PBR-22803 Principles of Plant Breeding

This Study Handbook is published with reservation. It is not official yet.


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work0
E-learning material0
Course coordinator(s)dr. PM Bourke
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JC Goud
dr. PM Bourke
dr. MJW Jeuken
Examiner(s)dr. PM Bourke

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Mendelian genetics.
It is necessary to have followed an online course at Wageningen University before, or the special Onboarding course for distance learning. To get access to the Onboarding course, send an email to: onboarding.wur@wur.nl.

Continuation courses:

The DL-MSc-specializations have a fixed schedule.


Note 1: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with PBR-20806 Plant Breeding.
Note 2: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year.(http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm) -> Registration for Courses.
Note 3: The period mentioned below is the period in which this course starts. For the exact academic weeks see the courseplanning on www.wur.eu/schedule.
Note 4: This course is offered online and it takes about 20 hours to complete the weekly task. There are assignments with deadlines and non-synchronous interaction with teachers and fellow students.  An online exam is offered at the last Friday of the course. 
Note 5: This is an online course, but it can also be followed by on-campus students after consultation with the course coordinator.
Note 6: Because of overlap between this online course and on-campus courses, it is not possible to combine this course with PBR22303 Plant Breeding in your study program to obtain a minimum amount of credits.

This course introduces students to the central part of plant breeding: genotype and phenotype, genetic consequences of mode of reproduction, selection methods. Crop improvement by F1 hybrid breeding has become a very popular strategy, and it is treated in this course. Finally, the course gives an introduction on the induction and recovery of mutations to increase genetic variation, and to improve existing popular cultivars with some additional trait.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain basic concepts and principles in plant breeding;
- evaluate plant breeding selection programmes in terms of their advantages and limitations
- choose the appropriate selection method to breed for (certain combinations of) traits
- select the appropriate breeding strategy, taking into account the mode of reproduction of the crop of interest;
- indicate the key features, advantages and challenges in the production of F1 hybrid cultivars;
- analyse observations to separate genetic and non-genetic components of variation, including estimation of heritability.
- discuss the consequences of chimerism in mutants, and the implications of ploidy differences in breeding material


The course consists of a number of e-learning modules that explain and illustrate the principles, and give numerous exercises to the student to test his understanding. Feedback on correct and wrong answers is given.
Group assignments, self-tests and discussions are other activities in this course.


The exam is an online remotely proctored exam, for which the student should use a suitable computer in a suitable room.


Recommended: G. Acquaah, 2012. Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding, 2nd Edition Wiley-Blackwell

Compulsory for: MPSDLMaster Spec. Plant Breeding DL (2020)MSc1DL