Introduction. Definitions of plant breeding
Mating systems, barriers and control of the reproduction; relationship between mating system and plant breeding. Sporogenesis, gametogenesis and fertilization. Classification of reproductive systems. Floral morphology and physiological mechanisms promoting autogamy and allogamy. Apomixis, Auto-incompatibility systems and Male-sterility
Population genetics. What is a population? How to describe a population: genotypic and allelic frequency The Hardy-Weinberg law. The role of the evolutionary forces: mutations, migration, genetic drift, selection recombination. Inbreeding: definition and calculation of the inbreeding coefficient. Genetic structure of the populations of autogamous, allogamous and clonal plant species.
Genetic resources. Relevance of genetic resources for plant breeding: selection and genetic erosion. Centers of crop domestication and of diversification. Aspects of crops evolution under domestication. Sampling strategies. Base collections and ‘core’ collections. Strategies for germplasm conservation (in situ, ex situ).
Quantitative genetics. The genetic basis of quantitative traits. Some statistics: mean, variance, standard deviation; covariance and correlation. Phenotypic value, genotypic value and environmental deviation. The model of Mather. Population mean, average effect of the alleles, average effect of allelic substitution, breeding value. Dominance deviations. The partitioning of the phenotypic variance: genetic variance (additive, dominance, epistatic) and environmental variance. Genotype x environment interaction. Heritability (broad sense and narrow sense). Resemblance (covariance) between relatives. Selection for quantitative traits: selection differential, intensity of selection, selection gain (short-term and long-term responses).
Breeding methods. Methods to induce genetic variability (hybridization, mutagenesis and polyploidy). Methods used in the breeding of self-pollinated crops (pure-line breeding and mass-selection methods. Pedigree method of breeding and bulk-population methods. Back-cross). Methods used in the breeding of cross-pollinated crop. General Combining Ability (GCA) and Specific Combining Ability (SCA). Progeny tests. Synthetic varieties. Hybrid varieties, inbreeding depression and heterosis. Selection of superior inbred lines. Recurrent selection. Clonal varieties. Multi Environmental Trials and Genotype x Environment interaction. Varieties deployment.
Analysis of genetic variation and biotechnology applied to plant breeding. Molecular marker (microsatellite, SNP, elements of sequence analysis). Plant genomics resources and applications (structural, functional and comparative genomics). The study of gene expression (microarray and RNAseq). Genetic maps and QTL analysis. Association mapping. Marker assisted selection (MAS) and “breeding by design”. In vitro culture. techniques for plant transformation. OGM.