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Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
University of California
Plant Breeding Academy

Welcome to the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy

The University of California, Davis PLANT BREEDING ACADEMY is a premium professional development program designed to develop and enhance the skills of industry personnel around the world to enable them to become independent plant breeders or to contribute to larger breeding programs.

Applications now being accepted!

Session 1 starting in September 2018
Early-Bird Tuition available through March 2018


News and Updates

EPBA Class 5
UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy starts the fifth class
The UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy started its fifth class of students last week with a session in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. With generous support from local industry represented by Seed Valley, the session was hosted by Monsanto and included visits to Syngenta, Bejo, Corn Bak and Incotec. Over the next two years, this class will spend more than 300 hours in classes, workshops and the field, training to complete this premium professional certificate program by attending a total of six sessions, held in Enkhuizen, The Netherlands; Angers, France; Gatersleben, Germany; Gent, Belgium; Almeria, Spain, and University of California, Davis.

UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy graduates the fourth class
UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy graduates the fourth class

UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) has graduated the fourth class with a session and graduation in Davis, California. Over the last two years, during the six sessions held in Enkhuizen, The Netherlands; Angers, France; Gatersleben, Germany; Gent, Belgium;  Almeria, Spain, and UC Davis, ten participants in this class spent more than 300 hours in classes, workshops and the field, training towards the PBA Certificate. The PBA is a premium professional certificate program offered in the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa. Fourteen classes offered worldwide since 2006 were attended by 260 breeders from 58 countries, making the PBA the most recognized program of its kind. The next class of the European PBA starts in October 2017. This class is full, applications are accepted for a waiting list. For more information, contact Joy Patterson at or visit PBA online.

Promoting neglected and underutilized crops: FAO & African Orphan Crops Consortium try to safeguard valuable food resources

A woman cleaning Moringa seeds in Niger. Moringa is a genus of shrubs and trees with multi-purpose uses. All parts of the Moringa tree are edible.
The African Orphan Crop Consortium (AOCC), an African-led, international consortium founded by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Mars, Incorporated (all UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy partners) are working to sequence the genomes of 101 African underutilized ('orphan') crops. “This information will allow breeders to use the same strategies and technologies as those for Western crops, such as maize, to make rapid improvements in African crops,” said ICRAF Director General Tony Simons, whose organization provides Secretariat services, a laboratory and classrooms to the AOCC. Read More

Enoch Achigan Dako (UAC) and Julia Sibiya (PROTA), alumnae of the University of California’s African Plant Breeding Academy, discuss establishment of African Plant Breeding Association

Enoch Achigan Dako (UAC) and Julia Sibiya (PROTA) Establishing African Plant Breeding Association
Alumnae of the UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy, Julia Sibiya and Enoch Achigan-Dako are now working to reestablish the African Plant Breeders Association. Their vision is to create a network for plant breeders in Africa to share germplasm, resources and discuss what they’re doing with the hopes of avoiding duplicative efforts and speeding progress toward food security. They sit down and talk with Seed World's Shawn Brook at the 2017 NAPB Annual Conference held at UC Davis. View VIDEO

Powerful Tools, Major Possibilities: New technologies are proving to be an asset to up-and-coming plant breeders

Rale Gjuric
In the September issue of Germination, SBC Education Director Rale Gjuric discusses the continued and valuable role of modern plant breeders, who are using the latest technological tools to do a job that, despite being as old as agriculture itself, is more important than ever. “It’s like an engineer working in a factory in the 1940s compared to now." Gjuric says. "They do the same job, but the factory has changed. They just have different tools now.” Read article online @

Many Educational Paths Exist for Plant Breeders

Over the past decade, plant breeding and biotechnology have been transformed — as a result, there are a variety of educational paths to be taken. Along with insights from SBC Director Kent Bradford, UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy graduates Curtis Van Laecke and Evan Gillis discuss in September's issue of Germination their individual educational and professional paths that led them to plant breeding. Read article online @

Can These Super-Crops Feed Africa?

SBC Director of Research Allen Van Deynze serves as Scientific Director for the African Orphan Crops consortium (AOCC), a primary partner of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy. The AOCC was featured in BBC News video "Can these super-crops feed Africa?". With Africa's population is set to boom over the next few decades — reaching 2.5 billion people by 2050 — scientists in Kenya are trying to find ways to grow enough food for everyone under very harsh and extreme environmental conditions. The AOCC has identified 101 traditional plants ripe for improvement and is using a DNA sequencing machine (donated by Illumina) to speed up traditional cross-breeding, which will result in making plants more fruitful, drought resistance and disease tolerant. View VIDEO

Ever Wonder Why Cantaloupes Don't Smell Like They Used To?

"For generations, Western Shipper cantaloupe was the industry standard", said Bill Copes, H.M. Clause’s melon man. But that melon is sensitive to ethylene, a gas that acts as a plant hormone to regulate growth and development. But ethylene can also cause cantaloupes to over-ripen or get soft during shipping. Breeders then produced a strain of cantaloupe called Harper or LSL (long shelf life) that did not respond to ethylene, resulting in much longer shelf life in the stores. While these Harper/LSL melons tend to be super sweet, they lack the depth of flavor of older varieties. The next step for melon breeders: Bring back the scent and rich melon flavor while keeping new positive traits, too. Read more

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For questions or information, 
contact Joy Patterson
or 530-752-4414

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UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center

Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis, Annual Report 2016

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Page Last Updated: November 6, 2017


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