevention and control of transboundary animal and plant diseases and climate change projection models have high academic values and have created enormous economic and social benefits.

 

It is reported that another China-Brazil joint lab will be built in Embrapa in 2012, the first one China has established overseas, which marks an important step in the country’s global layout of agricultural science and technology

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16332&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.17  Danforth Center gets $8.3M from Gates Foundation

 

April 28, 2011

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received an $8.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance its work to improve the health and wellbeing of farmers, their families, and other consumers of cassava living in Nigeria and Kenya. 

 

The research team includes the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and its partners in Nigeria at the National Root Crops Research Institute and at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.

 

Funds will be used to support Phase II of BioCassava Plus, an innovative project that aims to reduce malnutrition by increasing the nutritional value of cassava, a staple crop consumed by more than 250 million sub-Saharan Africans and nearly 700 million people worldwide. Dr. Martin Fregene will serve as the lead investigator.

 

"Beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, and iron are contained in various foods today, but those foods are scarce, unavailable, or too expensive for many people in Nigeria and Kenya," said Dr. Fregene, the project director. "Increasing nutrients in local cassava varieties will make it both accessible and affordable for communities to improve their own nutrition."

 

In Nigeria alone, 60 percent of pre-school children are deficient in vitamin A. Approximately 30 percent of Kenyan preschool children also are vitamin A deficient, in addition to suffering from inadequate iron and protein. Effects of iron deficiency include anemia, death for women in childbirth; and inadequate levels of protein causes stunting and wasting in children below the age of five.

 

In Nigeria and Kenya, millions of people eat cassava two times a day, so researchers are focused on increasing the levels of pro-vitamin A and iron in this familiar food to provide them with healthier food that will enhance their diet and improve livelihoods.

 

http://www.stlamerican.com/business/business_briefs/article_2dee4196-7109-11e0-918f-001cc4c03286.html

 

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1.18  Cornell releases two new potato varieties

 

Two potato varieties Waneta and Lamoka have been released for cultivation by the breeders at Cornell University. The varieties are resistant to the golden nematode and common scab, the two most important potato diseases in New York.

 

Variety Lamoka has a high level of starch that is highly desired by chip manufactures because it soaks up less oil when fried. Waneta has less starch but is bruise resistant, suitable to the stony field of New York.  The

 

For more on these two potato varieties, see the original news at: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Feb11/NewPotatoes.html

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 25 February 2011

 

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1.19  Ethiopia study on biofortified maize reveals tasty results

 

Quality protein maize can reduce or prevent stunted growth in young children, according to a recently published study.

 

In eastern and southern Africa, maize is the least expensive and most prevalent cereal crop, but quantity cannot make up for quality. A maize-dominated diet helps keep bellies full, but does not provide a balanced diet. Specifically, maize lacks the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan necessary for efficient protein synthesis. Quality protein maize (QPM)—a type of maize with increased levels of those two crucial amino acids—is the focus of a recent CIMMYT co-authored publication based on two studies conducted in separate locations in Ethiopia1.  The article delves into the role QPM can play in improving the nutritional status of young children in Ethiopia, where nearly 40% of children under five-years-old are underweight.

 

The first of the two studies ran from August 2002-03, in Wama Bonaya District, and showed that children who consumed QPM had a 15% increase in the rate of growth in weight over those who consumed conventional maize. The second study took place from October 2005-06 in the neighboring Sibu Sire District. Here, children fed a QPM diet had a growth rate in height 15% greater than that of children who ate conventional maize.

 

Read more at http://www.cimmyt.org/en/about-us/media-resources/newsletter/870-ethiopia-study-on-biofortified-maize-reveals-tasty-results

 

Source: CIMMYT:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.20  Resistant varieties make the difference between having enough to eat – or not

 

Excessive rains and an increased presence of late blight disease devastated the Cusco region of Peru in January-February 2010, which was declared a national emergency area. The food security of communities in the Paucartambo province of that region was maintained in large part thanks to two late blight resistant potato varieties, called Pallay Poncho and Puka Lliclla, developed by the International Potato Center.

 

Read more at http://www.cipotato.org/pressroom/press_releases_detail.asp?cod=99

 

Source: CIP:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.21 “Smart” crops target malnutrition across Latin America and the Caribbean

 

Nutritionally-enhanced staples to be released in high-priority areas, aiming to improve children and women’s health, and farmers’ adaptation to climate change

 

In a major drive to tackle malnutrition, farmers in some of the poorest parts of Latin America and the Caribbean are to receive a range of new, nutritionally-enhanced food crops.  The improved rice, maize and beans—which also out-perform traditional crops in terms of disease resistance and yields—will be released in high-priority areas of Honduras, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Colombia, where malnutrition is endemic, and rural communities struggle to access reliable, affordable health services.

 

Read more at http://ciatnews.cgiar.org/en/index.php/2011/04/smart-crops-target-malnutrition-across-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/

 

Source: CIAT:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.22  Nepalese farmers to enjoy bountiful harvest from drought-proof rice

 

Rice farmers in Nepal can now assure themselves of a bountiful rice harvest even when devastating drought occurs, thanks to the commercial release of three new drought-proof rice varieties this week.

 

Named after sukha – the Nepalese word for drought – and released by the country’s Variety Release Committee, Sookha Dhan-1, Sookha Dhan-2, and Sookha Dhan-3 have shown a yield advantage of 0.8–1.0 ton per hectare over traditional varieties under severe drought, which often plagues Nepal.

 

Read more at http://irri.org/news-events/media-releases/nepalese-farmers-to-enjoy-bountiful-harvest-from-drought-proof-rice

 

Source: IRRI:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.23  Farmers more than double cassava yields

 

Nigerian farmers have more than doubled the yield of cassava, thanks to the Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA) project that is being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.

 

Farmers in Ido community—in the southern state of Oyo—say yields rose from an average of 10 tons per hectare to more than 20 tons per hectare.

 

“With local varieties, I used to harvest 10 tons per hectare but now, it is more than 20 tons per hectare,” says Bashir Adesiyan, Chairman of the local chapter of the Nigerian Cassava Growers Association.

 

“During the harvest period, other farmers accused me of applying juju—supernatural or magical powers—on the farm but I told them it was the improved cassava stems and training I got from IITA that has made my farm better,” he adds.

 

Read more at http://www.iita.org/

 

Source: IITA

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.24  Better soybean varieties offer African farmers new opportunities

 

Two African nations—Malawi and Nigeria—have released three improved soybean varieties that can enhance the productivity of the crop and offer farmers better opportunities.

 

The three varieties are code-named TGx1740-2F, TGx1987-10F, and TGx1987-62F. TGx1740-2F was developed by IITA in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) in Malawi. Varieties TGx1987-10F and TGx1987-62F were developed by IITA in collaboration with Nigeria’s National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI).

 

The on-station and on-farm testing of TGx1740-2E, TGx1987-10F, and TGx1987-62F was funded by the Tropical Legumes II project.

 

According to Hailu Tefera, IITA Soybean Breeder based in Malawi, the varieties outperformed the standard and local checks grown in the two countries, offering high grain yield in multiple locations under on-station and on-farm trials.

 

“In Nigeria, medium-maturing varieties TGx1987-10F and TGx1987-62F proved highly resistant to rust, bacterial blight, and Cercospora leaf spot,” says Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, IITA Pathologist.

 

The varieties are preferred by many farmers because they smother weeds and reduce the cost of weeding. Farmers that participated in the on-farm trials of the varieties last year said they preferred them especially for their golden color at maturity.

 

In Malawi, TGx1740-2F gave the highest mean grain yield of 2464 kg/ha.

 

“It exceeded the grain variety Nasoko and the widely grown promiscuous variety Magoye which were used as checks by 10% and 32% during the two-year multilocation on-station trials,” according to IITA data.

 

The variety performed equally well during on-farm participatory variety selection trials in four districts of central Malawi. In the 2009/10 season, it outyielded all the new types of soybean varieties under testing by giving 2248 kg/ha. It also surpassed Nasoko and Magoye by 15% and 38%, respectively.

 

Read more at http://www.iita.org/

 

Source: IITA:

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.25  Why wheat pre-breeding will help feed the world

 

Australia

April 5, 2011

The world is struggling to feed itself and the bad news is that the global population is expected to grow from 6.5 billion to nine billion by 2050.

 

And as the population grows, so too does demand for land and energy which, together with climate change, will further hinder agriculture’s ability to produce enough food to sustain society.

 

The 2009 World Summit on Food Security issued a target of 70 per cent more food by 2050, an average annual increase in production of 44 million tonnes per year and a 38pc increase over historical increases in production which has to be sustained for 40 years.

 

It’s an unprecedented challenge which demands substantial results from agricultural scientists, in particular those in the cropping sector.

 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), crops comprise around 80pc of human food, with cereal crops accounting for 50pc of global food production.

 

Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is at the forefront of the challenge, working with research institutions from around the country and around the world to help breed superior cereal varieties.

 

GRDC Manager Germplasm Enhancement Dr Jorge Mayer said that while conventional plant breeding, better farm machinery, the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers,precision agriculture and improved farm practices had delivered significant productivity gains, new options were needed to address to the current challenge.

 

“For about 40 years from the 1960s to the early 2000s, the yield increase was around one per cent a year, but for the last 10-15 years the rate of yield increase has diminished and we are not keeping pace with population growth and demand into the future,” Dr Mayer said.

 

“There will be a bottleneck in supply that will be really critical in terms of people accessing food as well as market prices, so we have to look at what is keeping us from obtaining the necessary gains in yield – an annual gain of 1pc or higher if possible.

 

“We have to look at plant genetics and the factors that are restricting crop yields here in Australia.”

 

In 2009-10 the GRDC invested more than $22 million in grower levies and Government funds into wheat and barley “pre-breeding” research. Outcomes of this research include lines with novel traits and trait combinations, as well as tools to select for those traits to improve a crop’s response to various diseases and environmental stresses.

 

“Our focus is on key traits that will make the greatest difference to Australian wheat growers, like improved tolerance to drought, frost and salinity, and disease resistance such as rust, crown rot and nematodes,” Dr Mayer said.

 

The results of this genetic research are then fed into commercial breeding programs, which then deliver the improved varieties to Australian farmers, with some 52 new varieties released to growers since 2005.

 

It is hoped these new varieties deliver higher yielding and more consistent crops, and with Australia exporting the bulk of its annual wheat crop, the strategy should also have benefits for the availability of grain globally.

 

As a nation the total spend on wheat pre-breeding is in excess of $80m, most of which is public sector investment, with bodies like the GRDC partnering with the CSIRO, universities and the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics among others, in pursuing its research priorities.

 

Internationally, the GRDC works with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria, and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico in sourcing and sharing genetic resources.

 

And the GRDC is further fostering the relationship between pre-breeding researchers and the commercial wheat breeding companies through platforms such as the Australian Winter Cereals Pre-Breeders Alliance.

 

“As a result of these partnerships and this investment, significant advances have been made in recent years in the quest to deliver new wheat varieties that are more drought, salt and disease tolerant,” Dr Mayer said.

 

“While the incremental gains made by researchers are being constantly fed into commercial programs, breeding these new and superior varieties is very much a long-term investment – the results of five years of pre-breeding require a further 10 years with a commercial breeding company before a new variety is planted in a farmers’ field.

 

“So we’re trying to look into the crystal ball for which problems will be still there in the future, and which problems will be impacted by evolving factors like climate change.

 

“We have to be strategic and pick out the major limitations and target solutions which will have the biggest impacts for the most growers.”

 

One of the researchers involved in wheat’s pre-breeding challenge is Professor Mark Tester, from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide and Director of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility.

 

Prof. Tester believes continued investment in new technology is vital in achieving the grains industry’s local goals, as well as international food security, arguing that the greatest gains from new advances will be enjoyed by the developing world.

