PLANT BREEDING FOR DROUGHT TOLERANCE
Moisture deficits loom as one of the greatest challenges to future crop production, both in rainfed and irrigated agriculture. Enhancing the genetic tolerance of crops to drought stress, together with improved agronomic practices, is considered an essential strategy for addressing these deficits. To respond to the need for more plant scientists trained in developing drought tolerant cultivars, Colorado State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln will offer a one-credit online course in Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Sept. 26 to Oct. 28, 2011.
The course is targeted to graduate students in the plant sciences, as well as to professionals in the public and private sectors. It will provide one transferable graduate-level credit.
The course will focus on plant breeding strategies and practices directed toward improving plant performance under drought stress. Concepts for this intensive, one-credit graduate level course include:
* Understanding the target environment
* Determining which phenotypic traits to use in selection practices
* Understanding transgenic approaches and quantitative trait locus analysis for improving drought tolerance
* Learning from successful examples of improving drought tolerance in a variety of crops
* Integrating techniques learned in the course into a breeding or research program strategy
The 5-week curriculum is divided into 15 lessons. Each lessons content will be delivered via a voice-over PowerPoint presentation, a video, a relevant reading assignment, or combinations of these media. Some lessons will require student participation in an online discussion or completion of a homework assignment. The 15 lessons will be followed by a proctored final exam. Throughout the course students will work on creating a portfolio of documents describing an analysis and breeding strategy for a specific crop and environment. The course will be given in English.
Participants should have a solid understanding of genetics, plant breeding, and basic plant physiology. Prior to the beginning of the course, students will review online material on these topics to provide a common background in breeding and physiology concepts.
PROGRAM COSTS AND REQUIREMENTS
The cost of student tuition is approximately $550 (amount to be finalized in June 2011). Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) is required, as is Adobe Reader (available for free online). Students are required to have access to a computer and Internet access that meet the general CSU recommendations found online at http://www.colostate.edu/Services/ACNS/standards/student.html.
Partial funding for the course is provided by a grant from the USDA-AFRI Plant Breeding and Education program.
REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION
More information and applications are available online at http://www.droughtadaptation.org/onlinecourse.html. Interested students are encouraged to visit the course website for more details, or send an email to the Program Assistant, Annie Heiliger, at Annie.Heiliger from ColoState.edu<mailto:Annie.Heiliger from ColoState.edu> with questions.