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

December eNews


Happy Holidays from the SBC

SBC organizes and hosts very successful 13th Annual Solanaceae Conference at UC Davis

SBC and a global program committee successfully organized the 13th Annual Solanaceae Conference held at UC Davis in September. Taking place in the U.S. for the first time in over a decade, the conference was the best attended to date with over 350 attendees from 34 different countries. According to conference organizer and SBC’s Director of Research Allen Van Deynze “The conference shifted closer to the plant breeding side of things this year — it was a good mix of basic researchers and applied researchers. That could be why we got more people, since we tapped into a broader community than in the past.”

Solgenomics Conference 2016, Davis, CA
The conference program included a welcome address by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, a plenary talk by Richard Michelmore and a keynote address by Roger Chetelat, which paid homage to the C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center’s namesake, the late Charles Rick. “It’s Charlie’s stuff that forms the foundation of a lot of what we’ve done,” commented University of Florida researcher and conference attendee Harry Klee. Fifty-nine oral presentations presented in 14 scientific sessions, 40 one-minute poster oral talks, and 115 poster presentations comprised the scientific program. Attendees enjoyed morning tours to diversity research plots, commercial fields, processing facilities and genomics companies in the Davis area. In addition, guests were treated to a festive Welcome Reception with appetizers, food trucks, and a Mariachi band: And an evening Gala Garden Banquet in the Robert Mondavi Institute’s Good Life Garden featuring regional specialties for dinner, live music, and the UC Davis Marching Band-Uh! Read more about the conference in Seed World's story here. Check out Giant Views video interviews depicting Seed World’s Shawn Brook in conversation with selected Solanaceae researchers in attendance at the conference, including SBC's Allen Van Deynze, Director of Research. For conference info, sponsors, and photos, please visit the Solanaceae conference website. The 2017 conference will take place in Valencia, Spain.

Seed Central/Food Central

Seed Central/Food Central
Seed Central/Food Central (SC) held its first event this year on Thursday, September 8th at the UC Davis Conference Center with a Conversation in 3D event, featuring guest Daniel Morash, Founder, California Safe Soil LLC, in conversation with Dr. Ed Lewis, Associate Dean, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, UC Davis. In October, SC hosted a special networking event at Hartnell College in Salinas. Present were researchers from UC Davis and USDA ARS, UC Cooperative Extension specialists and Farm Advisors, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, professors, administrators and students from Hartnell College, California State University Monterey Bay, UC Santa Cruz, and Aggie Ambassadors. This event allowed attendees to get to know each other better and to meet the Seed Central members and all others who attend our networking events. Two more Conversation in 3D events were held, one in November and one in December: Dr. John Sorenson, CEO, Vestaron Corporation, in conversation with Julia Wasielewski, MBA Candidate, UC Davis Graduate School of Management; And Dr. Mike Lassner in conversation with Dr. Richard Michelmore. Dr. Lassner is a Biotechnology Consultant and Advisor focusing on value creation through technology advancement and specializing in agricultural biotechnology. Dr. Michelmore is Director of the UC Davis Genome Center and Professor, UC Davis Departments of Plant Sciences; Molecular and Cellular Biology; and Microbiology and Immunology.

Allen Van Deynze receives Public Plant Breeding Award

Allen VanDeynze
During the American Seed Trade Association’s CSS 2016 & Seed Expo in Chicago, the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders recognized SBC Director of Research and Associate Director of the Plant Breeding Center, Allen Van Deynze, with the Public Plant Breeding Award. Congratulations Allen!

SBC In the Press

• SBC Director Kent Bradford is featured in recent Food Dive article What do GMO-free zones mean for farmers and food? Kent also discusses impact of GMO labeling laws on food industry in Seed World's news story What's Next for Biotech?
• SBC Director of Research Allen Van Deynze writes online article “New Breeding Tools, New Opportunities” in the latest Germination Update.


Seed Production, February 14 - 17, 2017 in Davis, California
For more information, visit or contact Sally Mohr at or at 530-752-5775.