 

The average global yield is just 3t/ha, compared to the extreme highs of up to 10t/ha in some locations. However, with the majority of land sown to wheat globally returning yields below 3t/ha, these areas offer the greatest opportunity to substantially increase global wheat production.

 

In a research paper published in the journal Science last year, Prof. Tester and his colleague,ACPFG chief executive officer Professor Peter Langridge stated that increasing yield by 1t/ha in a low-yielding area would deliver a “much higher relative increase than does the same increase in high-yielding environments”.

 

“The local social benefits of supporting farmers on low-yielding lands would also be great,” they argue in the report.

 

To achieve this, “new technologies must be developed to accelerate breeding through improving genotyping and phenotyping methods and by increasing the available genetic diversity in breeding germplasm”.

 

Dr Mayer agreed, arguing that “simply planting out lines in the field and in glasshouses is no longer enough”.

 

“We have been breeding for local challenges – salinity, heat, lack of water – for many years, and we have already extracted a lot of what we could through conventional breeding.

“The question now is: what do we need to do beyond conventional breeding to attain additional gains? What can we give to breeders to be more efficient?

 

“Breeders need a more targeted methodology to select for the genes and gene combinations and that’s where the modern technologies come in with molecular markers and research based on the increasing knowledgeof whole genome sequences.”

 

While many people associate talk of new plant technologies with genetic modification (GM), the concept is much broader.

 

For example, in recent years the understanding of complex plant traits has been bolstered by developments in statistical and modelling methods for the analysis of data obtained from field and glasshouse trials.

 

And phenotyping, the science of measuring a plant’s growth and function, took a giant step forward in Australia last year with the opening of the $30 million Plant Accelerator at the University of Adelaide.

 

The facilitywhich is partnered with the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre in Canberra, led by CSIRO’s Dr Bob Furbank, provides state-of-the-art plant growth environments and the latest technology in high-throughput plant imaging, which together provide for the repeated measurements of the physical attributes of plants automatically and non-destructively.

 

This increases the speed and scale of plant physiological measurements, hastening genetic studies being undertaken to illuminate the molecular basis of complex physiological traits.

 

“It’s more than just accelerating, it’s helping us do things we couldn’t do before such as looking at the plants in different wavelengths,” Prof. Tester said.“It’s accelerating our discovery of genes and plant processes.”

 

However, new technology still requires qualified staff to drive the research, with most countries around the world struggling to maintain strong breeding capabilities.

 

“Substantial increases in the education of plant breeders are essential ... A vital adjunct is the free communication of resources and capabilities from technology developers to technology users,” states the paper entitled Breeding Technologies to Increase Crop Production in a Changing World published by Tester and Langridge in Science.

 

Australia’s wheat pre-breeding institutions participate in information sharing programs with their international counterparts.The collaboration provides Australian researchers with genetic material from around the world otherwise not available locally, for use in breeding new Australian varieties.

 

In turn, their knowledge and technology is equally valuable to researchers in other parts of the globe.

 

Prof. Tester believes technology can in part also help resolve the problem of attracting new people to the field.

 

“At the moment many researchers are out there with a ruler or not very sophisticated tools and that doesn’t make for an interesting day in the field sometimes,” he said.

“Whereas if we could fly a micro-light plane over the field to get all of this information, then that would be fantastic.

 

“Having new sexy technology to throw at an old problem will make the field of plant breeding much more attractive to potential students.”

 

Dr Mayer agreed that modern technologies would help attract more young scientists to the field of plant breeding, noting that commercial breeding companies in Australia nowadays employ young breeders with a background in molecular biology and knowledge of modern gene marker techniques.

 

“They are representative of the new breed of plant breeders, and we need more of them if we are to succeed in meeting the globe’s ever-growing food needs,” he said.

 

• More information on GRDC’s investment in pre-breeding is available at www.grdc.com.au

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=15883&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.26  Change needed at UPOV, says new study

 

Geneva, Switzerland

April 8, 2011

by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch

A new study has recommended changes at the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in Geneva, which is seen as having an enormous impact on global agricultural research. Separately, World Trade Organization members recently discussed the trade impact of private standards for food.

 

The new study by the Quaker United Nations Office on the role of UPOV in the context of food, biological diversity and intellectual property, offers a set of recommendations to address some issues such as insufficient participation of observers, lack of accessible information about the system and activities, and the lack of transparency. UPOV is housed in the World Intellectual Property Organization.

 

The Quaker study also advised that UPOV should take relevant recommendations of the WIPO Development Agenda and applying them to its own work. It also recommends reconsidering the dual role of the WIPO director general as secretary general of UPOV, as UPOV is not part of the United Nations.

 

The study is authored by Graham Dutfield, professor of international governance at Leeds University School of Law, United Kingdom.

UPOV is “the only international organisation with responsibility for plant variety protection, and as such influences the direction of global policy relating to agricultural research,” the study says.

 

The study offers a set of recommendations to address issues such as what is perceived as a lack of transparency and the restricted participation from non-members in the organisation, including stakeholders. Another concern is the lack of assessment of potential consequences on national policy objectives in key areas when countries become UPOV members. These consequences include economic development, food security and biological diversity.

 

UPOV members were meeting this week for regular sessions of its governing committees, according to the UPOV secretariat. The Administrative and Legal Committee was scheduled to meet on Thursday, followed on Friday by the Consultative Committee, and then the organisation will hold its biannual extraordinary session of its Council.

 

Private Standards Might Constitute Trade Barriers

The World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Committee met from 30-31 March and agreed on five actions to shape discussions on private standards in food safety, and animal and plant health.

 

Private standards are decided by private bodies, independent of international or official government requirements. For example, when a chain of supermarkets decides to ban from sale a certain type of good, based on their own internal decision, or maybe under public pressure. This has been considered by some countries as a barrier to trade.

 

Some WTO members have voiced concerns about private standards. They have argued that private standards are not always based on science, that there is an increasing number of them, they are not harmonised, that they are costly for suppliers complying with them, and that they impose additional burden on small and medium-sized producers and exporters in developing countries.

 

To address this issue, the SPS Committee has agreed on five actions, including: the development of a working definition of private standards related to SPS; the suggestion that the WTO secretariat inform the SPS Committee of developments in other WTO councils and committees; and that member governments should raise awareness in their countries about the issues posed by private standards and the importance of international standards.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=15993&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.27  Plant breeder’s rights – A blessing or a curse?

 

Geneva, Switzerland

20 April 2011

Source: Intellectual Property Watch

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.

 

Niels Louwaars of the Centre for Genetic Resources, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, recently discussed with Intellectual Property Watch the importance of plant breeder’s rights, their treatment under the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and in Europe. He makes the case for a carefully balanced protection for plant breeders and changes to patents in agriculture, in order to ensure a competitive, diversified supply of plant varieties and seeds.

 

Q: The protection of plant varieties has a special article in TRIPS. Why is it so special?

A: Plant varieties and the seed produced from them have different functions: seed is an essential input for any crop production, it is a technology transfer agent and a carrier of biodiversity and on top of that it is a commodity that can be commercialised. Breeders provide an essential service for society, which is becoming blatantly clear again now by the arising global food shortages, but their “inventions” can in most cases be reproduced by any farmer. So legal protection is essential, but plant varieties don’t fit the patent criteria. The methods that breeders use are hardly ever non-obvious and their products are merely slight improvements of earlier work – they all stand on the shoulders of earlier breeders and they in turn on the generations of farmers that turned weeds into crop species. Moreover, breeders cannot describe their products in such a way that someone skilled in the art can reproduce it, and finally, breeders operate in an agri-”culture” with its own unwritten rules – some of which have been codified as Farmers’ Rights by the FAO.

 

That’s why plant breeder’s rights have been developed – to merge the biological complexity and traditional rights with the need to recognise – and financially support – the contribution of a plant breeder. It introduces definitions that fit the biological nature of the protected subject matter and provides for the necessary rules to allow for continued advancements (breeder’s exemption) and delineates the freedom of farmers to reproduce their own seed. TRIPS follows that logic and provides a unique place for crop varieties in Article 27(3) b as a result.

 

Q: Is this reference to the culture of crop production and “traditional” unwritten rules a bit outdated? Agriculture has become big business – farming is computerized and markets are global. Aren’t you painting an overly romantic view?

A: You’re right – farming, like field crop production in the American Midwest and even more so horticulture in my own country, is an industry. Precision farming using GPS on the tractor, fully automated vegetable greenhouses, requiring crop varieties that squeeze that last percent yield and the maximum quality out of each seed, are far away from the farmer digging a small plot of land, and for such types of agriculture, nobody would refer to Farmers’ Rights for such industrial crop producers. But it remains that breeders – also for such markets – add a small improvement to the existing products based on each other’s genetic materials. Restricting that – as the patent system does – is a threat to the advancement of agriculture. Also, the largest proponents of the patent system in plant breeding have materials of all their competitors in their current products. Breeding requires diversity from which to select, and fishing in your own genepool only will necessarily reduce advancement.

 

Yet in each country there are different agricultures and rules that may apply for one sub-sector (e.g., industrial horticulture) are not likely to optimally serve others (e.g., organic food production). Plant breeder’s rights accommodate that by restricting the right of farmers to reproduce seed for themselves (in horticulture) while allowing the use of farm-saved seed of other crops (e.g. cereals). Europe goes in that respect even further and makes a distinction between large scale and smallholder farmers; the latter don’t pay royalties on such saved seed. It is very difficult for a conventional patent system to make such distinctions, which is even more essential in developing countries.

 

Q: You wrote a report for the Dutch government on the relationship between different IP rights systems and the future development of the breeding industry. Your conclusion is that something needs to be done about patents on plants. What is happening to your recommendations?

A: The report concludes that if a competitive and diversified supply of varieties and seeds is to be maintained, the patent system – in the widest sense – needs to be changed. This can be done in three ways. First, it concludes that patents per sé may not be damaging to the innovation capacity in the sector, but that the ways that the patent system is currently used is. So the first suggestion is that the breeding and plant biotechnology sectors agree on reducing strategic patenting, i.e., blocking patents, overly broad claims and reach-through claims. The Dutch seed association has developed industry panels to investigate ways and means to do that.

 

Secondly, we recommend to vigorously improve patent quality by urging the major patent offices in this world to implement their rules more strictly: novelty, inventive step/non-obviousness, industrial application and enabling description. The offices had already started to “raise the bar” and expanding that will reduce the patent cloud hanging over the heads of plant breeders. We identified that the so-called patent thickets may not exist for those who have the human and financial resources to identify ways through but that for smaller companies and universities these thickets are very real.

 

Finally, we recommend to introduce a breeder’s exemption in patent law. Changing laws is difficult and takes a lot of time, and changing the law in one country does not have any significant effect because we deal with an internationally operating industry, so that requires international cooperation. Furthermore, we recommend that IP policies should take into account competition policies, public research policies and development policies.

 

Q: By focusing on the patent system, you effectively defended plant breeder’s rights. Are you saying there is nothing wrong with the plant breeder’s rights system?

A: The plant breeder’s rights under UPOV have evolved during the past 70 years, starting with the first laws in the 1940s in Europe, the harmonisation exactly 50 years ago and the subsequent upgrades of the system. This evolution proves that a protection system has to respond to changing needs and that also today, it may not perfect. Today, debates about farm saved seed are ongoing in Europe, as are debates about the effective collection of royalties from such seed which is improving in countries like France but non-existent in Italy. In the USA this is not done either, which contributes to the low esteem for breeder’s rights by parts of the industry, which resorts to patenting of varieties and shrink-wrap contracts. Also, the implementation of the concept of “essential derivation” proves complex. This attempts to reduce cosmetic breeding and securing rights for practical breeders when their varieties are used in transformation. But all in all, plant breeders are happy with the straightforward protection, which requires little cost for legal counsel to implement (compared to the patent system). And the current debate in breeder’s and farmers’ organisations is useful to make sure that the system remains up to date.

