PBR-22303 Plant Breeding


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. RE Niks
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. RE Niks
dr. MJW Jeuken
dr. ir. JC Goud
Examiner(s)dr. ir. RE Niks

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

PBR-30306 Breeding for Quality and Resistance and PBR-30806 Design of Plant Breeding Programmes.


This course introduces students to key principles of plant breeding. Various reproduction modes and selection methods are discussed, including the production of hybrid cultivars. For an effective selection programme one should distinguish genotype from phenotype, since only the genotypic differences are relevant to genetically improve the crop. We also discuss the option to introduce new genetic variation by mutagenesis.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain basic concepts and principles in plant breeding;
- understand the advantages and limitations of plant breeding selection programmes, including the production of hybrid cultivars;
- choose the appropriate selection method to breed for (certain combinations of) traits;
- apply breeding methods taking into account the reproduction mode of the crop of interest;
- analyse observations to separate genetic and non-genetic components of variation;
- understand the implications if chimerism in mutants, and the consequences of changes in ploidy level in plants.


The most important teaching material is a series of five e-learning modules that explain and illustrate the principles of Plant Breeding. Furthermore the course consists of a limited number of focused lectures, and tutorials to help students understand the more difficult parts in the e-learning modules. Attendance of the lectures and tutorials is not compulsory. There are three compulsory practicals to promote further understanding of the principles.


The course is examined by a closed-book written examination, consisting of about 14 questions that are a mix and combination of multiple choice, multiple answer, and open questions requiring relatively short answers. For the practicals no marks are given, but their matter is covered by some question(s) in the examination.


All information will be made available through Blackboard, so an extra study book is not necessary.
For background information we recommend the book: Acquaah (2012). Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding. 2nd ed. ISBN 9780470664759.

Compulsory for: BPWPlant SciencesBSc1MO
Restricted Optional for: MPSPlant SciencesMScD: Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources1MO, 4MO
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology1MO, 4MO
Compulsory for: WUPBRBSc Minor Plant Breeding4MO
Restricted Optional for: WUEPSBSc Minor Experimental Plant Sciences4MO
WUPBTBSc Minor Plant Biotechnology1MO