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

Study on plant breeding education to be conducted at UC Davis

Davis, California, USA
October 16, 2009

Plant breeding is currently under stress – the global demand for breeders is greater than the current educational system has been producing. Companies are having difficulty finding well trained plant breeders, slowing the progress of agricultural research. The need to strengthen public plant breeding programs and educate more professional plant breeders is critical if we are to continue producing improved crop varieties to provide food for an increasing population.

Researchers at UC Davis are initiating a study aimed at gaining consensus on the most essential curriculum components for educating plant breeders. Through an iterative process, a diverse group of experts with highly specialized knowledge of plant breeding will be surveyed to elicit ideas and suggestions for educational program content. Over 250 participants from all over the world will be asked to complete the three rounds of this survey, with each round building on the responses gleaned through the prior round. This consensus-based approach will lead to a comprehensive analysis of content and practical experiences that will guide the design of modern plant breeding curricula. Following conclusion of the analysis, all results will be publically available to the international community.

“Plant breeders continually provide the world with necessary advances in crop varieties; however, their numbers are diminishing due to retirements and fewer educational programs offering plant breeding degrees,” says Dr. Allen Van Deynze, Director of Research at the Seed Biotechnology Center and co-founder of the Plant Breeding Academysm. “The scope of this study provides every participant an equal voice to help improve the training experiences of future breeders and will result in a clear understanding of how to focus educational programs to get the best results.”

Dr. Cary Trexler, a professor in the College of Education at UC Davis will lead this study in cooperation with the Seed Biotechnology Center. Funding for this study is being provided through the generous support of private companies, university departments, and individual contributors.

Additional information regarding this study is available at

Please email with questions or to help support this study.

The Seed Biotechnology Center was established at UC Davis in 1999 to mobilize the research, educational and outreach resources of the University of California in partnership with the seed and biotechnology industries, and to facilitate discovery and commercialization of new seed technologies for agricultural and consumer benefits.


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