 

That brings me to another issue: Plant breeder’s rights in developing countries. Again, I’m convinced that the UPOV concept is good, also for countries where the seed industry is developing. And with “UPOV-concept” I mean that the rights of breeders and farmers have to carefully represent the needs of the different agricultures in each country. UPOV allows countries to remain members of the Union under either its old (1978) or its new (1991) Act, and within the country it provides for ways to differentiate between sub-sectors. Also, developing countries may have sub-sectors that need maximum protection, such as export horticulture, while at the same time the informal exchange of seeds and new varieties of basic food crops is essential to improve the livelihood of farmers that are not connected to the formal seed systems.

 

So, a plant breeder’s rights system should respond to these needs and thus recognize the Farmers’ Rights of such smallholders even if that means that variety development of crops like cassava, finger millet and cowpea will have to remain based on public investment. Unfortunately, the UPOV system cannot accommodate such use at this moment. The organisation could easily accommodate this by adopting a wider interpretation of its article on private and non-commercial use, but there seem to be forces that do not want to bring it up. I think this is a missed opportunity because an opening for countries to define this use would make it much easier for countries to join the Union.

 

Q. What do you predict is going to happen in the area of legal protection in the plant sciences?

A. First of all, the patent system is going through a major change. The pendulum has started to swing back a little due to important court decisions. Some of these have not reached the highest levels yet, such as the oppositions against breast cancer technology in the USA, nor it is yet unclear what the reach of the decisions will be such as the decision on a broccoli breeding method in Europe. This tightening of protection also happened in other fields, such as business methods and the computer sector. This means that “society”, including important industry sectors, are worried about the boundaries of the function of IPRs in supporting innovation. The rebalancing of the rights of the inventor and those of society is a good thing.

 

The breeder’s rights community has been caught in a rather defensive mood in the last couple of years with some parties asking for protection that is closer to the rights that patents provide. This pull towards stronger protection may have been a reason why the calls to relax the system in developing countries could not be accommodated. I hope that the swing back of the patent pendulum increases the confidence of the plant breeder’s rights system in its own strength and that there is the continuous careful balancing of rights and liberties among stakeholders. Because breeder’s rights can definitely be a blessing for an innovative and pluriform breeding sector.

 

Niels Louwaars studied genetic and plant breeding at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and worked in Asia and Africa for some 10 years in seed and breeding programmes before becoming involved in seed policy and law. He extended that to intellectual property and biodiversity policy in the mid-1990s, which led to a PhD under the title “Seed of confusion”. He is currently working at the Centre for Genetic Resources in Wageningen, combining policy research with research management and teaching. Recent projects include an analysis of the roles of patents and plant breeder’s rights in the structure of the seed industry, the roles of IP rights in technology transfer for development, access and benefit sharing in the use of genetic resources in agriculture (with FAO) and seed policies (with the African Union). He is also member of the IP-chamber of the court in The Hague for plant breeder’s rights cases.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16364&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.28  Intellectual property protection and innovation will enable sustainable agricultural technologies

 

Brussels, Belgium

26 April 2010

With an increasing world population and precious finite natural resources, World Intellectual Property day allows us the opportunity to reflect on how innovation can help meet these challenges by providing strong protective regimes for the rights of creators and fostering a successful knowledge economy.

 

The plant science industry is focused on developing innovative crop protection and plant biotechnology products that enable farmers to grow crops in a more sustainable and productive way. As agricultural technology developers design new tools and plant varieties for farmers, CropLife International encourages robust intellectual property protections including, the continued protection of regulatory data, patent eligibility, and global patent enforcement.

 

“In observance of World Intellectual Property Day, CropLife International encourages governments to consider the critical and positive role intellectual property has on helping to ensure food security, sustainable agricultural practices, and ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” says Howard Minigh, president and CEO of CropLife International. “Agricultural innovation has played — and will continue to play — a significant role in increasing crop productivity and enabling farmers to be better stewards of the land. Continued innovation must be encouraged through strong intellectual property protection.”

 

For the plant science industry to continue its investment in technologies for the next generation, governments must continue to protect regulatory data and ensure patent eligibility. These protections are not only a recognition of the resources involved in bringing a new product to market, but are also a tool for increasing investment and competitiveness in emerging markets.

 

Intellectual property protections help to safeguard farmers and consumers as well. Strict enforcement of strong intellectual property laws helps to ensure that harmful counterfeit products do not reach the market. Counterfeit crop protection products are not only an intellectual property violation; they present a serious food safety, environment, and human health risk.

 

To learn more about the role of intellectual property in enabling plant science innovation and safeguarding health, visit http://www.cropnewsnetwork.com/intellectual-property/

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16636&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.29  Perceptions on the holistic assessment of next-generation genetically engineered crops

 

 

 

April 2011

Briardo Llorente, Fernando Bravo-Almonacid, Hector N. Torres, Mirtha M. Flawia and Guillermo D. Alonso

 

Consumers increasingly demand improved food quality; hence researchers are developing next-generation GE crops to provide food with enhanced quality or tailored properties to match these demands. Scientific studies demonstrating the benefits of GE quality-enhanced crops-not just speculations-could positively impact public perception. Additionally, because sensory qualities can be an important determinant of the public acceptance of new foods, assessing consumer perception of the GE crops should be included in the development of quality-improved crops. This review provides a brief overview of some recent studies in which these topics were addressed by applying different approaches in GE potato, tomato, carrot, and lettuce cultivars.

 

Full paper

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=15905&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: Source: ISB News Report - April 2011

http://www.isb.vt.edu/news/2011/Apr11.pdf

via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.30  Latin American effort to rejuvenate crop collections rooted in the origins of agriculture

 

Global partnerships to protect thousands of varieties from threats ranging from climate change to volcanic eruption

 

SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA (7 April 2011)—Crop specialists in Central America announced today that a major rescue effort is underway in one of the heartlands of ancient agriculture to regenerate thousands of unique varieties of coffee, tomatoes, chili peppers, beans and other major crops through a partnership between the Global Crop Diversity Trust and 19 Latin American genebanks.

 

One of the oldest collections targeted by the project is Costa Rica's Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y EnseĖanza (CATIE). An array of challenges—including the installation of a new power line that uprooted a unique peach palm collection and a nearby volcano that recently rumbled back to life—pose threats to some 11,400 samples held either as seed or conserved as whole plants in the field.

 

"It is critical to protect as much variety as possible in the crops that sustain the Americas," said William Solano who is running the regeneration project at CATIE. "Many of the crops we grow—the same ones that allowed the Maya and Aztec to expand and thrive— have been cultivated in this region for thousands of years and the yield potential that they show today is strongly tied to their genetic diversity."

 

The rescue work in Latin America is part of a global effort in 88 countries—including 18 in Latin America and the Caribbean—in which the Trust is working with over 131 partner organisations to rescue, regenerate and evaluate endangered crop collections. Duplicates of the materials are being sent to international genebanks and to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic. The wide array of crop traits contained in these genebanks provides the critical raw material plant breeders require to develop new varieties that allow farmers to overcome threats to food production, such as plant disease, plant pests and, increasingly, climate change.

 

"Many people think of places like Costa Rica in terms of the rich biodiversity of its tropical forests, but equally valuable is the stunning diversity of crop varieties in this region and their contribution to food security worldwide," said Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Trust. "We should be working as hard to protect the diversity in agriculture, which directly sustains us, as we do diversity in any other vulnerable ecosystem."

 

Crop experts at CATIE have been working full-time to bring seed, some of it more than 50 years old, out of storage and into the field. The goal is to plant it and produce fresh seed. Then, one set of new samples will be deposited with CATIE, and another at an international genebank, where it can serve as a back-up to CATIE's holdings and also be more widely available to plant breeders and farmers around the world. A third set will be sent to Svalbard, to provide the ultimate guarantee of safety.

 

"We know some of the seeds in the collection are likely to be no longer viable, which is why it is urgent that we move now to secure and refresh the majority that is still alive," Solano said.

 

While the threats to CATIE's collection can be as ordinary as a broken refrigeration system or a budget cut, Solano and his colleagues are particularly concerned about a more dramatic danger: visible from its test fields, which are located about 60 kilometers from San Jose, is the Turrialba volcano. In 2010, it erupted for the first time in 100 years and is threatening to spill hot ash or possibly cause flooding or earthquakes.

 

CATIE maintains one of the world's most diverse collections of Arabica coffee—a major cash crop for the Americas. Some of the samples were collected decades ago in Ethiopia and East Africa. One variety originating from the collection, known as Geisha, is now sold as a boutique coffee in Taiwan and Japan. CATIE is working to better secure its coffee seeds by storing them at very low temperatures through a process known as cryopreservation.

 

CATIE is also working with the Trust to rescue a major collection of peach palm, which had to be uprooted to make way for a power line. CATIE has used its collection of peach palm, a fruit that has been popular in Latin America since pre-Columbian times, to develop a high-quality commercial crop now grown throughout the region. CATIE scientists took the growing tissue from each uprooted tree to be cultured and conserved in the laboratory so that eventually they can be replanted at another location.

 

Other crops targeted for rescue include unique varieties of tomatoes, yam, cassava, sapote, squash and chili peppers. Some of the samples have been part of the collection since the 1940s, when CATIE was established.

 

CATIE is also working with national programmes in the region to help them regenerate their maize and bean collections. Seed collections in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama are being taken out of storage, grown out and studied for the first time in several decades. This has proved an essential exercise, since in many cases, little was known about the varieties in the collections and where the crops would thrive. "We had to grow the maize varieties from our collection in both the highlands and the lowlands to work out where they originally came from," says Aura Elena Suchini, curator of the collection at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícolas (ICTA) in Guatemala.

 

Across the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, the rejuvenation project focuses on collections of unique varieties of maize, beans, cassava, faba bean, sweet potato and yam, important dietary staples not just for the Latin America but for millions around the world.

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/bc-lae040511.php

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.31  Big business of biodiversity is dependent on seed

 

Western Australia

April 27, 2011

Seed banks must become more than ‘stamp-collections’ of species if global conservation efforts are to be successful, according to two eminent plant biologists.

 

They write in Science this week that effective seed banks are essential to stemming the tide of extinction and environmental degradation.

 

Dr David Merritt, an honorary adjunct lecturer in The University of Western Australia’s School of Plant Biology and Professor Kingsley Dixon, Director of Kings Park and Botanic Garden and a UWA Permanent Visiting Professor, write that seeds are the primary tool for reintroducing plant species.

 

“But effectively using seeds of wild species in contemporary restoration is facing a crisis of scale. Most of the world’s seed banks dedicated to wild species have seed holdings that are barely sufficient to provide seed for but a few percent of the areas in need,” they write.

 

“The restoration of nature, natural assets, and biodiversity, is now a global business worth at least $1.6 trillion annually and likely to grow substantially.

 

“We propose that seed banks need to shift from being ‘stamp-collections’ to collections that can deliver restoration-ready seeds at the scale of a metric ton and larger.”

 

Beyond the core skills of collection and storage of germplasm (a species’ hereditary material) seed banks need to engage in rigorous science-based restoration-use of germplasm, seed farming, and training and information dissemination.

 

“Connecting science to the community is particularly important, with opportunities at a local scale to develop traditional foods and medicines into the restoration palette through traditional ecological knowledge.”

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16628&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.32  Could crop ancestors feed the world?

 

26 April 2011

 

The race is on to develop and test improved crop varieties to feed the world's growing population — and help may lie in Syria's wild plants.

