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

Breeding with Genomics

This course is aimed at professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in plant breeding and germplasm improvement. It is an opportunity for breeders who are already using these tools to expand their knowledge of new strategies and technologies and for laboratory personnel to appreciate how the marker data that they generate are applied in breeding programs. A hands-on workshop is included, focusing on software support to marker application in breeding programs including R and Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUPs).

The class covers the basics of DNA markers, quantitative trait loci, association studies and genomic selection. The core instructors are Allen Van Deynze, UC Davis, and David Francis, The Ohio State University.  They will be joined by number of experts in application of genomics to plant breeding from academia and the private industry.

Course Topics

• Basics of DNA markers
• Quantitative trait loci
• Association Studies
• Transition from maker assisted selection to genomic selection
• Breeding for disease resistance


This course is taught by experts from both industry and academia.  This is a great chance to interact with experts and technology specialists in plant breeding. Currently, this course is led by Allen Van Deynze, UC Davis.

Allen Van Deynze, is also the Research Director for the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. Allen received B.S. and M.s. degrees in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba, Canada and his Ph.D. in plant molecular breeding from the University of Guelph, Canada. He did a postdoctorate in molecular genetics at Cornell University and worked with Monsanto and Celera. Dr. Van Deynze is responsible for developing, coordinating and conducting research and generating and disseminating scientific and informational content for the Center's education and outreach programs.


David Francis
David Francis is a professor of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University (OSU).  He studied Biology at Pomona College in Claremont, CA and received his PhD in Genetics at the University of California, Davis.  Following post-doctoral research, also at UC Davis, he moved to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center where he was a Research Scientist for four years prior to joining the faculty at OSU.  His program develops and licenses commercially competitive germplasm for the processing tomato industry.  His approach integrates field-based plant breeding with the discovery of sequence variation.  In addition to a strong classical field-based breeding program, his group integrates techniques from quantitative and population genetics to identify novel traits and understand how human selection has shaped contemporary plant varieties.  David is currently president of the National Association of Plant Breeders.  He has been recognized nationally by the United States Department of Agriculture through an “Honor Award for Excellence”.  In his free time, David coaches youth soccer and works on his wife’s vegetable farm.

Richard Michelmore UC Davis
Richard Michelmore has been the founding Director of the Genome Center at the University of California at Davis since 2003. He received BA and Ph.D. degrees in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK and joined the faculty of UC Davis in 1982. He is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Plant Sciences, Molecular & Cellular Biology, and Medical Microbiology & Immunology. He has published over 160 scientific papers. His multidisciplinary research utilizes a synthesis of molecular, genetic, and evolutionary approaches. His interests span basic research into the molecular basis of specificity in plant-pathogen interactions to translational plant genetics and crop improvement. His research is focused on comparative and functional genomics with an emphasis on plant disease resistance and pathogen variability ( In addition, his program coordinates and hosts the bioinformatics component of the Compositae Genome Project ( His interests include applications of next-generation DNA sequencing approaches to all areas of biology and its imminent impact on society in general. In particular, he aims to exploit such approaches for information-driven deployment of resistance genes in plants to provide durable disease resistance. He is also interested in fostering research to enhance food security internationally.

Patrick J. Brown, UC Davis
Patrick J. Brown is an Associate Professor and Nut Crops Breeder in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Pat received a B.S. in Biology from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University. From 2010-2017 Pat was Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, where he worked on plant breeding & genetics of row crops including sorghum, maize, and wheat. In summer 2017 Pat moved to UC Davis to assume leadership of the industry-supported Walnut Improvement Program, which has released 22 walnut varieties since 1968. His primary research focus is the integration of genomic and high-throughput phenotyping data into applied plant breeding programs, with a focus on tree nuts (currently walnut and pistachio). Key traits of interest for both these crops include phenology (leafing, flowering, and harvest dates), nut size and quality (pellicle color, seal strength, and ease of removal for walnut; percentage of blanks and splits for pistachio), and adaptation to climate change (chilling requirement, salinity tolerance). Other interests include scion-rootstock interactions, preservation and use of Juglans and Pistacia germplasm, and the evolutionary genetics of plant mating systems (heterodichogamy in walnut, dioecy in pistachio).


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