Plant breeding

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Plant breeding has deeply modified the agriculture all over the world permitting a dramatic increase in crop production through the utilization of modern biotechnological techniques. For this reason the deep study of this discipline is fundamental for a full comprehension of the modern agriculture.
Expected learning outcomes
In this course the students will acquire the knowledge regarding the fundamental techniques used in plant breeding, from classical plant breeding (e.g. recurrent selection, inbred line extraction, backcrossing, hybrid varieties and mutagenesis ) to modern molecular tools (e.g. marker assisted selection, genetic modified crops).
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
The course will be held at 80% in synchronous mode and the remaining 20% ​​will be held by the teacher frontally in the classroom.
Course syllabus
Quantitative genetics and Population genetics. Chromosome and gene mutations. Plant propagation and genetic structure: allogamy, autogamy and vegetative propagation. Genetic constitution of the main cultures: natural populations, ecotypes, synthetic populations, clones, inbred lines, hybrids. Essential of genetics improvement in plant breeding: hereditability of the characters and selection, recurrent selection, inbred line extraction, backcrossing, hybrid varieties and chemical and physical mutagenesis. The green revolution and its genetic basis. The marker assisted selection (using, RFLPs, SSRs, CAPS, RAPDs and SNPs) and QTLs analysis. Forward and reverse genetics. Gene isolation: chromosome walking e gene tagging. Tilling (Targeting Induced Local Lesion in Genome) and Ecotilling. Essentials of Genomics: next generation sequencing and in silico analysis. Genetically Modified Plants (GM crops): resistance to pests and herbicides and other examples. Deployment of new technologies in plant breeding: zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN) technology, oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM), cisgenesis and intragenesis, RNA-dependent DNA methylation (RdDM), grafting (on genetically modified (GM) rootstock), reverse breeding, agro-infiltration.
Prerequisites for admission
It is advisable to have followed a basic genetics course
Teaching methods
80% of the course will be held in synchronous mode and the remaining 20% ​​will be held by the teacher frontally in the classroom. The lessons will be held on the Teams platform with the use of support devices (slides, video materials, documents).
Teaching Resources
1. Lecture notes.
2. Breeding Field Crops. John Milton Poehlman David Allen Sleper / Iowa State University Press /Ames
3. More Food: Road to Survival, G. Gavazzi, R. Pilu chapters:13,14 and 16
4. articles suggested during the course
Assessment methods and Criteria
The assessment of learning will take place through an oral test with types of
closed, structured and open questions. The evaluation criteria will concern the quality of theoretical knowledge possessed and the adequacy of references to sources;
- ability to apply and use the knowledge and methodologies proposed in relation to real contexts;
- ability to autonomously and personally re-elaborate learning.
AGR/07 - AGRICULTURAL GENETICS - University credits: 6
Practicals: 8 hours
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Educational website(s)