Seed Business 101 Field Crops, August 28 - September 1, 2017 in St. Charles, Illinois
For more information, visit or contact Rebeca Madrigal at

Program Management for Plant Breeders, September 19 - 21, 2017 in Davis, California
For more information, visit or contact Sally Mohr at or at 530-752-5775.

Seed Business 101 Horticulture, December 4 - 8, 2017 in Davis, California
For more information, visit or contact Rebeca Madrigal at


The Plant Breeding Academy program joins Limagrain in Thailand

Plant Breeding Academy, Thailand
Continuing to fill the needs for training plant breeders, the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) organized and delivered a customized training course as a collaborative effort with Limagrain Academy. Thirty-one Limagrain breeders based in China, India, Israel, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam attended the one-week course in Bangkok, Thailand, August 22-26, 2016. The core UC Davis PBA lecturers, Rale Gjuric and Todd Wehner, were supported by senior plant breeders from Limagrain; Emmanuel Aubry, Rémi Levieil and Narin Singh, in delivering the course.

The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) Class VI completes first session

Plant Breeding Academy, Davis, CA, Class VI
UC Davis PBA Class VI held its first one-week session in September in Davis, California. The class will hold five more one-week sessions over the next two years. The 2016 class core curriculum maintains the upgrades from the previous classes with added modules to address the most recent development in plant breeding theory and practice. The core instructor list includes internationally recognized experts in plant breeding and seed technology: Kent Bradford, Allen Van Deynze, Rale Gjuric (UC Davis), Rita Mumm (University of Illinois) and Todd Wehner (North Carolina State University). They will be supported by a number of guest lecturers from the private industry and academia. UC Davis PBA’s week two session will be held in February, 2017.

For more information on the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy contact Joy Patterson at or visit

UC Davis Seed Business 101 (Field Crops or Horticulture)
Seed Business 101 is a one week course designed to expose participants to the five functional areas of a seed company (R&D, production, operations, sales and marketing and administration). To date, more than 400 seed professionals from around the world have attended this course. Seed Business 101 is taught by widely respected seed business executives with additional help of industry experts participating as guest speakers. For details, testimonials and registration information for Seed Business 101, please visit or contact Rebeca Madrigal at (530) 752-8759 or

The SBC hosted three successful Seed Business 101 courses this fall

Durham, North Carolina

Seed Business 101, Durham, NC
Our first Seed Business 101(Field Crops) this fall was held on September 12-16, 2016 in Durham, NC. The team of instructors (Dave Westphal, Rale Gjuric and John Sorenson) was supported by guest speakers that included well-respected industry experts: Brian Ashford, Cherry Farms Seed and Wyatt Richardson, Monsanto. In addition, course participants had the opportunity to meet with key personnel and tour local facilities and farms such as: Jay Sullivan Farms, Cashwell & Jones Processing Plant, and the Monsanto Testing Station.

Chicago, Illinois
Seed Business 101, Chicago, IL
Another Seed Business 101 Field Crops course was offered December 2-6, 2016, in Chicago, IL. Participants came from the USA, Canada, and Japan. The team of instructors (Tom Francis, Rale Gjuric, and Dave Westphal) was supported by guest speakers that included well-respected industry experts: Bruce Kettler, Becks Hybrids and Craig Newman, Former President, AgReliant Genetics, LLC.

Davis, California
Seed Business 101, Davis, CA
Seed Business 101 (Horticulture) was offered December 5-9, 2016, in Davis, CA. Course participants represented a wide range of industry professionals from regional, national and international companies from the USA, Canada and Israel. The team of instructors (Maurice Smith, Pieter Vandenberg, and John Sorenson) were joined by a diverse group of expert guest speakers: Gene Miyao (Farm Advisor, Yolo, Solano & Sacramento Counties), Steve Wiley (General Manager, American Takii, Inc.), Mike Pereira (Principal, Granum Services LLC), John Bill (Global Product Manager, Monsanto Vegetable Seeds), Phyllis Himmel (Director, CPPSI, UC Davis), and Elina Nino (UCCE Apiculturist, Department of Entomology, UC Davis).