 

Many of the first crops emerged in Syria, where humans are thought to have first discovered agriculture some 11,000 years ago. Emmer wheat, barley, chickpea, pea and lentil crops all originated here.

 

Researchers from around the world are flocking to the Arabian desert to create crops for an increasingly bleak future, as obstacles to food production stack up, according to COSMOS Magazine.

 

Climate change; depletion of phosphorous supplies; the drying out of water basins; competition with biofuels for land; and the reliance on oil for nitrogen fertiliser production are all challenging the status quo, according to Kenneth Street, an agriculturalist and genetic resource scientist at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) .

As a result, many researchers have turned to breeding techniques that import useful traits from wild varieties — the ancestors of domestic crops.

 

Although humans have only ever bred small numbers of the best-yielding varieties of crops, hundreds of thousands of species that our ancestors didn't pick contain genes that have enabled them to grow in one of the world's harshest climates, enduring droughts, high salinity and temperature variations.

 

If some of these genes could now be introduced to high-yielding crops they could provide them with an urgently needed boost.

 

To speed up this process, which normally takes up to 12 years, researchers are now looking at new technologies. For example, the Focussed Identification of Germplasm Strategy approach informs researchers where to look for certain traits by examining the environment from which the seed was collected.

 

"For example, if we're looking for a drought resistant crop, we're going to look in low rainfall environments in which the seasonal rainfall is highly variable — this type of environment may have forced local populations to evolve towards physiological drought tolerance," says Street.

 

Another initiative is to look for new molecular markers, which are common for some crops, such as wheat and barley, but largely unknown for others, such as chickpeas.

 

Genetic modification could also help reduce the length of time to breed new varieties, from 12 to two years, he said, but public concerns over the consequences for health and the environment may mean it never takes off.

 

"[GM] technology will never replace normal breeding — you're only going to use [it] when you don't have any other way of getting the trait," says Muhammad Imtiaz, senior chickpea breeder at ICARDA.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16735&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: COSMOS Magazine via SeedQuest.com

 

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1.33  Scientists aim to improve photosynthesis to increase food and fuel production

 

 

 

United Kingdom

March 31, 2011

Scientists in the UK and USA have today (28 March) been awarded funding totalling £6.11M/$10.3M to improve the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis allows biological systems to convert sunlight into food and the source of all the fossil fuels we burn today. Four transatlantic research teams will explore ways to overcome limitations in photosynthesis which could then lead to ways of significantly increasing the yield of important crops for food production or sustainable bioenergy.

 

This research could possibly even lead to the blueprint to make a fully artificial leaf capable of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

 

The funding has been awarded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in a pioneering undertaking for the best minds from the USA and UK to join forces to explore this important research. Despite the fact that Photosynthesis is the basis of energy capture from the sun in plants, algae and other organisms it has some fundamental limitations.

 

Professor Janet Allen, Director of Research at BBSRC, said "Photosynthesis has evolved in plants, algae and some other bacteria and in each case the mechanism does the best possible job for the organism in question. However, there are trade-offs in nature which mean that photosynthesis is not as efficient as it could be - for many important crops such as wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beet, the theoretical maximum is only 5%, depending on how it is measured. There is scope to improve it for processes useful to us, for example increasing the amount of food crop or energy biomass a plant can produce from the same amount of sunlight.

 

"This is hugely ambitious research but if the scientists we are supporting can achieve their aims it will be a profound achievement."

 

Each team includes scientists from a range of disciplines and from both the UK and US. This means the projects can draw on the best expertise and infrastructure from each nation. This approach will build links between the scientific communities and lay the foundations for future collaborations.

 

Three of the research projects will focus on improving a reaction driven by an enzyme called RuBisCO, which is a widely recognised bottleneck in the photosynthesis pathway. By attempting to transfer parts from algae and bacteria into plants, the researchers hope to make the environment in the plants' cells around RuBisCO richer in carbon dioxide which will allow photosynthesis to produce sugars more efficiently.

 

The fourth project aims to harness the excess light energy that reaches photosynthetic organisms but cannot be used due to bottlenecks in natural photosynthesis. This project aims to transfer high energy electrons from a cyanobacterial cell where there is excess that would otherwise be turned to heat to an adjacent cell which will be engineered to produce food or fuel products.

 

"Photosynthesis is essential for life on Earth," said Joann Roskoski, NSF's Acting Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. "By providing food and generating oxygen, it has made our planet hospitable for life. This process is also critical in addressing the food and fuel challenges of the future. For decades, NSF has invested in photosynthesis research projects that range from biophysical studies to ecosystem analyses at a macroscale. The Ideas Lab in photosynthesis was an opportunity to stimulate and support different types of projects than what we have in our portfolio in order to address a critical bottleneck to enhancing the photosynthetic process."

 

Prof Allen continued: "The world faces significant challenges in the coming decades - and chief among these is producing enough sustainable and affordable food for a growing population and replacing diminishing fossil fuels. Even a small change to the efficiency of photosynthesis would make a huge impact on these problems. As these are global challenges it is apt that we are working across national and scientific boundaries to put together truly international and multidisciplinary research teams."

 

The four research projects have been funded by BBSRC and NSF following a multidisciplinary workshop held by the funders in California in September 2010. The workshop, called the Ideas Lab, enabled scientists from different disciplines and institutions in the UK and USA to explore ideas and potential projects before submitting them to BBSRC and NSF.

 

The projects are:

Š         CAPP (Combining algal and plant photosynthesis) - University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre, Oxford Brookes University, Carnegie Institute of Washington. Total funding: £1.25M

Š         EPP (Exploiting prokaryotic proteins to improve plant photosynthetic efficiency) - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rothamsted Research, Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley. Total funding: £1.36M

Š         MAGIC (Multi-level Approaches for Generating Increased CO2) - University of Glasgow, University of Cambridge, University of Warwick, Penn State University, University of California, Berkeley. Total funding: £1.6M

Š         Plug and Play Photosynthesis for RuBisCO independent fuels - University of Glasgow, Arizona State University, University of Southampton, Imperial College London, Penn State University, Michigan State University, Emory University School of Medicine. Total funding: £1.9M

Š          

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=15946&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.34  What are the prospects for genetic improvement in drought-tolerant crop plants?

 

Madrid, Spain

April 25, 2011

La Fundación para la Agricultura y la Vida Rural (FARM) francesa ha publicado recientemente un informe titulado “ņCuáles son las perspectivas para el mejoramiento genético de plantas tolerantes a sequía?” (What are the prospects for genetic improvement in drought-tolerant crop plants?). El documento profundiza en la investigación y desarrollo actual de estas nuevas variedades, así como la proyección de éstas ante los retos agrarios y alimenticios del futuro. El informe concluye que los cultivos transgénicos resistentes a sequía podrían tener un impacto significativo al dar respuesta a los retos de suministro alimenticio y la adaptación de los cultivos ante el cambio climático.

 

El estudio es el resultado de una encuesta realizada por científicos expertos en Biología Vegetal entre los principales agentes que trabajan en la investigación y desarrollo de nuevas variedades mejoradas genéticamente tanto en Francia, Kenya como Estados Unidos. En primer lugar se hizo una exhaustiva recopilación de información sobre el tema para posteriormente realizar las encuestas en laboratorios, equipos científicos de investigación, organismos públicos y empresas del sector privado.

 

El informe concluye que el objetivo no es lograr una única variedad transgénica resistente a sequía, los científicos trabajan, y han de seguir trabajando, para desarrollar variedades que se adapten de la mejor forma posible a las condiciones climatológicas locales donde se vaya a producir el cultivo.

 

Además, no hay que perder de vista que, según refleja el estudio, los cultivos transgénicos resistentes a sequía no son la solución a todos los problemas, es un paso necesario y efectivo para asegurar el suministro alimenticio del futuro, para permitir que la actividad agrícola siga siendo productiva, y para luchar activamente contra los efectos del cambio climático.

 

Los estudios han demostrado que estas variedades pueden lograr en condiciones de sequía un incremento productivo de entre el 6% y el 10% respecto a variedades convencionales. El maíz es la planta más estudiada para su respuesta ante situaciones de sequía, aunque ya se están haciendo investigaciones en muchos más cultivos como la caĖa de azúcar.

 

El informe concluye que la tolerancia a la sequía es uno de los principales retos para el futuro del planeta. Un reto que merece un planteamiento ambicioso e internacional con el apoyo de la comunidad científica.

 

- What are the prospects for genetic improvement in drought-tolerant crop plants?

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16532&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.35  Iowa State University research leads to understanding of how crops deal with stress – yield’s biggest enemy

 

Ames, Iowa, USA

April 25, 2011

Like people, plants experience stress. And also, like people, the response to that stress can determine success.

 

People can exercise, or rest, or talk about the problem.

 

For plants, ways to deal with stress are internal. And Iowa State University (ISU) researchers are trying to understand how they do it.

 

Stephen Howell is a professor of genetics, development and cell biology and former director of the Plant Sciences Institute at ISU. His research is featured in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

 

"We've discovered a new arm of the pathway by which plants activate a response to environmental stress," he said.

 

Adverse environmental conditions, such as drought, flood, heat and other stresses, affect yield more than crop pests and diseases. Finding a way to maintain high yields for plants under stress is a goal of plant breeders and other agriculture stakeholders, said Howell.

 

"These are environmental stresses that the farmers can't control," Howell said. "They are acts of nature. And now seed companies are interested in trying to equip plants with the ability to tolerate stress."

 

Plant cells produce proteins and ship them to different parts of the cell. During production and shipment, these proteins move through an area of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

 

Under normal conditions, these proteins are folded into their normal, healthy three-dimensional structures as they are produced.

 

When a plant is under stress, its cells produce poorly folded or unfolded proteins. Inside the ER, a built-in, quality-control system senses this and "sets off an alarm in the cell," said Howell.

 

In response to the alarm, another protein (IRE1) cuts apart an important RNA molecule, but then splices it back together to create a different sequence.

 

This cut-and-splice event activates a cascade of stress response genes whose products bring about internal defensive measures that help the plant survive.

 

"As it turns out, responses that are activated under stress conditions actually inhibit the growth of plants," said Howell. "This allows them to conserve their energy to survive the stress conditions."

 

For plants in the wild, this response is a survival tactic, he said.

 

In production agriculture crops, however, these responses reduce yields.

 

"You don't want crop plants to [stop growing]," Howell said. "You want them to continue to grow and produce even though they are under stress."

 

With the new understanding of this stress response pathway, Howell says, the next step may be to silence the alarm system.

 

"What may be important is to disable some of these stress responses," said Howell. "That may make the plant be more productive under stress conditions."

 

Howell's research team included Yan Deng and Renu Srivastava, both of the Plant Sciences Institute, Ames; Sabrina Humbert and Steven Rothstein, both of University of Guelph, Canada; and Jian-Xiang Liu formerly of the Plant Sciences Institute and now a faculty member at Fudan University, China.

 

Howell is currently on leave from ISU and is director of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences for the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16558&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.36  Starch-controlling gene fuels more protein in soybean plants

 

Ames, Iowa, USA

April 7, 2011

A newly discovered gene introduced into soybean plants has increased the amount of protein in the plant's seed and could hold promise for helping meet nutritional needs of a hungry world.

 

Eve Wurtele, professor of genetics, development and cell biology; and Ling Li, an adjunct assistant professor and an associate scientist working in her laboratory, have placed a gene found only in Arabidopsis plants into soybean plants and increased the amount of protein in the soybean seeds by 30 to 60 percent.

 

The results were a pleasant surprise to the researchers as the function of the gene, known as QQS, in the Arabidopsis was previously unclear because its sequence is very dissimilar from all other plant genes.

 

"Most genes contain clues in their DNA sequence as to their biological function," said Wurtele. "But this one has no sequence features that gave us any hint of what it's doing."

