This teaching unit is built around "The Plant Breeding Project", a common thread throughout the course carried out by 'plant breeders teams' (typically 3-4 students). This project focuses on the genetic improvement of a crop for agronomic traits of interest. The goal is to propose a strategy for improving the species for the considered traits and to discuss the possible alternatives.
To do so, the students will analyze real large-scale phenotypic and genomic data sets while implementing suitable and detailed bio-statistical and quantitative methods and relying on scientific genetic articles presenting the most up-to-date and groundbreaking AgBioTechs available for the studied crop .
"Resources" lectures and hands-on will provide the knowledge and skills needed for carrying out the project. These sessions will survey the most suitable methods available to plant breeders, from the evaluation of the genetic values of genotypes to classical breeding schemes, and Marker- and Genomic-Assisted Selection (MAS, genomic selection). Genotype X Environment X Management (GXEXM) interaction, landscape genomics, envirotyping, and other prospective approaches in plant breeding such as high-throughput (HT) phenomics, plant breeding digitalization, will also be studied...
Creativity sessions using design thinking methods (eg group brainstorming) will make it possible to reflect on the challenges, needs, and avenues of innovation for the crop and agro-sector concerned, as well as on the definition of key selection targets, strategy and possible alternatives that can be implemented for a program to improve the plant species considered.
This course is implemented on a skill-based learning and active pedagogy approach where each concept and method is illustrated during hands-on on practical real case studies, tutored team projects or reversed classes.
It trains executives specialized in plant breeding and the creation of plant varieties.