Course Materials

Crop Genetics

Introduction to genetic concepts of reproductive systems, recombination, mutation, segregation and linkage analysis, inbreeding, quantitative inheritance, fertility regulation, population genetics and polyploidy to prepare for subsequent e-modules in crop improvement. The course will be developed with applied learning e-modules and will use crops important to Africa as examples when possible.

Quantitative Methods

Common statistics used in agriculture research. Experimental design in plant breeding and genetics (e.g. multi-environment trial, randomized complete block design, and completely randomized design). Analysis of variance, regression, and correlation. Field book generation, data organization, quality checking, and graphical plotting. Data analysis using common software packages. Repeatability and heritability calculation. Procedures for missing data. Result presentation, interpretation, and summary. Several applied learning e-modules with relevant data will be implemented throughout the course.

Molecular Plant Breeding

Students will learn to analyze data from high throughput biotechnologies, understand the use of such data including quality control measures, make decisions about application of alternative genomic technologies, and whether such technologies will enhance conventional breeding strategies. The course will be developed with applied learning e-modules to provide an understanding of plant breeding strategies, while taking information and approaches provided by genomics and plant biotechnology into consideration. 

Quantitative Genetics

Applied learning e-modules will be used to expose students to application of quantitative genetic models to plant breeding populations. Specific topics include conducting and interpreting Multi-Environment Trials, Resource allocation using engineering Principles, Genetic Modeling of Quantitative Traits, Simulation Modeling, Variance, covariance and Heritability, Prediction, Selection and Genetic Gain. The roles of molecular genetic tools are fully integrated into these topics.

Crop Improvement

This course covers basic principles in the genetic improvement of crop plants. Applied learning e-modules will be used to expose students to decision making process in breeding programs. Emphasis will be placed so that students can gain experience in handling methods of cultivar development in self-pollinating, cross-pollinating and asexually propagating crops. Africa centric examples will also be utilized to cover factors affecting cultivar release, multiplication, and distribution of high quality seed.

Cultivar Development

This course aims to integrate concepts learned in other PBEA courses with emphasis on design of a process pipeline for continuous development of new improved cultivars as a means to implement the cycle of crop improvement. Essential topics in New Line Development and New Line Evaluation such as choice of parents, creation of progeny, and evaluation and selection of progeny, are addressed for different types of cultivars including pure line varieties, hybrids, and clonally propagated varieties. Introgression of value-added traits into elite lines is examined.  Furthermore, preparations needed for commercial launch of new improved cultivars are explored, including varietal registration, volume production of quality seed, seed testing, and intellectual property protection.  To maximize genetic gain and accelerate release of new products, ways to integrate and optimize effectiveness and efficiency of the process pipeline are analyzed. Students learn to design a process pipeline to produce improved cultivars that meet a specific product target which represents stakeholders’ needs.

Other Materials

Introduces fundamental concepts for creating applied learning activities in plant breeding. Concepts address expertise, mental schemas, cognitive load, the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, Gagné’s Nine Events of Learning, keeping in mind the relationship between real-world tasks and those of the learning-world. Also covers design and development of text-based applied learning activities with the ultimate goal of training educators to design and develop different types of applied learning activities.

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