 

When the researchers neutralized the gene in Arabidopsis, they discovered the gene was involved in regulating starch accumulation, called deposition.

 

"Based on the changes in activities of other genes that occurred when we altered QQS, we conjectured that it wasn't directly involved in starch synthesis, but rather it may be involved in altering [the plant's] composition in general," said Wurtele. "We decided to test this concept by transferring the gene to an agronomically important plant species, soybean, which has a seed and is important as a source of vegetable protein and oil."

 

"We found that the QQS transgene increased protein production in the soybean seed," she added. "That was the best possible scenario."

 

In addition to having a DNA sequence that is not similar to any other gene in that or any other plant, the gene is also unusual because it has only 59 amino acids, Li said. The median size of a gene in Arabidopsis plants is 346 amino acids.

 

Li discovered the gene in 2004 and named it for her daughter.

 

"My daughter was a half-year old. This gene was so small and my daughter was so small," Li laughs. "QQ is my daughter's nickname in Chinese."

 

In addition to altering the protein-producing qualities of the gene, Wurtele hopes that the discovery may lead to greater understanding of other genes that don't have recognizable functionalities based on their sequences.

 

"This may give us an insight into the other genes with obscure features and provide us a window as to how they function," she said.

 

Wurtele hopes the discovery may help people in areas who survive on protein-deficient diets.

 

"We were so pleased [the gene] altered composition in soybean," she said. "What if this basic research discovery could lead to increased protein content in potatoes, cassava, or other crop species that are staples to people in developing nations?

 

"That would be better than I imagined."

 

This research is supported in part by funding from the National Science Foundation and Iowa State University's Plant Science Institute.

 

This patent-pending technology is available for licensing from the Iowa State University Research Foundation, which also provided technology development funds.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=15972&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.37  New technique improves sensitivity of PCR pathogen detection

 

Washington, DC, USA

April 21, 2011

A new procedure devised by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and colleagues can improve polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods of detecting plant disease organisms.

 

PCR-based tests are prized tools for diagnosing plant diseases that can cause yield losses and diminished markets among other economic harm. But the test's ability to obtain a "genetic fingerprint" conclusively identifying a culprit pathogen hinges on there being a minimum number of its cells. Otherwise, the pathogen's genetic material can't be probed and multiplied in amounts necessary for detection, explains plant pathologist Norm Schaad, formerly with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

 

Such diagnostic shortcomings can be especially costly when asymptomatic seed or plants intended for sale are certified as pathogen-free when, in fact, they are not, adds Schaad. He worked at the ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Frederick, Md., prior to retiring last year.

 

To tackle the problem, Schaad and colleagues Nikolas Panopoulos and Efstathios Hatziloukas devised a preliminary step called Bio-PCR. It uses growth-promoting agar or liquid media to increase the number of a target organism's cells in a sample prior to amplification of genetic material. In four to 72 hours, depending on the pathogen, the cells make thousands of new copies, enabling detection by direct PCR, according to Schaad.

 

Besides increasing sensitivity by 100- to 1,000-fold over conventional PCR methods, the enrichment technique stops substances called inhibitors from interfering with the action of a key enzyme, Taq polymerase.

 

Bio-PCR works best with fast-growing bacteria such as Ralstonia solanacearum, which causes bacterial wilt of potato and tomato, and Acidovorax avenae, which causes bacterial fruit blotch of watermelon. However, Bio-PCR also improves detection of slow-growing pathogens such as Xylella fastidiosa, responsible for Pierce's disease of grapes and leaf scorch of shade trees.

 

In studies with X. fastidiosa, Bio-PCR detected the bacterium in 90 percent of infected grape samples compared to 13 percent with conventional PCR methods.

Read more about this research in the April 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16396&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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1.38  Production of viable gametes without meiosis in maize

 

Apomixis is a form of asexual reproduction wherein plants bypass meiosis and fertilization and develop offsprings that are genetically identical to their mother. To evaluate the possibility of inducing apomixis in maize, Manjit Singh from Plant Genome and Development Laboratory, France, and other scientists set up a genetic screen for identification of dominant mutants that copy apomictic development.

 

They identified a dominant mutation resulting in the formation of functional unreduced gametes. The mutant exhibits defective chromatin condensation during cell division which led to a failure to segregate chromosomes. The mutated locus codes for protein AGO104, which accumulates in body cells near the female meiocyte. This protein is similar with the characteristics of Arabidopsis thaliana AGO9 protein, but AGO9 repress germ cell fate in somatic tissues, while AGO104 in germ cells.

 

The findings of this study suggest that interfering with the repression mechanism of the proteins could lead to apomixis-like phenotypes in maize.

 

Read the abstract at http://www.plantcell.org/content/23/2/443.abstract

 

Source: Crop Biotech Update 01 April 2011

 

Contributed by Margaret Smith

Dept of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University

Mes25@cornell.edu

 

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1.39  Maize: It’s in the Genes - Study identifies association mapping as a way to improve the global food security in international maize production

 

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

April 28, 2011

Maize is one of the top three cereal crops in the world, and it benefits from having over a century of research directed towards its development. Corn that is high-yield, nutritionally enhanced, tolerant of both drought and flooding, and resistant to diseases and insects exist because of this research.

 

Producing high-yield maize crops using sustainable methods is challenging, as varieties need to be developed quickly and efficiently to combat the changing climate and the increasing world demand for food.

 

Scientists at theInternational Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, the China Agricultural University,and the USDA Agricultureal Research Service have reviewed state-of-the-art association mapping ofmaize, and the factors that will allow for the maximum impact of this new tool in gene discovery studies and practical maizeimprovement programs.

 

“Association mapping remains complementary to, rather than a replacement for, linkage mapping and other gene identification and validation techniques. The integration of linkage mapping and association mapping approaches offers substantial opportunity to resolve the individual constraints of each approach while synergizing their respective strengths,” says Jianbing Yan, one of the study’s authors.

 

Yan and other researchers have compiled and accounted for all known published literature on the topic and can illustrate the conditions that would promote association mapping and allow improved corn varieties to efficiently reach farmers across the globe. Association mapping can identify the genes needed to increase crop yields without the need to increase irrigation or the use of fungicides.

 

Research is ongoing at these institutions to apply the results of other challenges food production faces like improved nutrition, grain yield, drought tolerance, and resistance to toxic fungal pathogens. The full review paper appears in the March-April 2011 issue of Crop Science. The study was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Hitech Research and Development Program of China.

 

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/abstracts/51/2/433.

 

Crop Science is the flagship journal of the Crop Science Society of America. Original research is peer-reviewed and published in this highly cited journal. It also contains invited review and interpretation articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in crop science. For more information, visit www.crops.org/publications/cs

 

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

 

Association Mapping for Enhancing Maize (Zea mays L.) Genetic Improvement

Jianbing Yan, Marilyn Warburton and Jonathan Crouch

 

ABSTRACT

 

Association mapping through linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis is a powerful tool for the dissection of complex agronomic traits and for the identification of alleles that can contribute to the enhancement of a target trait. With the developments of high throughput genotyping techniques and advanced statistical approaches as well as the assembling and characterization of multiple association mapping panels, maize has become the model crop for association analysis. In this paper, we summarize progress in maize association mapping and the impacts of genetic diversity, rate of LD decay, population size, and population structure. We also review the use of candidate genes and gene-based markers in maize association mapping studies that has generated particularly promising results. In addition, we examine recent developments in genome-wide genotyping techniques that promise to improve the power of association mapping and significantly refine our understanding of the genetic architecture of complex quantitative traits. The new challenges and opportunities associated with genome-wide analysis studies are discussed. In conclusion, we review the current and future impacts of association mapping on maize improvement along with the potential benefits for poor people in developing countries who are dependent on this crop for their food security and livelihoods.

Link

 

 http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16728&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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2  PUBLICATIONS

 

2.01  Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources -- Legume Crops and Forages

 

Kole, Chittaranjan (Ed.)

1st Edition., 2011, XXV, 321 p.

 

Š         Hardcover, ISBN 978-3-642-14386-1

Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days

149,95 Ř

 

About this book

Wild crop relatives are now playing a significant part in the elucidation and improvement of the genomes of their cultivated counterparts. This work includes comprehensive examinations of the status, origin, distribution, morphology, cytology, genetic diversity and available genetic and genomic resources of numerous wild crop relatives, as well as of their evolution and phylogenetic relationship. Further topics include their role as model plants, genetic erosion and conservation efforts, and their domestication for the purposes of bioenergy, phytomedicines, nutraceuticals and phytoremediation. Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources comprises 10 volumes on Cereals, Millets and Grasses, Oilseeds, Legume Crops and Forages, Vegetables, Temperate Fruits, Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, Industrial Crops, Plantation and Ornamental Crops, and Forest Trees. It contains 125 chapters written by nearly 400 well-known authors from about 40 countries.

 

Keywords » Genomics resources - Nutraceuticals - Phytomedicine - Plant cultivation - Plant domestication

 

Table of contents / Preface / Sample pages 

Š         Download Table of contents (pdf, 40 kB)

Š         Download Preface 1 (pdf, 55 kB)

Download Sample pages 1 (pdf, 399 kB)

 

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2.02  New GTZ publication : "Triggering the Synergies between Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity"

 

Geneva, Switzerland

April 19, 2011

A new book published by GTZ, the German federal agency for international development, looks at the synergies between intellectual property rights and biodiversity, gathering analysis from Latin America, southern Africa and Asia experts.

 

The book looks at recent developments in key intellectual property and biodiversity-related policy processes, such as those taking place at the World Trade Organization, United Nations Convention On Biological Diversity, UN World Intellectual Property Organization, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The book means to open a dialogue between forums where the relationship between biodiversity and IP is discussed.

 

It also presents practical experiences with access and benefit sharing and the protection of traditional knowledge, and explores disclosure and legal provenance provisions in intellectual property laws.

 

The book was presented and discussed at the 10th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, according to the website.

 

The publication can be downloaded here.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16322&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: Intellectual Property Watch via SeedQuest.com

 

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2.03  Global Harvest Initiative publishes policy issue brief addressing the need for action on global hunger, food security

 

Washington, DC, USA

April 20, 2011

The Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) today released the first of five policy issue briefs bringing a global focus to meeting the agricultural needs of a rapidly growing global population by increasing the rate of agricultural productivity; a recent GHI report suggests that the rate of agricultural productivity must increase at a minimum of 25 percent per year to meet future demand and double output over the next 40 years.

 

The policy issue brief, “Improving Agricultural Research Funding, Structure and Collaboration,” describes the notable returns on agricultural research and the role of research as a primary source of the innovation and productivity gains necessary to sustainably grow more and better food, help alleviate global poverty and hunger, and address food security issues.

 

The issue brief also highlights key research areas such as more efficient water use and the reduction of post-harvest losses, and notes that public sector research investments must be on par with private sector research to achieve significant increases in the rate of production worldwide.

 

“If we are to feed the nine billion people that will share this planet by 2050, we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000, and research will be critical,” said Dr. Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund Senior Vice President of Market Transformation. “Research is a first step in acquiring data to measure our real impact and identify alternatives. Half of the world's farmers are producing below average results and cannot even feed their own families. Learning how to leverage research and data is critical to stimulate innovation, identify new ideas and improve productivity.” World Wildlife Fund is one of several consultative partners that share GHI’s goal of sustainably closing the global agricultural productivity gap.

 

“With a surging global population and new demands on food crops, the inadequate and declining support for basic food and agricultural research must be addressed quickly, as the research process takes a minimum of ten years from laboratory to field. We must also find the means to enhance research and fund the organizations that facilitate research. By focusing on agricultural research and other key policies we can begin to address hunger and food security issues by sustainably increasing the rate of agricultural productivity without the use of more land, water or other inputs,” said Dr. William G. Lesher, Global Harvest Initiative Executive Director.

