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

February eNews


The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center (SBC) has had the good fortune to have a busy couple of months since our last newsletter. Reflecting upon these busy times reminds us of how thankful we are for all of our partners and for their support of our programs. We are fortunate to work with many of you as lecturers in our courses, hosts of our events, support of Seed Central as well as contributions to sustaining the future of the center. We are grateful for our course participants and to those of you who send students to attend our classes. We’d also like to recognize our Seed Advisory Council and the Seed Advisory Board for their important assistance. Frankly, thank you all!


The Kent J. Bradford Endowment
The establishment of the Kent J. Bradford Endowed Chair in Seed Science will provide support for a faculty member at UC Davis who would be focused on seed biology and technology and serve as the director of the Seed Biotechnology Center. The endowment will ensure that the seed industry’s needs for academic research, education and public service can continue to be met in perpetuity.

We are delighted to highlight recent gifts to the endowment from:

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Keithly Williams Seeds

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It is with partners like these that will allow us to meet the endowment goal. Thank you Keithly Williams Seeds and INCOTEC! For more information about the endowment, please see

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Seed Central/Food Central

Last month we hosted a special event, “The seed industry is a great place for women to work - and for men too.” This unique program brought together seven women leaders from the industry who were paired with UC Davis female students. The program, moderated by Executive Associate Dean, Mary Delany, was lively and insightful. This may have been our most well-attended event to-date (50% of the audience were men). For more information see:

On February 11th Seed Central/Food Central will host a value-added afternoon focused on cutting-edge technologies. The Forum will feature UC Davis’ Dr. Paul Gepts speaking on, “Grain legume breeding in California and East Africa: contrasting endeavors.” For details, see

UC Davis Plant Breeding Center
The Plant Breeding Center publishes monthly newsletters to keep you current with their activities. The latest publication takes a look at their accomplishments in 2015 and plans for 2016. This center has a lot of exciting activities for the upcoming year. For more information go to 

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In the News

Seed World salutes Kent Bradford and Gurdev Khush

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Kent Bradford and Gurdev Khush are among Seed World magazine’s top picks for its list of the 100 most transformational men and women in the seed industry in the last 100 years. “These are individuals who have provided leadership during trying times, insight to complex issues and a commitment to something larger than self,” Seed World editors wrote in the magazine’s centennial edition, published December 2015. Read more

Collaboration for the Identification of Plant Pathogen Strain Identification
After securing approval from our Advisory Council, the Collaboration for the Identification of Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI) working group started development of the next four disease systems into differential host sets, reference plant pathogen strains and informative white papers. The four disease systems are: Lettuce Downy mildew, Watermelon Fusarium wilt, Tomato TSWV and Pepper TSWV.  The four white papers that discuss and support the existing differential host sets have all been updated and revised to address the appearance of new strains and resistance genes.  CPPSI, GEVES MATREF in France and Naktuinbouw (NAKT) in the NL are building a strong foundation for cooperation to standardize plant pathogen strain identification in Europe and the US.  There are overlapping diseases systems and comparative ring tests with GEVES MATREF are under way and planned with NAKT to confirm consistent responses to pathogen strains across these collections of differential host sets.   A comparative ring test with GEVES MATREF is now a process step in differential host set development.  CPPSI is participating in the ISF led project to review and revise resistance nomenclature and harmonize pathogen names and abbreviations.

Upcoming Courses

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Breeding with Genomics
The SBC is hosting its 7th Breeding with Genomics class on February 16-18, 2016 at UC Davis.

For further information please visit or contact Sally Mohr ( 

Seed Business 101
SB101 is offered by the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. It was created with input from industry executives to accelerate the careers of promising new employees and young managers. The course, offered since fall of 2010, has been attended by more than 350 seed professionals.

Field Crops: Two sessions are scheduled. One will be in Durham, NC USA September 12 – 16, 2016. The second will be in Chicago, IL USA December 2 – 6, 2016.

Horticulture: The first offering will be in Chiang Mai, Thailand on February 22 – 26, 2016. The next class is scheduled on December 5 – 9, 2016 in Davis, CA USA.

For more information see or contact Rebeca at

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The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy Class VI starts in September 2016! Discount is available for registration before March 31, 2016.

The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) is a professional certificate program offered since 2006 with classes in the USA (UC Davis), Europe, Africa and Asia. To date, the Academy has trained more than 180 breeders, 80% of which are from the private seed industry. Class VI of the PBA in Davis will start in September 2016 and is now open for registration.

The 2016 class core curriculum will maintain the upgrades from the previous classes and add 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 (NCSU). They will be supported by a number of guest lecturers from the private industry and academia.

Employers appreciate the opportunity to provide their valued employees advanced training without disrupting their full-time employment. Participants attend six 6-day sessions over approximately two years.

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

The next session for the European Plant Breeding Academy meets in Angers, France on March 7-12, 2016. This will be their second week of the six-week course.

Class V of the UC Davis program will graduate in June 2016. This graduation will include a special celebration to celebrate the PBA’s tenth anniversary! More details will be announced soon.

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2016 Program Management for Plant Breeders - September 20-26, 2016, Davis, CA. The course objective is to enhance the management skills of professional scientists who are leading and directing plant breeding and laboratory programs in modern
agricultural research and development programs of agribusiness companies and the public sector. Lead instructors include industry experts, Fred Bliss, Tom Francois and Rale Gjuric.

For questions or additional information, please contact Sally Mohr at or visit Program Management for Plant Breeders. This course will only be offered provided that minimum enrollment numbers are met.

Recent Courses

Seed Business 101

UC Davis Seed Business 101 completes another successful session

Field Crops: This session was offered in Chicago, IL, on December 4-8, 2015, organized in conjunction with the American Seed Trade Association Corn & Sorghum Seed Research Conference (December 7-11, 2015).

SBC Seed Business 101 Horticulture class participants

HorticultureThis offering was conducted on December 7-12, 2015 in Davis. The SBC would like to  recognize HM.Clause for all of their support with this course. 

Seed Production

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This new course was offered on February 2 – 5, 2016 at UC Davis. Enrollment had to be closed at 54. The course was extremely well-attended. It was taught in a very interactive format. The instructors included Dr. Greg Welbaum, Dr. Kent Bradford, Dr. Rale Gjuric and industry expert, Mike Pereira, along with other important guest lectures. The SBC thanks all involved for a successful new course. More information and a waiting list for potential future offerings can be found at:

UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is meeting at UC Davis February 8-13, 2016. This is this class’ (Class V) fifth week of their six-week course.

Class II of the African Plant Breeding Academy offered its first session on November 29 - December 12, 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa. This class was selected from an astounding 252 applicants. Class II consists of thirty students from 19 countries and 28 institutions. Lead instructors included Dr. Rita Mumm, Dr. Iago Hale, Dr. Bruce Walsh and Dr. Todd Wehner. The next session will return to ICRAF’s Kenya site in Nairobi in June 2016.


Save the dates for the following SBC hosted events:

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Solanaceae Conference, September 12 – 15, 2016, UC Davis, California
Registration is now OPEN!

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

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