Pre-breeding for effective use of plant genetic resources

This is a course developed by the Global partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding capacity building (GIPB) as part of a comprehensive strategy to develop a critical mass of personnel skilled in the genetic improvement of crops.

Pre-breeding refers to all activities designed to identify desirable characteristics and/or genes from unadapted materials that cannot be used directly in breeding populations, and to transfer these traits to an intermediate set of materials that breeders can use further in producing new varieties for farmers. The adoption of pre-breeding facilitates the efficiency and effectiveness of crop improvement programmes by enabling increased access to, and use of, genetic variations conserved in genebanks.

The target audience for this e-learning course is primarily germplasm curators and plant breeders and their support and collaborating personnel. University lecturers and students engaged in germplasm management and/or crop improvement will also find the course very useful, which consists of five units which require 16 hours of self-paced instruction to complete, using interactive step-by-step instructions and exercises.

The structure of the course, which is complemented by bibliographic references including on-line resources and a rich glossary of terms, allows the learner to take the whole course or select specific lessons depending on individual needs and circumstances. The five units of the course are:

  1. Introduction to pre-breeding
  2. Genebank management relevant to pre-breeding
  3. Pre-breeding project management
  4. Creating and managing variation
  5. Distributing, use and regulatory issues

Learners can access the course free of charge at the GIPB website, subject to registration requirements.

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