Plant Breeding

Course CodeBHT236
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn the principles and practices of plant breeding.

Plant breeding is a bigger industry than most people realize. This course is a very valuable and unique course for anyone working in the modern industry. 
  • Provides an excellent entry point for learning plant breeding;
  • Understand the science of plant breeding and genetics
  • Learn different breeding techniques

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. The Scope and Nature of the Plant Breeding Industry
    • What is Plant Breeding
    • Scope of the Modern Industry
    • Sources of Genetic Material
    • Germplasm Preservation
    • Botanic Gardens, Plant Breeding Organisations, Research Bodies
  2. Introduction to Genetics
    • Review of Plant Genetics Linkage and Crossing Over
    • DNA
    • Homologous Chromosomes
    • Cell Biology -cell components, cell wall, nucleus
    • Protein Synthesis
    • Plant Anatomy
    • Plant Genetics, Mendel's Principles and Experiment
    • Genetic Terminology
    • Gene Linkages
  3. Gamete Production, Pollination and Fertilisation in Plants
    • Phases of Plant Reproduction
    • Gamete Production
    • Gene Mutation
    • Sources of Genetic Variation: Polyploidy, Bud Sports and Chimeras
    • Male Sterility
    • Effect of Environment
    • Terminology
    • Use of Pollination Biology in Plant Breeding: Pollination Process, Pollination Requirements, Cross Pollination, Fertilisation, Male/Female Recognition, Overcoming incompatibility, Post Fertilisation, Pollen Selection, Floral Introduction etc.
    • Mitosis and Meiosis
    • Genes
    • Sexual Structures in Plants: Flowers, Fruit, Seed
  4. Mono Hybrid and Dihybrid Inheritance in Plants
    • Mono hybrid Crosses
    • Dihybrid Crosses
    • Gene Linkages
    • Crossing Over
    • Recombination
    • Quantitative Traits
    • Terminology
  5. Systematic Botany and Floral Structures
    • Systematic Botany
    • Plant Morphology
    • Type Specimens
    • Floral Diagrams
    • International Botanical Code
    • Binomial System; Genus and species
    • Hybrids, Varieties, Cultivars
    • Name Changes
    • Nomenclature of hybrids
    • Using Botanical Keys
  6. Practical Plant Breeding Techniques
    • Plant Breeding Programs
    • Breeding Self Pollinated Crops
    • Pure Line Breeding
    • Mass Selection
    • Pedigree Breeding
    • Bulk Population Breeding
    • Breeding Cross Pollinated Crops
    • Single Plant Selection
    • Mass Selection
    • Progeny Selection
    • Line Breeding
    • Recurrent Selection
    • Backcross Breeding
    • Induced Polyploidy
    • Hybrid Seed Production
    • Dormancy Factors Affecting Germination (eg. hard seeds, impermeability to water, Chemical inhibitors, Undeveloped embryos, etc)
  7. Current Developments in Plant Genetics
    • Plant Biotechnology
    • Genetic Engineering
    • DNA Markers
    • Somatic Hybridisation
    • Micropropagation
    • Plant Breeders Rights
    • Trade Marks, Patents


  • Describe the commercial and scientific nature of the modern plant breeding industry, on a global basis
  • Describe the structure and function of genetic material
  • Describe gamete production in plants.
  • Explain the results of mono hybrid and dihybrid inheritance in plants.
  • Investigate the role of systematic botany in horticulture.
  • Explain a variety of different plant breeding techniques
  • Review current developments in plant breeding.

The Development of Carnations
Our modern day carnations are typical of many types of plants that have been developed extensively by plant breeders over the past couple of centuries.
 The cut flower carnation widely sold in florist shops today originated from Dianthus caryophyllus. It was bred with other species of Dianthus - at least with Dianthus sinensis; and has been developed extensively by plant breeders over more than 180 years to get the cultivars we grow today.
Carnations became increasingly popular as ornamental plants throughout the 19th century in the UK, Europe, USA and elsewhere, Thomas Hogg wrote extensively about Carnations in the early 1800’s. Around 1830 in Lyons, France, a new cultivar was raised, which became the forerunner of the modern perpetual flowering carnation. Various nurseries in the Lyons region continued breeding and developing cultivars for decades after that. American and UK growers continued to promote and develop cultivars though the late 19th and early 20th century.
Montague (Monty) Allwood and his brother George, established a nursery in Sussex in 1910; through which many new cultivars were developed throughout the 20th century. D x allwoodii refers to a cultivar created by breeding perpetual flowering carnations with a hardy species called D. plumarius
 Before World War II; Carnations were often considered second class cut flowers, and did not usually command a high price at the markets, compared with things like roses or orchids. In the decades following the war though, a lot of breeding was undertaken, and quality as improved. Carnations began to become a more popular flower; and in many places today; carnations are one of the most widely cultivated cut flowers. 

Today, carnations are one of the most widely cultivated commercial cut flowers around the world. They continue to be developed by breeders, and new cultivars continue to appear every year.

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