- Learn the principles and practices of plant breeding.
- Indulge a passion, start a business, work in plant development
- Expand your career possibilities in the nursery and broader horticulture industry
Plant breeding is a bigger industry than most people realize. In some places, earnings from plant breeding rights can equal or exceed earnings from actually producing plants. Today's nurseryman needs to understand plant breeding and selection; and to this end, this course is a very valuable and unique course for anyone working in the modern industry.
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There are 7 lessons in this module as follows:
1. The Scope and Nature of the Plant Breeding Industry
- What is Plant Breeding
- Scope of the Modern Industry
- Sources of Genetic Material
- Germplasm Preservation
- Botanic Gardens, Plant Breeding Organisations, Research Bodies
2. Introduction to Genetics
- Review of Plant Genetics Linkage and Crossing Over
- Homologous Chromosomes
- Cell Biology -cell components, cell wall, nucleus
- Protein Synthesis
- Plant Anatomy
- Plant Genetics, Mendel's Principles and Experiment
- Genetic Terminology
- Gene Linkages
3. Gamete Production, Pollination and Fertilisation in Plants
- Phases of Plant Reproduction
- Gamete Production
- Gene Mutation
- Sources of Genetic Variation: Polyploidy, Bud Sports and Chimeras
- Male Sterility
- Effect of Environment
- Use of Pollination Biology in Plant Breeding: Pollination Process, Pollination Requirements, Cross Pollination, Fertilisation, Male/Female Recognition, Overcoming incompatibility, Post Fertilisation, Pollen Selection, Floral Introduction etc.
- Mitosis and Meiosis
- Sexual Structures in Plants: Flowers, Fruit, Seed
4. Mono Hybrid and Dihybrid Inheritance in Plants
- Mono hybrid Crosses
- Dihybrid Crosses
- Gene Linkages
- Crossing Over
- Quantitative Traits
5. Systematic Botany and Floral Structures
- Systematic Botany
- Plant Morphology
- Type Specimens
- Floral Diagrams
- International Botanical Code
- Binomial System; Genus and species
- Hybrids, Varieties, Cultivars
- Name Changes
- Nomenclature of hybrids
- Using Botanical Keys
6. Practical Plant Breeding Techniques
- Plant Breeding Programs
- Breeding Self Pollinated Crops
- Pure Line Breeding
- Mass Selection
- Pedigree Breeding
- Bulk Population Breeding
- Breeding Cross Pollinated Crops
- Single Plant Selection
- Mass Selection
- Progeny Selection
- Line Breeding
- Recurrent Selection
- Backcross Breeding
- Induced Polyploidy
- Hybrid Seed Production
- Dormancy Factors Affecting Germination (eg. hard seeds, impermeability to water, Chemical inhibitors, Undeveloped embryos, etc)
7. Current Developments in Plant Genetics
- Plant Biotechnology
- Genetic Engineering
- DNA Markers
- Somatic Hybridisation
- Plant Breeders Rights
- Trade Marks, Patents
Describe the commercial and scientific nature of the modern plant breeding industry, on a global basis
Describe the structure and function of genetic material
Describe gamete production in plants.
Explain the results of mono hybrid and dihybrid inheritance in plants.
Investigate the role of systematic botany in horticulture.
Explain a variety of different plant breeding techniques
Review current developments in plant breeding.
Plant Breeding Tips
The essential aspects of most breeding programs are:
- Selection of genetically variable individuals or families within a base population.
- Using the selected material to create new populations for use either as potential commercial varieties or as the basis for a new cycle of selection.
Before starting a breeding program, it is essential to know the plant’s pollination requirements – whether it is self or cross pollinated – and how it behaves when it is inbred or crossbred.
BREEDING SELF-POLLINATED CROPS
The genetic effect of continued self fertilisation in self-pollinated plants is to reveal the dominant and recessive genes. As Mendel’s experiments show, heterozygosity is reduced by one half in each generation, so that after six or seven generations of selfing, a population will consist almost entirely of equal numbers of homozygotes. In this way, selection of characters by continued selfing results in pure lines – these plants are said to be ‘pure breeding’ or breeding ‘true to type’.
The following methods are used to breed self-pollinated crops.
In pure-line breeding (also known as ‘single plant selection’) the new variety is made of the progeny of a single pure line. It involves three steps:
1. Selecting a large number of superior individuals from a genetically variable population.
2. Raising the self progeny of each of these over several years, preferably in different environments. Unsuitable lines are eliminated in each generation. When the breeder can no longer select superior lines by observation only, the third step is commenced.
3. Replicating the trials to compare the remaining selections. This is done over several seasons (at least three years) to compare them with each other and with existing commercial varieties.
In mass selection the progeny of many pure lines are used to form the new variety. Unlike pure-line selection where the derived type consists of a single pure line, in mass selection the majority of selected lines are likely to be retained.
It is not as rigorous as pure-line breeding – obviously inferior plants are destroyed before flowering but overall many lines are kept and contribute to the genetic base. This gives the advantage of retaining the best features of an original variety and avoids the extensive testing required in step 3 of pure-line breeding.
This is the most widely used method of breeding in self-pollinated plants. Superior types are selected in successive segregating generations (as in pure-line breeding) and a record is kept of all parent-progeny relationships. It starts with the crossing of two varieties which complement each other with respect to one or more desirable characters. In the F2 generation a single plant selection is made of the individuals the breeder thinks will produce the best progeny. In the F3 and F4 generations, many loci become homozygous and family characteristics begin to appear. By the F5 and F6 generations, most families are homozygous at most loci; hence selection with families is no longer very effective, only between them.
Its main advantage is that the plant breeder is able to exercise his/her skill in selecting plants to a greater degree than other self-pollinating breeding methods. A disadvantage is the limitation it has on the amount of material one breeder can handle.