 

Subsequent GHI issue briefs will address trade, development assistance, science-based technologies, and private investment. The issue brief released today and more information about GHI can be found at http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org.

 

The Global Harvest Initiative is a public-private partnership established in 2009 under the common goal of sustainably closing the global agricultural productivity gap worldwide. Further support is welcome from public and private sector entities sharing our goal.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16391&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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2.04  Four case studies on plant breeding now available online from the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)

 

Evolving a plant breeding and seed system in sub-Saharan Africa in an era of donor dependence

 This report presents a review of the status of plant breeding in sub-Saharan Africa based on the snapshot studies of the production systems of rice, maize,cassava, beans and vegetables in three countries, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. While detailing the progress that has been made over the years, the report portrays the constrained capacity of the public sector in providing resources for breeding programs. The report also highlights the critical importance of donor funding to agricultural research and development at the national, subregional and continental levels. Quite importantly, it is evident that sub-regional crop breeding networks have proved effective in linking research in international agricultural research centers (IARC) with available capacity in national programmes, a synergistic relationship that has led to the development and release of many improved crop varieties. Regarding the delivery of high quality seeds and planting materials of the improved varieties to growers, the report highlights inherent weaknesses. For instance, in general, the production of foundation seeds is not organized and lacks clear lines of responsibility and adequate investments to ensure sustainability. The emerging increasingly important roles of the private seed companies is envisaged to provide the needed complementarities to the work of the IARCs and thus ensure that new varieties are readily accessed by the growers through a responsive seed system architecture.

Download the sub-Saharan Africa case study here

 

The Strategic Role of Plant Breeding in Uruguay: Analysis Through an Agricultural Innovation System Framework

 This report details the adoption in Uruguay of an Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) in its crop production systems. This was a strategic means for enhancing competitiveness especially given its proximity to, and similarities with, Argentina and Brazil, two countries with relatively larger economies and greater technological advancements. The AIS framework highlights the situation of plant breeding as a major component in the dynamic interplay of the policy and economic environments that enable the contributions of the public and private sectors to agricultural productivity in the country. The report also showcases the leveraging of appropriate agricultural technologies and knowledge in the context of the AIS framework in Uruguay. Rice production, characterized by a farming system that is closely linked to livestock production in a rice-pasture system is presented as an example of the successful integration of crop production within an AIS framework. Other examples of competitive crop production systems functioning within the AIS framework in Uruguay include barley breeding for malt quality and disease resistance in response to the requirements of the malting industry. Wheat production, intended for export in a global market, is also highlighted as another example. The development of new and improved varieties of maize and soybean has been taken over by the private sector with soybean production being largely driven by Argentinian investments for the export market.

Download the Uruguay case study here

 

The Dynamic Tension between Public and Private Plant Breeding in Thailand

This case study reviews the history and current status of plant breeding and seed systems for maize, cassava and rice in Thailand. While the public sector plays a key role in providing human capital and research base,  it fails to address the needs of rising competitiveness in the private sector. The private sector focuses on developing breeding programs for hybrid rice, maize and horticultural crops while the public sector continues its research on cassava and Jasmine rice in the rainfed and lowland ecologies. A major portion of Thai investments in agricultural research and development has been in the development of biotechnology capacities especially through university programs. The resulting enhancement in biotechnology applications has however been at the expense of conventional plant breeding. Also, institutional barriers have constrained the establishment of linkages between biotechnology and crop breeding practitioners. Furthermore, with the first and second generations of plant breeders retiring, demand for conventional breeding will remain high in the medium term. As a conclusion, it has been shown that Thailand has a strong potential as a major exporter of certified seed to regional markets. To sustain the impetus and maintain competitiveness, public sector plant breeding strategies must evolve and complement the continually increasing investments in the private sector.

Download the Thailand case study here

 

Plant Breeding and Seed Systems for Rice, Vegetables, Maize and Pulses in Bangladesh

 This case study features the success story of effective plant breeding and seed systems in Bangladesh. The country became nearly self-sufficient in rice production in 1971 as a result of the adoption of high yielding varieties underpinned by flood protection measures, new irrigation techniques, efficient use of fertilizers and the access to rural financial credit schemes. Despite the dominant role of the public sector in agricultural research and development (R&D), private commercial companies are increasingly taking advantage of requisite enabling policy frameworks to invest in both R&D and the production and marketing of agricultural inputs. The multiplication and marketing of some varieties of these staple crops is being undertaken largely by the private sector while it is envisaged that, going by the current trends, the public sector’s roles will increasingly focus on the regulatory aspects of the value chain such as the registration of crop varieties and seed certification. The study also revealed that both private and public organizations in Bangladesh are collaborating with international agricultural research centers, multi-national companies and the emerging economies of China, India and Thailand to access breeding materials, knowledge, technology and, in some cases,  released varieties for cultivation in the country.

Download the Bangladesh case study here

 

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2.05  Two new studies on rust published and available online from the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)

 

State of knowledge on breeding for durable resistance to soybean rust disease in the developing world

 

The global production of soybean (Glycine max L.), an important source of nutrients for both humans and livestock, is threatened by the rapidly spreading soybean rust disease (SRD) caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi. Host plant resistance is considered the most effective control measure for pests and diseases of crops.  This review provides general information on soybean rust, worldwide disease threats and reports on effective resistance breeding approaches. It also provides perspectives on future strategies for ensuring the durability of resistance; these include the broadening of the genetic base of breeding materials through pre-breeding activities  and the use of marker-aided selection to facilitate the development of resistant varieties.

Download the full text document.

 

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Sustainable Wheat Rust Resistance- Learning from history

The production of wheat, the world’s most widely grown cereal and a major staple food, is severely constrained by wheat rusts, a disease caused by species of the fungus, Puccinia that is capable of causing yield losses of up to 80%. A new race of stem rust was discovered in East Africa in 1999; it is spreading rapidly across national boundaries and has the potentials for overcoming most of the rust resistance genes in currently grown varieties. This development, with the possibility of leading to a major crisis in the production of this crop has therefore engendered international collaborations for devising effective control measures. The development of durable host resistance is considered the control measure of choice. As a contribution to these efforts, this review presents the history of wheat rust epidemics, proposes ways for breeding for durable resistance, including pre-breeding and marker aided selection, and suggests approaches for the deployment of new resistant varieties in sustainable manners.  The case is also made for greater involvement of the private sector in wheat varietal development.

Download the full text document.

 

Also available through the GIPB website: http://km.fao.org/gipb/

 

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2.06  PGR CWR ETC Acronyms

 

From the EUCARPIA Conference – Wageningen April 2011

http://users.skynet.be/watermael/miscellaneous/PGR_CWR_Acronyms.pdf

 

This is a list of all (or at least most of) the acronyms that I have found in the papers of the European Plant Genetic Resources Conference 2011. The idea came from Anke van den Hurk's talk on "CBD, ITPGRFA, ABS and other Acronyms"; I think that their acronyms give a feeling for the technical matters that are preoccupying the PGR community (as at springtime 2011,in Europe).

 

Contributed by Richard Hardwick

RCH@SKYNET.BE

 

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2.07  Journal explores translational seed biology

 

Advances in seed biology are the focus of a just-released special issue of Plant Science. Co-edited by Professors Kent Bradford and John Harada, the issue explores topics discussed at the 2007 Plant Sciences symposium on “Translational Seed Biology: From Model Systems to Crop Improvement.” The symposium, which Bradford and Harada co-organized, brought together leading public and private sector scientists to discuss the advances in seed biology and identify the remaining challenges to be explored. Working with researchers involved in this event, Bradford and Harada have provided views from various aspects of the overall objective of the symposium – to learn fundamentally how seeds are formed, develop and fulfill their reproductive and conservation functions and how that knowledge can be translated into useful applications in agriculture. The co-editors would like to acknowledge the other members of the organizing committee for the symposium and members of USDA-CSREES Regional Research Project W-2168.

 

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3.  WEB AND NETWORKING RESOURCES

 

3.01  Open source software for breeding

 

Tainan, Taiwan

April 15, 2011

International collaborative plant breeding efforts got a boost during a recent five-day workshop organized by AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Generation Challenge program.

 

Held at the ICRISAT campus in Hyderabad, India in the first week of April, the workshop brought together more than 60 plant breeders, researchers, and programmers from around the world who are working on the International Crop Information System (ICIS). This open source suite of software tools can manage data on genetic resources and breeding for any crop.

 

Warwick Easdown and Ramakrishnan Nair from AVRDC’s Regional Center for South Asia and Roland Schlafleitner from AVRDC headquarters attended.

 

During the opening address, Warwick Easdown emphasized the value of software tools for enhancing plant breeding and the need to work more collaboratively across institutions. The ICISdevelopment team has been building breeding tools for 15 years in a spirit of open sharing. It meets periodically to review progress and priorities as user needs and technologies change in the rapidly developing fields of molecular biology and informatics.

 

The ICIS suite of programs is particularly suited to building collaborative breeding projects over the web. It can complement commercial breeding programs and its community of practice helps all participating institutions improve their management of breeding data to produce better varieties more quickly.

 

“I learned a lot from the informatics people at the workshop,” said Ram Nair. “ICIS is one of the ways for us to achieve better networking between breeding programs.” ICIS tools are compatible with the current internal management of AVRDC breeding data, and Roland Schlafleitner observed that ICIS is used by the larger CGIAR centers and it is suited to international data sharing.

 

The workshop, hosted with support from the Australian Center for International Agricultural, included detailed discussions on software development, the management of molecular and pedigree data for breeding decisions, and the use of controlled vocabularies for consistent naming of data between institutions. The activity is the first in a project between AVRDC and ICRISAT to improve the management of breeding data for selected crops. AVRDC will focus on legume data this year, with the aim of developing a broader project with ICRISAT.

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16223&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

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

 

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3.02 All diseases and pests in a single database

 

Wageningen, The Netherlands

April 15, 2011

Researchers and plant breeding companies aim to find the genes responsible for one plant's resistance to all diseases and pests. The project started last Friday.

 

One plant breeding company may carry out research into the resistance of crop X to caterpillars while another investigates the ability of crop Y to withstand viruses. Research into resistance is fragmented as researchers and plant breeding companies are always looking at a single aspect, says Wageningen University entomology professor Marcel Dicke. 'Even though we now know that a plant's resistance to caterpillars affects its resistance to viruses. We need to progress to a system analysis.'

 

That is why researchers and plant breeding companies are now joining forces in the Learning from Nature to protect crops research programme set up by Technology Foundation STW. The aim of this programme, which is costing 6.5 million euros, is to create an overview of the key stress factors for crops, from nematodes and moulds in the soil, and insects and viruses above ground to stress factors like drought, salt and heat. Dicke is the programme's scientific director.

 

All the researchers are working with a plant for which there is already a great deal of information - the model crop Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale-cress - to facilitate comparison of the interaction between the plant and the different sources of disease. Wageningen UR geneticists have now ordered 340 different varieties of thale-cress from all four corners of the world in order to ensure they have as much genetic variation as possible. Seven groups will now go on to screen the thale-cress for specific stress factors. The results will be entered in a central database, after which the bioinformatics scientists among the participants will be able to link properties to genes to their heart's content. The Utrecht researcher Corné Pieterse will expose the thale-cress to several stress factors as he suspects there are plant genes capable of keeping a lid on several diseases.

 

The Wageningen UR groups involved in the programme are Entomology, Nematology, Plant Breeding, Genetics, Plant Physiology and Biometris. They are collaborating with geneticists from Utrecht, Groningen and Amsterdam. There are also eight plant breeding companies and three biotech companies involved, including Keygene, Monsanto and Royal Van Zanten. They are particularly interested in the application of the knowledge to crops like tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and chrysanthemums.

