LBIK10145U Molecular Plant Breeding

Volume 2014/2015
MSc Programme in Agriculture

This course comprises the use of technologies and strategies for future modification of important cultured plants to meet the demands for environmentally sustainable production of food, feed, industrial raw material and ornamentals of high quality. Some of the most important methods are presented by which plants can be modified and how the best lines can be selected. The students will see that molecular plant breeding is demand-driven, and that often great creativity is required in order to fulfill these demands, while in other cases well-described procedures can be followed to reach the goals. The course predicts future needs for modification of important cultivated plants to meet the demands for high, efficient and environmentally sustainable production of food, feed, industrial raw material and ornamentals of top quality. Molecular breeding employs molecular genetic markers and genomics for allele-selection (SSR, SNP, MAS, proteomics) to explore natural variation, and mutant and transgene technologies (TILLING, Eco-tilling, GMO) to expand the natural variation and for targeted solutions. Bioinformatics is important in general when designing strategies for plant improvement. Teaching will be research based with case projects in small student groups in major areas of research:
• Plant genetic resources (mutants, landraces, wild relative, synteny etc)
• Molecular breeding for disease resistance (natural, mutant and trans-genes)
• Yield improvement through tolerance to abiotic stress (drought, salt, cold etc)
• Quality improvement of food and feed (P, Fe, Zn, fibre and cell walls, allergy)
• Modification for industrial purposes (starch, fibre, reduce growth promoter in greenhouses)

Learning Outcome

The general aim of the course is to give an awareness of the principles of molecular plant breeding.

After completing the course the students should be able to:
- Describe the theoretical basis for molecular plant breeding, such as genetic markers, linkage analysis, marker-assisted selection, allele variation, mutant studies, TILLING and GM-technologies
- Describe mechanisms behind the crop-related characters, e.g. disease resistance, drought tolerance and quality traits
- Describe molecular breeding for disease resistance, stress tolerance and selected quality characters
- Characterize a number of key genes with major historic relevance in plant breeding (e.g. mlo and dwarf-8)
- mention major databases and literature within the area

- demonstrate laboratory experience in plant phenotyping, molecular marker technologies and linkage detection
- demonstrate laboratory experience in assessment of quality traits and in bioinformatics

- construct programs for crop improvement using naturally existing and induced genetic variation and transgene technology.
- apply knowledge on molecular mechanisms behind selected plant characters to design demanded crop phenotypes

Lecture notes, scientific papers and reviews, laboratory protocols

Prerequisites equivalent to:

Molekylær genetik LBIF10184
Plant Genomics LBIA10213
Plant Breeding LPLF10314
Tema: Plantevidenskab LPLB10328
Lectures, laboratory exercises, teoretical exercises, discussions, journal clubs

A mixture of lectures for overviews and four two-week practical laboratory cases for small student groups in ongoing research areas. The students will describe this in a written report. These activities are complemented by journal clubs and discussions on specifically relevant themes.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 5
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Lectures
  • 37
  • Practical exercises
  • 220
  • Preparation
  • 142
  • Total
  • 412
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min.
Oral examination based on a case report randomly selected at the exam and general course content
Exam registration requirements
Participation in minimum 75% the teaching activities
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Oral examination as above
Criteria for exam assesment

"12" is scored by the student who can demonstrate having understood the described course content, including the principles behind.