PLANT BREEDING

Second cycle degree in SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Campus: LEGNARO (PD)

Language: English

Teaching period: Second Semester

Lecturer: -- --

Number of ECTS credits allocated: 8


Syllabus
Prerequisites: The students attending this course have to own good knowledge of basic genetics, plant biology and biochemistry, statistics and crop production. Such a knowledge is provided by the courses of the previous three-years degree
Examination methods: There will be two underway written texts in addition to the final oral exam
Course unit contents: HEREDITY OF MENDELIAN AND POLIGENIC TRAITS
Genetics of qualitative traits: dominant and recessive genetic factors and morphological descriptors; Basic genetics and inheritance models in diploid and polyploid species; Constitution modes and types of segregating populations; Influence of genetic interactions and environmental factors on phenotypic variation; Genetics of quantitative traits: additive genetic effects and epistasis; Determination of the polygenes controlling the expression of quantitative traits; Modifier genes, penetrance and expressivity concepts; Heritability: broad sense heritability and narrow sense heritability.

GENETICS OF PLANT REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS AND BARRIERS
Reproductive biology: sporogenesis, gametogenesis and embryogenesis in plants; Classification of plant reproduction systems: reproduction mode and union system; Mechanisms that determine selfing and outcrossing in Angiosperms; Self-incompatibility (SI): sporophytic and gametophytic systems; Male-sterility (ms): cytoplasmic, nuclear and cytoplasmic-genetic male-sterility; Unreduced gametes: cytological mechanisms and genetic consequences; Polyploidization: meiotic and mitotic mechanisms determining polyploidy; Apomixis: apomeiosis and parthenogenesis; Molecular progeny tests for the determination of the mode of reproduction in plants.

PLANT POPULATION GENETICS
Plant genetic resources: ecotypes, landraces and cultivars; Domestication and evolution of the main crop plant specie; Genetic diversity and gene flow in natural populations; Genetic structure of populations in agamically propagating and apomictically reproducing species; Genetic structure of populations in self-pollinated (selfing) species; Genetic structure of populations in open-pollinated (outcrossing) species; Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium: theoretical aspects and practical applications; Genetics of inbreeding depression and heterotic vigour expression (heterosis);

BREEDING METHODS IN SELFING SPECIES
Main goals of plant breeding programs: the breeder and the ideal biotype; Strategies of plant breeding: selection within natural and experimental populations; Methods and schemes for breeding and developing news varieties in self-pollinated species: pure lines and F1 hybrids; multiline varieties; Selection for monogenic and quantitative traits; Case studies: selection for resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

BREEDING METHODS IN OUTCROSSING SPECIES
Main goals of plant breeding programs; Strategies of plant breeding: selection within natural and experimental populations; Methods and schemes for breeding and developing news varieties in open-pollinated species: Synthetics and F1 hybrids; Progeny tests: estimation of GCA and SCA indexes; Use of male-sterility for the commercial production of hybrid seeds; Conservative selection and large-scale production of commercial seeds.

MARKER-ASSISTED BREEDING AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
Molecular marker systems: methods and applications of DNA fingerprinting, genotyping, haplotyping and barcoding; Mapping Mendelian genes and QTLs: marker-assisted selection (MAS); Marker-assisted breeding (MAB): basic concepts and applications; DUS testing of plant varieties using molecular markers; Methods for developing genetically modified plant and transgenic varieties; Genetic identification of agri-food products; Patents, plant variety protection acts and plant breeder’s rights.