Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
Seed Biotechnology Center
University of California
Seed Biotechnology Center

Welcome to the SBC

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The mission of the Seed Biotechnology Center (SBC) is to mobilize the research, educational and outreach resources of UC Davis in partnership with the seed and biotechnology industries to facilitate discovery and commercialization of new seed technologies for agricultural and consumer benefit.

News and Updates

October 2017

Since 1915: What if Consumers Don’t Love Biotech?

August 1999 cover of Seed World issue
The August 1999 (the same year as the SBC began) issue of Seed World takes us way back by covering issues surrounding GM products at that time. In July of that year, U.S. agriculture secretary Dan Glickman addressed the issue of consumer acceptance of biotechnology in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Some of these issues remain at the forefront today. Read more


Many Educational Paths Exist for Plant Breeders

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Over the past decade, plant breeding and biotechnology have been transformed — as a result, there are a variety of educational paths to be taken. Along with insights from SBC Director Kent Bradford, UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy graduates Curtis Van Laecke and Evan Gillis discuss in September's issue of Germination their individual educational and professional paths that led them to plant breeding. Read article online @ Germination.ca


Powerful Tools, Major Possibilities: New technologies are proving to be an asset to up-and-coming plant breeders

Rale Gjuric
In the September issue of Germination, SBC Education Director Rale Gjuric discusses the continued and valuable role of modern plant breeders, who are using the latest technological tools to do a job that, despite being as old as agriculture itself, is more important than ever. “It’s like an engineer working in a factory in the 1940s compared to now." Gjuric says. "They do the same job, but the factory has changed. They just have different tools now.” Read article online @ Germination.ca


Ever Wonder Why Cantaloupes Don't Smell Like They Used To?

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"For generations, Western Shipper cantaloupe was the industry standard", said Bill Copes, H.M. Clause’s melon man. But that melon is sensitive to ethylene, a gas that acts as a plant hormone to regulate growth and development. But ethylene can also cause cantaloupes to over-ripen or get soft during shipping. Breeders then produced a strain of cantaloupe called Harper or LSL (long shelf life) that did not respond to ethylene, resulting in much longer shelf life in the stores. While these Harper/LSL melons tend to be super sweet, they lack the depth of flavor of older varieties. The next step for melon breeders: Bring back the scent and rich melon flavor while keeping new positive traits, too. Read more


Certifying Quality Seed in Pakistan

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Accessing quality seed is a complex issue in Pakistan. In collaboration with institutional counterparts at UC Davis (Drs. Kent Bradford, Tom Rost, and Charles Brummer), three faculty members from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad are working to provide integrated solutions to increase the availability of quality seed for Pakistani farmers. Read more


Blueprint for Produce: How Fruits & Vegetables are Designed for the Market

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“The seed industry is essential to agriculture — we have to have seeds to start — but it’s sort of a hidden part,” says Kent Bradford, distinguished professor at UC Davis’ Seed Biotechnology Center. “It’s where the new technology comes in.” With UC Davis a top agricultural research center, the Central Valley’s excellent growing conditions and new farm technology constantly emerging from Silicon Valley, a lot of that seed development is happening quietly in the Bay Area’s backyard. Read article by San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Tara Duggan


SBC Hosts Successful 12th Triennial International Society for Seed Science Conference (ISSS) in Monterey, CA, USA

ISSS Conference
The SBC together with an international program committee successfully organized the 12th Triennial International Society for Seed Science Conference held in September at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, CA. Taking place in the U.S. for the first time since 1989, the conference brought 180 attendees from 24 different countries and enabled top international seed scientists to share research findings and interact with the U.S. and Californian seed industry. Read more


Gabe Patin to be Honored at UC Davis

Gabe Patin
On October 6, seed industry executive Gabe Patin will be honored with an Award of Distinction by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. Patin, 87, was instrumental in the development of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center (SBC) - an accomplishment which he calls one of the greatest of his life. The awards are presented annually to individuals whose contributions and achievements enhance the college's ability to provide cutting-edge research, top-notch education and innovative outreach. Patin is being recognized as a friend of the college. The Award of Distinction ceremony honoring Patin and others starts at 5:30 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion on the UC Davis campus. Find more information here.  