European Plant Breeding Academy

Plant Breeding Academy, Europe
Class IV of the European PBA met for their fourth week of the six-week session in Gent, Belgium on October 2, 2016. Week 5 will be held in March 2017 in Almeria, Spain. The PBA and SBC would like to thank all of our European partners and presenters, along with the core instructors, that make this one of our most well-received programs.

For more information on the European PBA, contact Joy Patterson

Program Management for Plant Breeders
Twenty-five breeders/researchers representing public and private organizations from USA, Canada, Costa Rica, France, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Taiwan and Turkey participated in the third offering of the course Program Management for Plant Breeders on September 20-22, 2016 in Davis, CA. The participant list included the recipient of the “Larry Teuber Memorial Scholarship”, Kay Watt, a PhD student at UC Davis (photo below).

Program Management for Plant Breeders
Program Management for Plant Breeders

Lead instructors included industry experts, Fred Bliss, Tom Francois and Rale Gjuric. A lecture and demonstration of Integrated Breeding Platform software was contributed by Shawn Yarnes. For questions or additional information on the course, please contact Sally Mohr at or at 530-752-5775, or visit Program Management for Plant Breeders.

Advancements in Plant Breeding, Trial Design and Analysis

Advancements in Plant Breeding, Trial Design and Analysis
The Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops Novi Sad (IFVCNS) in collaboration with UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy developed and delivered a customized course to address the advancements in plant breeding, experimental design and analysis. Thirty plant breeders and scientists from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Holland, Italy, Moldova, Norway, Romania, South Africa, Serbia and Switzerland attended the course in Novi Sad, Serbia, September 27-29, 2016. Course instruction was provided by highly respected plant breeders and scientists from the region, including: Drs. Dragana Miladinovic, Goran Bekavac, Jegor Miladinovic, Sinisa Jocic, Svetlana Balasevic-Tubic (IFVCNS, Serbia), Domagoj Simic (Agricultural Institute Osijek, Croatia), Yalcin Kaya (Trakya University Havsa Myo, Edirne, Turkey), Mirjana Jankulovska (Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food, Skopje, Macedonia). Rale Gjuric represented UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy.

African Plant Breeding Academy Class II

African Plant Breeding Academy, Class II
The UC-Davis African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA), in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Mars, Incorporated, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other global partners of the African Orphan Crop Consortium, graduated its second cohort of plant breeders in Nairobi, Kenya on December 9, 2016. Class II included 25 graduates representing 14 nations across the African continent, working in a wide variety of crop species to improve production and nutritional aspects. 

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Additionally, the African Plant Breeding proudly and gratefully announced new funding support from AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) during this session, which supports 15 students in this class and 15 in the next. Dr. Joe DeVries, AGRA’s Chief Officer of Agricultural Transformation, and Dr. Rufaro Madakadze, Senior Program Officer for AGRA, addressed students to fan dedication to eradicating hunger and under-nutrition in Africa. Furthermore, Dr. Allen Van Deynze, who in addition to serving as an AfPBA instructor also serves on the Steering Committee of the African Orphan Crop Consortium, gratefully accepted a check from Jon and Terase Curtis, who provided funding to support one student in the course.

Class III of the African PBA will begin in May 2017. Applications for Class III are available at
For more information, contact Sally Mohr at


Save the dates for the following SBC hosted events:

International Society for Seed Science Conference, 2017
International Society for Seed Science Conference
September 10-15, 2017
Monterey, California

International Society for Seed Science Conference, 2017
This meeting is being held in the U.S. for the first time since 1989 and will bring the top international seed scientists to interact with the U.S. and Californian seed industry.
• Four days of oral presentations, themed sessions of invited talks by domestic and international professionals from the public sector and industry to discuss the latest developments in seed science
• Invited speakers and contributed oral and poster sessions
• Evening Opening Reception
• Evening Gala Banquet
• Arranged tours and visits to seed companies and vegetable production sites in the Salinas Valley region followed by a catered lunch and trade show
• ISSS 2017 is being held at the iconic Monterey Plaza Hotel, centrally located on beachfront property along Monterey Bay’s historic and vibrant Cannery Row

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