 

http://www.seedquest.com/news.php?type=news&id_article=16245&id_region=&id_category=&id_crop=

 

Source: SeedQuest.com

 

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3.03  Hawaii Foundation Seeds (HFS) announces completion of its website

 

      www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hfs

 

The primarly germplasm collections at HFS are of the genera Zea, Leucaena and Acacia.

 

In the half-century since 1960 Hawaii’s breeders have been collecting and introducing corn and legume germplasm of tropical adapatability and significance. In part this reflects the intent of making these tropical items available to breeders in temperate climates where they cannot easily be grown. These accessions now number around 5000. All have been grown and/or collected in Hawaii, often year-round in the case of corn.

 

Corn accessions include the following (numbers are approximate):

1.       20 field corn synthetics and composites bred in Hawaii

2.       20 sweet corn populations (bt1, sh2, su, wx) bred in Hawaii

3.       1200 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) based on crosses of tropical x temperate inbreds

4.       200 near-isogenic lines (NILs) derived from tropical inbred Hi27 (India’s CM104)

5.       150 field corn inbreds of commercial use or apparent importance

6.       20 supersweet inbreds based on the brittle1 gene used in Hawaii, Australian and Thai hybrids

 

Legume accessions include the following:

1.      800 accessions of the 22 species of American tropical mimosoid genus

      Leucaena, together with many hybrids and selected families

2.      600 collections (half-sib progenies) of the Hawaiian endemic legume Acacia Koa

 

All accessions are open-pedigree and available at cost from HFS.

 

Contributed by James Brewbaker

brewbaker@hawaii.edu

 

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3.04  Biotechnology for sustainability

 

Genetically engineered (GE) crops have been in commercial production since 1996 and much information is available regarding ways they are benefiting farmers and consumers. As global agriculture continues to be challenged to enhance sustainability and reduce pressures on land, water and fuel, studies are showing that GE crops will be one part of the solution. To date, research has been conducted on over 100 agricultural crops and many new promising traits have been identified. As part of a grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists, SBC has developed a website dedicated to the theme of Biotechnology for Sustainability. Here you will find information on the 5 most promising GE traits, recent peer-reviewed publications, and useful websites and opinion pieces on this topic. We hope this will provide a useful reference on how biotech traits are enhancing environmental sustainability.

 

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3.05  Plant Breeding and genomics focus of new national web resource

 

As global food needs increase, so does the need for crops that can be efficiently and safely produced. Traditional plant breeding methods have served well in the past and breakthrough technologies are now available to aid this process. These breakthroughs include key information on the genetics, or “genomes” of crops. A group of researchers and educators from America’s land-grant universities, government agencies and industry, have banded together to create the first-ever internet resource aimed at quickly putting basic research on crop genomes into practice through plant breeding programs across the U.S. to more efficiently improve crops. The resource is a new online community housed at eXtension (pronounced E-extension), www.extension.org, at the www.extension.org/plant_breeding_genomics

For more information contact Allen Van Deynze at: avandeynze@ucdavis.edu

 

Contributed by Joy Patterson

jpatterson@ucdavis.edu

 

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5.  POSITION ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

5.01  Jobs available at Aberystwyth University

 

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

 

Reader in Computational Biology/Bioinformatics (Grade 9: £46,696 - £52,556)

As part of its ongoing development, IBERS is seeking to appoint a Reader in Computational Biology/Bioinformatics.The successful applicant will provide research leadership to process, represent, model and interpret high dimensionality data from biological systems. It is intended that the post will strengthen linkages with the Department of Computer Science.  A key responsibility will be to increase research grant capture and to help integrate IBERS activity in the Plant Phenomics Centre with the Metabololomics Centre and Translational Genomics Centre, and build external collaborations with world-class systems biology centres. To this end it is intended that a supporting post in systems biology will be made available at the Lecturer level to support the successful candidate.Applications are invited from individuals with an interest in biological problems relevant to agriculture at a systems level.  Experience in the bioinformatics, mathematical and/or statistical challenges associated with the representation, integration and exploration of high dimensional biological data is essential.

 

Lecturer in Plant Trait Informatics (Fixed Term 3 years in the first instance)

As part of its ongoing development IBERS is developing a national facility for high throughput plant phenotyping.  We seek to appoint a research Lecturer in Plant Trait Informatics to enhance our expertise in the representation, modelling and interpretation of high dimensionality data describing plant traits. It is intended that the post will strengthen linkages with the Department of Computer Science in areas of phenotype ontology development, trait-related image analysis and phenomics database development. A key responsibility will be to help integrate IBERS activity in the Plant Phenomics Centre with the Metabololomics Centre and Translational Genomics Centre, and build external collaborations with world-class systems biology centres.  Applications are invited from individuals with an interest in biological problems relevant to plants at a systems level.  Experience in the bioinformatics, mathematical and/or statistical challenges associated with the representation, integration and exploration of high dimensional biological data is essential.

 

Lecturer in Molecular Genetics and Recombination (Fixed Term for 3 years in the first instance)

A research Lecturer in Molecular Genetics and Recombination to initiate a programme of research into meiotic recombination focussing on ryegrass and related species.

 

The aim of this research will be to develop an understanding of the effects of variation in recombination on grass germplasm development and, ultimately, to manipulate recombination for germplasm improvement.

 

Approaches will include the exploitation of underlying genetic variation in meiotic controls and the use of chemical and physical agents which may influence both the position and frequency of recombination events. The post-holder will be expected to calibrate the effectiveness of different approaches to influencing recombination using molecular genetic and cytogenetic approaches at both the individual genotype and population levels. An active interest in applying modern technologies and informatic approaches is expected.

 

Reader in Bioinformatics/Genetics  (Grade 9: £46,696 - £52,556)

The successful applicant will identify key areas of the Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) programme that can be impacted by linking appropriate informatics platforms with experimental outputs at the levels of the genome, transcriptome and phenome. They will proactively designing experiments which can develop and take advantage of new tools, technologies and informatic approaches (e.g. NGS, digital transcriptomics, imaging and phenotype analysis, genome browsers and data visualisation, statistics) with relevance to understanding key biological factors that influence breeding success. This will involve the integration of knowledge and resources for ryegrass with that derived from other crop and model species.  The post-holder, supported by a laboratory/field technician, will initiate bioinformatically integrated experiments which address key biological targets. These may include understanding plant responses to abiotic stresses, water and nutrient use efficiency and fertility and seed yield.

 

Further details: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/hr/jobs/vacancies-external/

 

Contributed by Catherine Howarth

cnh@aber.ac.uk

 

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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.

 

This section includes three subsections:

A.     DISTANCE LEARNING/ONLINE COURSES

B.     COURSES OF THE SEED BIOTECHNOLOGY CENTER AT UC DAVIS

C.    OTHER MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

A.     DISTANCE LEARNING/ONLINE COURSES

 

Master of Science in Plant Breeding at Iowa State University (distance program)

 

Professionals who would like to advance their careers now have access to the world renowned plant breeding program at Iowa State University without becoming a resident on-campus student. The Master of Science in Plant Breeding provides the same rigorous curriculum as the resident program, including access to plant breeding faculty within the Department of Agronomy.

 

Students completing the program will understand not only the fundamentals of plant breeding, but also gain knowledge of advanced concepts such as genomic selection and the challenges facing plant breeders in our global society.

 

The curriculum consists of 12 courses plus a one-credit workshop and a three-credit creative component, for a total of 40 credits. The one-credit practicum is the only course that requires attendance on campus- four days during one summer. Generally, students who have completed a degree from a College of Agriculture will meet the requirements.

Contact information is:

msagron@iastate.edu

toll-free: 800-747-4478

phone: 515-294-2999

http://masters.agron.iastate.edu

 

Maria Salas-Fernandez

Assistant Professor

Department of Agronomy

Iowa State Univ.

msagron@iastate.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

 

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Plant Breeding Methods - Distance Education version

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

 

Prerequisite:  a statistics course

 

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 (tcwehner@gmail.com).

 

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 HS 703 (breeding asexually propagated crops), 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 distance education at NC State University, see:

http://distance.ncsu.edu/

 

For more information on Todd Wehner, see:

http://cucurbitbreeding.ncsu.edu/

 

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Plant Breeding for non majors - Distance Education version

HS 590 (521-sections 801, 601 DE); 1 credit; lecture only

 

Prerequisites:  undergraduate biology, genetics

 

North Carolina State University will be offering HS 590, Plant Breeding for Non Majors in a distance education version this fall.  The instructor is Todd Wehner (tcwehner@gmail.com).

 

This is an introductory Plant Breeding course for first year graduate students and advanced undergraduate students.  The emphasis is on methods of developing improved cultivars of cross-pollinated, self-pollinated, and asexually-propagated crops.  The purpose of this course is to provide the student a working knowledge of the main areas of plant breeding.  The course is aimed at students interested in having a background knowledge of plant breeding, working with plant breeders, or doing breeding work in their home garden.

 

HS 590 presents an overview of plant breeding methods, including germplasm resources, male sterility, and use of heterosis.  Special topics include genotype-environment interaction, index selection, disease and insect resistance, interspecific hybridization, and mutation breeding.  The main focus is on methods for breeding cross-pollinated, self-pollinated and asexually-propagated crops.

 

For more information on HS 590 Plant Breeding Methods, see:

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

 

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

http://distance.ncsu.edu/

 

For more information on Todd Wehner, see:

http://cucurbitbreeding.ncsu.edu/

 

 

B.    COURSES OF THE SEED BIOTECHNOLOGY CENTER AT UC DAVIS

 

(NEW) Seed Biotechnology Center takes the Classroom to the Professionals – Seed Business 101

 

Seed Business 101 was created with input from industry executives to accelerate the careers of promising new employees. It offers invaluable insights and perspectives to employees of seed producers, seed dealers and companies offering products and services to the seed industry, including seed treatments, crop protection, seed enhancement and technology, machinery and equipment.  The purpose of this course is to shorten the learning curve for new employees teaching them what every employee must know about the main functional areas of a seed company in order to perform optimally in the team as quickly as possible and avoid mistakes.  The course is designed to focus on optimum operations of the five major functional areas of a seed company:  Research and Development, Production, Operations, Sales and Marketing and Administration.

 

Participants will acquire a broad understanding of the major aspects of a seed company’s operations and cross-departmental knowledge of best practices for profitability. Case studies are designed to immerse participants in the decision-making roles in all five functional areas of a seed company.

 

Dates and locations for two new sessions planned for December 2011 and January 2012 will be announced soon.  For more information contact Jeannette Martins, jmartins@ucdavis.edu or go to: http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/education/seed_business.html

 

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Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) hosts European Plant Breeding Academy sessions focused on breeding with molecular markers

 

CRAG moves to a new building in Barcelona and hosts European Plant Breeding Academy session focused on breeding with molecular markers.

 

At the beginning of 2011 the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) research groups will move to a new building in the Bellaterra Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. (www.cragenomica.es). The new building features state-of-the art laboratories, growthrooms and greenhouses.  At the opening the new facility will already accommodate 99 scientists, 63 Ph.D. students, 52 technical support staff and 11 administrative staff.

 

Contributed by Joy Patterson

jpatterson@ucdavis.edu

 

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European Plant Breeding Second Class Starts October 2011

 

Applications are now being accepted for the second class of the European Plant Breeding Academy beginning in October of 2011. The integrated postgraduate program, which is not crop specific, teaches the fundamentals of plant breeding, genetics, and statistics  through lectures, discussion, and field trips to public and private breeding programs. Employers appreciate the opportunity to provide their valued employees advanced training without disrupting their full-time employment. Participants will attend six 6-day sessions in five countries. The instructors are internationally recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology.