August 2017

ASTA hosts plant breeding media tour

ASTA hosts plant breeding tour at UC Davis
ASTA, along with the California Seed Association, the National Garden Bureau and the UC Davis SBC, hosted a group of reporters and bloggers for an up-close look at the vegetable seed industry. During the day-and-a-half event in Davis, California, reporters interacted with researchers, plant breeders and industry representatives, learning firsthand how plant breeding innovation addresses production and environmental challenges and meets ever-changing consumer demands. Read More


Promoting neglected and underutilized crops: FAO & African Orphan Crops Consortium try to safeguard valuable food resources

A woman cleaning Moringa seeds in Niger. Moringa is a genus of shrubs and trees with multi-purpose uses. All parts of the Moringa tree are edible.
The African Orphan Crop Consortium (AOCC), an African-led, international consortium founded by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Mars, Incorporated (all UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy partners) are working to sequence the genomes of 101 African underutilized ('orphan') crops. “This information will allow breeders to use the same strategies and technologies as those for Western crops, such as maize, to make rapid improvements in African crops,” said ICRAF Director General Tony Simons, whose organization provides Secretariat services, a laboratory and classrooms to the AOCC. Read More


UC Davis Plant Sciences graduate Robert Duncan honored with NAPB’s Early Career Scientist Award

UC Davis Plant Sciences graduate Robert Duncan Honored with NAPB’s Early Career Scientist Award
During the National Association of Plant Breeders 2017 annual meeting, Robert Duncan was recognized with the Early Career Scientist Award, which honors a scientist in early stages of their plant breeding career who exhibits the ability to establish strong research foundations, to interact with multi-disciplinary teams, and to participate in relevant professional societies. Read More


Seed World's Shawn Brook talks with Steve Baenziger at the 2017 NAPB Conference 

Seed World's Shawn Brook talks with Steve Baenziger at the 2017 NAPB Conference
During the National Association of Plant Breeders 2017 annual meeting held at UC Davis, Seed World's Shawn Brook and University of Nebraska Professor Steve Baenziger chat about about getting sound science out quickly (social media!), the need for increased research funding and much more. View Video


Former SBC Post-Doctoral Researcher Amanda Hulse-Kemp highlighted by Seed World at 2017 NAPB Conference

Amanda_Hulse_Kemp Seed World Interview
After completing her doctorate from Texas A&M University and following up with postdoctoral work at the University of California, Davis, Amanda Hulse-Kemp moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, as a computational biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. At NAPB’s annual meeting, Hulse-Kemp sits down to talk about what drives her, the challenge of communicating what she does and how she’s working to overcome it, and the importance of a good mentor and group of friends. View VIDEO


Enoch Achigan Dako (UAC) and Julia Sibiya (PROTA), alumnae of the UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy, discuss establishment of African Plant Breeding Association

Enoch Achigan Dako (UAC) and Julia Sibiya (PROTA) Establishing African Plant Breeding Association
Alumnae of the UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy, Julia Sibiya and Enoch Achigan-Dako are now working to reestablish the African Plant Breeders Association. Their vision is to create a network for plant breeders in Africa to share germplasm, resources and discuss what they’re doing with the hopes of avoiding duplicative efforts and speeding progress toward food security. They sit down and talk with Seed World's Shawn Brook at the 2017 NAPB Annual Conference held at UC Davis. View VIDEO


Can These Super-Crops Feed Africa?

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SBC Director of Research Allen Van Deynze serves as Scientific Director for the African Orphan Crops consortium (AOCC), a primary partner of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy. The AOCC was featured in BBC News video "Can these super-crops feed Africa?". With Africa's population is set to boom over the next few decades — reaching 2.5 billion people by 2050 — scientists in Kenya are trying to find ways to grow enough food for everyone under very harsh and extreme environmental conditions. The AOCC has identified 101 traditional plants ripe for improvement and is using a DNA sequencing machine (donated by Illumina) to speed up traditional cross-breeding, which will result in making plants more fruitful, drought resistance and disease tolerant. View VIDEO


Boston Startup Hopes Its Seeds Will Help Farmers Cope With Climate Change

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Farmers are often at the mercy of Mother Nature — too much heat, and their crops could shrivel up; too little water, and their plants might die off. Natural weather fluctuations are challenging, but add in climate change and experts say the weather extremes could be devastating to our food supply. Indigo Agriculture, a Charlestown-based startup, is trying to tackle this big problem with a microscopic solution by working to create drought-resistant seeds coated with tiny microbes. Read more


Upcoming Courses & Events

Breeding with Genomics
Date: February 13, 2018 - February 15, 2018

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Kent Bradford highlighted in Seed World magazine, September 2015

featured in 
Seed World Magazine
Two plant sciences professors-- Kent Bradford and Gurdev Khush are among  SEED WORLD magazines's picks for its list of 100 most transformational men and women in the seed industry in the last 100 years.


2016 Annual Report

Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis, Annual Report 2016

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Webmaster Email: sbc@ucdavis.edu