Article banner region

Genomic Selection in Plant Breeding

NOVA PhD course of 4 ECTS, offered by Søren K. Rasmussen, KU-SCIENCE.
Course dates: 25-29 January 2016 at KU-SCIENCE, Denmark.

Barley field.
Barley field.
Søren K. Rasmussen
Course Description
Selection in plant breeding has traditionally relied on scoring the phenotype. Marker assisted selection using DNA markers has proven to be useful for direct selection of some individual traits. Dramatic reduction in the price of nucleotide sequencing has led to description of a growing number of crop plants by their whole genome sequence. This, combined with affordable genotyping of individuals, has led to a dramatic increase in marker density for several crop plant species, allowing selection at genomic level to be practical, in the same way that has proven useful in animal breeding. The course focuses on genomic selection and prediction which is becoming possible in plant breeding.

The course will include 1-week of guest and teachers’ lectures as well as graduate students talks on genomic methods and their application in plant breeding. The course focuses on the new genomic selection and genome-wide association scan for gene-discovery. The course deals with marker assisted selection, genomic selection and molecular breeding by traditional genetic engineering as well as novel genome editing techniques. The course will deal with the challenges of phenotyping large populations and management of large dataset. The course will give updates on exiting developments on New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) and legal certainty for science and industry concerning their application and exploitation.

Programme Outline
Sunday afternoon – arrival and accommodation
Monday: Introduction to selection in plant breeding and Students Poster presentations
Tuesday: Genome-wide association studies in cereals
Wednesday: Genomic prediction in grasses
Thursday: Excusion to DLF-Trifolium plant breeding station
Friday: New Plant Breeding Techniques

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding marker assisted selection and association genetics
  • Understanding the principles of genomic selection and prediction
  • Knowledge about the genome editing technologies


  • Be able to design a breeding program for a specific crop species and target
  • Be able to identify required information in order to carry out a breeding project


  • Be able to evaluate feasibility of breeding for a given trait
  • Be able to suggest critical measures to reach the goal

Pre-course assignments
The students will receive literature before the start and should bring a poster

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments
The students are requested to bring a poster on their PhD project. The students will receive literature before the start in order to prepare a Student Lecture. There will be no post-campus assignments.

Students will earn their credits by presenting a poster of their project on day 1 and by preparing and giving a Student Lecture exploring relevant methods and principles taught on the course.

Pedagogical Approach
The course is based on lectures, case studies, working groups and at plenum. It will include a visit to a plant breeding company.

Estimated Workload

  • Seminar (teachers): 20 hours
  • Lectures incl. case studies: 40 hours
  • Pre-course work (reading given literature and poster preparation): 50 hours
  • Poster presentation: 4 hours
  • Excursion to breeding company: 6 hours
  • Total: 120 hours

Prerequisite Knowledge
The course is intended for PhD-students with basic knowledge of plant breeding and genetics, crop science and biotechnology. Students that have a breeding aspect in their PhD-project will get priority.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.


Published 15. April 2015 - 8:54 - Updated 3. April 2018 - 15:40

NOVA University Network


Postal address:
Ingrid Aksnes Hjetland
NOVA Secretariat
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
PO BOX 5003
NO-1432 Aas