First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP5073598, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
AV2293, Degree course structure A.Y. 2016/17, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination PLANT BREEDING
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and the Environment
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIANNI BARCACCIA AGR/07

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses AGR/07 Agrarian Genetics 8.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 1.0 8 17.0 No turn
Laboratory 1.0 8 17.0 No turn
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2016 course timetable

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.
Target skills and knowledge: The student is expected to gain basic principles and concepts of conventional breeding schemes and methods, along with molecular tools useful not only for improving crop plant populations but also for developing and identifying superior crop plant varieties. Since modern plant breeding is firmly rooted in the science of genetics, the first part of the course will deal with the genetic control of both qualitative (Mendelian traits) and quantitative traits (QTLs), genetic bases of reproductive systems and barriers (i.e. self-incompatibility, male-sterility and apomixis), and genetic structure of populations. The second part of the course will focus on theoretical aspects and applied methods for developing synthetic varieties and monogenotypic varieties, such as clones, pure lines, and heterotic F1 hybrids, making a distinction between selfing and outcrossing species. Genomics applied to marker-assisted selection (MAS) of crop plant species will be also presented, along with methods for the constitution of GM varieties, including the use of molecular markers for DUS testing and for genetic traceability of their food products and derivatives.
Examination methods: To be defined.
Assessment criteria: The GRADING POLICY will be the following: 30% for the first written text, 30% for the second written text and 40% for the final oral exam.
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.

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 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);

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.

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.

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.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will include both theoretical and applied lectures in the classrooms, plus a few practice activities in the laboratory of biotechnologies. The aim is to give students the knowledge to evaluate and utilize for selection, the natural and artificial plant genetic variability. The students will be trained to acquire competence to plan breeding strategies and to select and run the most suitable schemes for the constitution of new crop varieties by combining conventional breeding methods with biotechnological tools. Students will be trained to gain competence for managing processes of genetic identification of plant varieties and genetic authentication of their food products along the productive chain.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The material used for the course (i.e. PowerPoint presentations) will be made available to students through the Moodle platform of the School at
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)