UC Davis SBC to develop plant breeding modules
Davis, California, USA
December 18, 2009
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture/AFRI has recommended for funding $500,000 to the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center to address plant breeding education.
Allen Van Deynze, Hamid Ashrafi, Theresa Hill, Raoul Adamchak, Carol Hillhouse (UC Davis) and Jim Prince (Fresno State University) will use pepper as a model to develop plant breeding modules to recruit students and integrate resistance to phytophthora root rot and leaf blight into chile peppers.
There is a lack of plant breeding professionals being trained despite an increasing demand by the industry. UC Davis is leveraging its student farm program and Kindergarten-12 student program to recruit students into plant sciences and plant breeding. Furthermore an internship program for graduate students is being developed with Fresno State University to cross-train students in plant breeding and plant pathology. Breeding for resistance to phytophthora is complicated by the large number of races found, the dynamic preponderance of races in fields and the differential genetic control of resistance across specific tissues and races.
The long-term goals are a) to educate students on the importance of plant breeding and genetic diversity in food production and b) to develop and release pepper germplasm that combines resistance alleles to the most virulent races of phytophthora root rot and leaf blight.
The specific objectives are to: 1) develop an interactive, hands-on education program for breeding and genetic diversity of peppers for undergraduates and K-12. 2) define and characterize the genetic basis of race-specific disease resistance to root rot and foliar blight on an ultra-high density genetic map of pepper 3) combine/pyramid genetic loci for Phytophthora capsici resistance in a chile pepper line using marker-assisted breeding.
The outcome is educating approximately 300 undergraduates and 1500 K-12 students on the use of genetic diversity in plant breeding; understanding race-specific resistance of phytophthora syndromes in pepper; and delivering a chile pepper line resistant to multiple races of phytophthora.
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.