Short Course International Postgraduate Course Plant Breeding

Wageningen University

Tuition fee:
  • € 12,000 / Year (EEA)
  • € 12,000 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: January  2016
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
Entry level: Bachelor

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The next international postgraduat course Plant Breeding starts in January 2012.

The international plant breeding sector is facing the challenge to guarantee sufficient supply of academically trained plant breeders for the coming decennia. The number of graduates with a specialization in plant breeding has decreased in the last decennia. High potentials with a degree in (other) life sciences have been welcomed in the breeding industry. Consequently, there is a high demand for additional academic training. The International Postgraduate Course Plant Breeding now enables professional plant breeders and researchers to upgrade their knowledge in parallel with their current career. It is aimed to add academic knowledge to the professional experience of plant breeders worldwide.

Outline of the course
The course consists of 6 sessions of 1 week in the period January 2010 until October 2011. In between sessions, participants are expected to perform self-study and work on specific assignments. After completing the course, participants will receive a certificate.

Additional Master programme
Following on the International Postgraduate Course Plant Breeding it is possible to continue with the MSc Plant Sciences, specialization Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources. Based on successful completion of the postgraduate course, exemptions for parts of the MSc-curriculum can be granted on an individual basis.

The development of this course was made possible by the Technological Top Institute Green Genetics. The mission of TTI GG is strengthening the knowledge base of the Dutch plant breeding and propagation industry. Through closer cooperation with research and education institutions, the sector seeks to improve the knowledge infrastructure and promote capacity building.

The expertise group Wageningen UR Plant Breeding is a cooperation between the Laboratory of Plant Breeding and the group Biodiversity and Breeding of Plant Research International. Wageningen UR Plant Breeding is involved in education, research and consultation in the field of plant breeding in the broadest sense.


The next international postgraduat course Plant Breeding starts in January 2012.

Wageningen, The Netherlands, 6 sessions in 2010 and 2011

Session 1 January 18 - 22, 2010

Theme: Plant breeding and selection I: basic principles and simple traits

* Introduction to the course
* Breeding objectives
* Genetic diversity and domestication
* Applied genetics
* Breeding of autogamous and allogamous crops
* Breeding of asexually propagated crops
* Breeding of hybrid cultivars
* Various selection methods (including recurrent selection)

Special case: Plant breeding all over the world, with reports made by participants

Session 2 March 22 - 26, 2010
Theme: Plant breeding and selection II: more complex methods and quantitative traits

* Mutation breeding and ploidy manipulation
* Assessment of variation: data collection
* More complex selection methods
* Molecular markers:. Linkage analysis
* Marker assisted breeding
* Quantitative inheritance
* QTL analysis

Special case: Molecular markers: application in working lecture using software programmes.

Session 3 October 2010 (1 week)
Theme: Breeding for Resistance and Quality

* Resistance to biotic factors:
* Qualitative and quantitative aspects of resistance
* Mechanisms of resistance
* The way towards resistant cultivars
* Resistance to abiotic factors:
* Salt and drought tolerance
* Breeding for quality aspects

Special case: breeding for abiotic stress resistance.

Session 4 January 2011 (1 week)
Theme: Genotype x Environment Interactions: including genomics and metabolomics

* Genotype x Environment Interactions
* Statistical analysis of traits measured
* Statistical genetics
* Genetically genomics
* Using multiple ~omics datasets in multiple genotypes
* Data handling and data storage
* Database use

Special case: Data handling and hands on training

Session 5 March 2011 (1 week)
Theme: Biotechnology, including seed technology and GMO´s

* Genetic modification
* Novel breeding technologies
* Intellectual property rights (Patents, PBR and EDV)
* Maintenance, propagation and seed production
* Seed technology
* Societal context of Plant Breeding

Special case: Intellectual property rights incl. variety protection and breeders rights

Session 6 October 2011 (1 week)
Final session: Integrating all knowledge to set up and assess a breeding programme

* Design and Management of Breeding Programmes

Group assignment with case studies in different crops


Leading instructor is Prof.dr. Richard Visser of Wageningen UR Plant Breeding. Specific subjects will be taught by staff of Wageningen UR Plant Breeding and other chair groups of Wageningen University and Research Center


This course is intended for people with a Bachelor or Master degree, who are working in the field of plant breeding and who need more theoretical background on plant breeding.
More specifically, the course is designed for:

* People with a Master degree in life science (e.g. biology, agriculture, horticulture), working in plant breeding or related research.
* People with a Bachelor degree of Applied Science (e.g. HBO, polytechnics) and at least three to five years experience in practical plant breeding, who need more theoretical background for further professional development.
* People with long-term experience and a professional education in plant breeding, who want to refresh and update their knowledge on plant breeding and new technological developments.

Participants are expected to have basic knowledge on genetics, plant physiology and statistics at BSc. level.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5
TOEFL paper-based test score : 550
TOEFL iBT® test: 79


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