 

For more information on the UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy or the Plant Breeding Academy in the United States visit http://pba.ucdavis.edu or contact Joy Patterson, jpatterson@ucdavis.edu

 

For more information and application process visit http://pba.ucdavis.edu/PBA_in_Europe/PBA_in_Europe_Class_II/.

 

EPBA Class II locations and dates:

Week 1:   Oct 17-22, 2011                    

Location:  Gent, Belgium

Partners:  FlandersBio

 

Week 2:   Mar 5-10, 2012                     

Location:  Angers, France

Partners:  Vegepolys,   Fédération Nationale des Professionnels des Semences Potageres et Florales (FNPSP)

 

Week 3:   June 25-30, 2012                   

Location:  Gatersleben, Germany

Partners: The German Plant Breeders' Association (BDP), Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)

 

Week 4:   Oct 8-13, 2012                      

Location:  Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Partners:  Seed Valley, Naktuinbouw

 

Week 5:   Mar 4-9, 2013                       

Location:  Barcelona, Spain

Partners:  Asociacion Nacional de Obtentores Vegetales (ANOVE), CRAG [a consortium between  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries (IRTA)Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB)]

 

Week 6:   June 24-29, 2013                  

Location:  Davis, CA

Partners:  Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences

 

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C.    OTHER MEETINGS, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

 

23-24 May 2011. National Association of Plant Breeding Annual Meeting, College Station, Texas, USA

 

Plant breeding professionals and students of all sub-disciplines and taxa are strongly encouraged to participate.

 

The meeting schedule can seen via the hyperlink at http://www.plantbreeding.org/napb/ 

 

See below for hyperlinks to registration, general information, and information 

on posters and competition for oral presentation.

 

 See registration hyperlink and meeting information at https://agrilifevents.tamu.edu/events/details.cfm?id=803

 

General information about the meeting can be found at

http://www.plantbreeding.org/napb/Meetings/pbccmeeting2011.html

 

Poster presentations are encouraged.

 

Advanced students and recent graduates are encouraged to compete for oral presentations.  

 

23 May – 24 June 2011. Conservation Agriculture (Advanced course), CIMMYT, Mexico.

 

For more details contact: Petr Kosina

pkosina@cgiar.org

 

5-17 June 2011. IP management and technology licensing, Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis.

 

Learn how to License, Market and Manage your Technology Portfolio!

For more information visit http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/prospective/international-program/licensing-academy.html

 

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

 

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

 

13-16 June 2011. BGRI 2011 Technical Workshop, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

 

Have you registered for the 2011 BGRI technical Workshop?  There's still time. 

 

See the workshop program at http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/about218 for the June 13-16 meeting.

 

Book your room at the Crowne Plaza hotel in St Paul before May 15 to receive a special BGRI workshop rate. 

 

Register now for the meeting and book your room.    

 

(NEW) 20-25 June 2011. European Plant Breeding Academy, dedicated to hybrid breeding, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) – Gatersleben, Germany

 

The session will take place at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) – Gatersleben, Germany, one of the EPBA partners. The host organization and private industry in the region will generously contribute to the session with lectures and interactive field tours, enhancing the experience for EPBA students.

 

The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a postgraduate program that teaches the fundamentals of plant breeding, genetics and statistics through lectures, discussion, and field trips to public and private

Website: http://sbc.ucdavis.edu

 

31 July – 5 August 2011. Fourth International Workshop on the Genetics of Host-Parasite Interactions in Forestry, Valley River Inn

Eugene, Oregon, USA

For more information visit:

http://ucanr.org/sites/tree_resistance_2011conference/

 

(NEW) 14 August 2011. SolCAP Potato Genomics Workshop, Wilmington, NC.

The USDA Solanaceae Coordinated Ag project (http://solcap.msu.edu) is hosting the workshop "Using SolCAP phenotype and Infinium SNP data in Potato Breeding" in conjunction with the 95th Annual Meeting of the Potato Association of America. The workshop will take place at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 North Water Street, Wilmington, North Carolina on Sunday, August 14, 2011 from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.

The workshop 2011 topics include:

Š  Phenotyping the SolCAP potato germplasm panel - Walter De Jong (Cornell University)

Š  Potato Genomics: What's Next? - Robin Buell (Michigan State University)

Š  SNP-based genetic maps: Linkage and QTL analysis - Dave Douches (Michigan State University)

Š  Breeding in a Genomics Era - Dave Francis (The Ohio State University, Wooster)

Š  Developing the Breeder's Toolbox at SGN - Joyce Van Eck (Cornell University)

Who should attend?

This workshop is specifically designed for potato breeders, breeding assistants and lab personnel.

Registration:

Registration is free but required to help us keep track of the total number of participants. If you would like to attend, when registering for the PAA meeting please select the SolCAP Workshop option. If you have already ready registered for the PAA meeting and overlooked the SolCAP workshop registration please contact Jeanette Martin directly or visit this specific link for registering for the SolCAP Workshop directly:http://solcap.msu.edu

 

15-17 August 2011. The 17th Australian Research Assembly on Brassicas (ARAB), Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia.

 

Further information is available at http://www.australianoilseeds.com/oilseeds_industry/whats-on/arab_2011 or email the Conference Secretary: Ros.Prangnell@industry.nsw.gov.au

 

 

(NEW) 5-9 September 2011. 21st International Triticeae Mapping Initiative workshop, Hotel Sevilla, Mexico City, Mexico.

 

The 21st ITMI  Workshop will present recent advances in molecular genetics, genomics, and genetic analysis of Triticeae. Topics will include structural and functional genomics mapping and cloning, molecular breeding, wheat genetic resources, bioinformatics, and new technologies for cereal crops.

 

The "International Triticeae Mapping Initiative" was established to provide support in the coordination of research efforts in molecular genetics, genomics, and genetic analysis of Triticeae. In the past few years, the ITMI has evolved from developing linkage maps for wheat, barley, and rye to genomics and its related study areas including for the past years sequencing the Triticeae genomes.

Registration: http://conferences.cimmyt.org/en/home-itmi-workshop

 

Contributed by Petr Kosina

Manager - Knowledge, Information & Training, CIMMYT

p.kosina@cgiar.org

 

(NEW) 11-14 September 2011. 8th International Symposium on Mycosphaerella and Stagonospora Diseases of Cereals, Hotel Sevilla, Mexico City, Mexico

 

The Symposium will focus on the Mycosphaerella and Stagonospora pathogen communities infecting cereals. Individual sessions will address pathogen biology and genetics, genomics, resistance breeding, population genetics, evolutionary biology, and disease management.

Sessions will include contributed papers by invited speakers as well as panel discussions. Ample opportunities will be provided to present posters and to meet with colleagues (during both conference sessions and a field excursion) with the goal of stimulating multidisciplinary approaches to control these globally important diseases. There will be also a special session focused on related Mycosphaerella species such asMycosphaerella fijiensis.

Registration: http://conferences.cimmyt.org/en/home-septoria-conference

 

Contributed by Petr Kosina

Manager - Knowledge, Information & Training, CIMMYT

p.kosina@cgiar.org

 

October 2011 to June 2013. European Plant Breeding Academysm Class II scheduled to start in Fall 2011

 

Applications are now being accepted.

 

European Plant Breeding Academy class II will begin its academic year in Fall 2011.  This is a professional development course designed by the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis to increase the supply of professional plant breeders.

 

For more information on the UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy or the Plant Breeding Academy in the United States visit http://pba.ucdavis.edu or contact Joy Patterson, jpatterson@ucdavis.edu.

 (See also Section B above for further details)

 

(NEW) 24-26 October 2011. Minia International Conference for Agriculture and Irrigation in the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt.

 

(Note: postponed from an earlier date of 23-25 May 2011.)

 

24-27 October 2011. International Conference on Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Intensification for Agricultural Intensification of the Humid Highland Systems of Sub-Saharan Aftrica, Kigali, Rwanda.

Registration via conference website at: http://tinyurl.com/69lr2k3

 

Abstract submission deadline for oral and poster presentations extended to 31 March.

 

The CIALCA Consortium and the CGIAR Consortium Research Programme (CRP) on the Humid Tropics have the pleasure of announcing an international conference to take stock of the state of the art of agricultural intensification in the highlands of sub-Saharan Africa, and to chart the way forward for agricultural research for development in the Humid Tropics CRP and the CIALCA Consortium.

 

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.

 

(NEW) 7-11 November 2011. The 11th Asian Maize Conference, Xiyuan Hotel, 38, XingGuang, DaDao, Nanning, 530031, Guangxi, P.R. China.

 

The meeting will be jointly hosted by the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS) and the Guangxi Maize Research Institute (GMRI).

Scientists and maize production specialists of all disciplines, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and seed industries are invited to participate.

More information: http://conferences.cimmyt.org/en/events/the-11th-asian-maize-conference

 

 

Contributed by Petr Kosina

Manager - Knowledge, Information & Training, CIMMYT

p.kosina@cgiar.org

 

(NEW) Jan 2012. Plant Exploration and Collecting:  the ethics, the process, and world laws, Chile.

 

Instructor: Mark Bridgen, Ph.D. Cornell University

Description:  This class will be held for three weeks during winter intercession in the country of Chile.  During the class students will travel from the Atacama Desert in the north of Chile down to Valdivia in the south.  As the students travel to the different locations in Chile, classes will be held on plant collection, ethics in collection, world biodiversity laws, laws in the United States, and procedures to introduce plants.

 

It will be held in January 2012 for about 3 weeks in Chile during winter intercession.  Grad students at Cornell University who want to take it will register during spring semester, 2012.  Students at other universities can take it as a Special Topics with their advisor.

 

Contact information: Dr. Bridgen. Director and Professor. Cornell University. Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center. 3059 Sound Ave.Riverhead, NY  11901 Tel: 631-727-3595 Fax: 631-727-3611

 

mpb27@cornell.edu

www.LongIslandHort.cornell.edu

 

Contributed by Maria Salas-Fernandez

Department of Agronomy

Iowa State Univ.

msagron@iastate.edu

 

 

 

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7.  EDITOR'S NOTES

 

Plant Breeding News is an electronic forum for the exchange of information and ideas about applied plant breeding and related fields. It is a component of the Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB), and is published monthly throughout the year.

 

The newsletter is managed by the editor and an advisory group consisting of Elcio Guimaraes (elcio.guimaraes@fao.org), Margaret Smith (mes25@cornell.edu), and Ann Marie Thro (athro@reeusda.gov). The editor will advise subscribers one to two weeks ahead of each edition, in order to set deadlines for contributions.

 

Subscribers are encouraged to take an active part in making the newsletter a useful communications tool. Contributions may be in such areas as: technical communications on key plant breeding issues; announcements of meetings, courses and electronic conferences; book announcements and reviews; web sites of special relevance to plant breeding; announcements of funding opportunities; requests to other readers for information and collaboration; and feature articles or discussion issues brought by subscribers. Suggestions on format and content are always welcome by the editor, at pbn-l@mailserv.fao.org. We would especially like to see a broad participation from developing country programs and from those working on species outside the major food crops.

 

Messages with attached files are not distributed on PBN-L for two important reasons. The first is that computer viruses and worms can be distributed in this manner. The second reason is that attached files cause problems for some e-mail systems.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Every month many newsletters are returned because they are undeliverable, for any one of a number of reasons. We try to keep the mailing list up to date, and also to avoid deleting addresses that are only temporarily inaccessible. If you miss a newsletter, write to me at chh23@cornell.edu and I will re-send it.

 

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

 

To subscribe to PBN-L: Send an e-mail message to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org. Leave the subject line blank and write SUBSCRIBE PBN-L (Important: use ALL CAPS). To unsubscribe: Send an e-mail message as above with the message UNSUBSCRIBE PBN-L. Lists of potential new subscribers are welcome. The editor will contact these persons; no one will be subscribed without their explicit permission.

 

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