CropWatch, Jan. 22, 2010: Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Short Course

CropWatch, Jan. 22, 2010: Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Short Course

January 22, 2010

A new field-oriented short course, Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance, will be offered jointly by Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Oklahoma State University in June.

As growers in the High Plains well know after the recent seven-year drought, moisture deficits loom as one of the greatest challenges to future crop production. Enhancing the genetic tolerance of crops to drought stress, together with improved agronomic practices, is considered an essential strategy for addressing these deficits.

This short course was developed to respond to the need for more plant scientists trained in developing drought-tolerant cultivars. It will be held June 14-25 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and at experimental field sites in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska.

The course is targeted to graduate students in the plant sciences, as well as professionals in the public and private sectors. It will provide three graduate-level credits.

Course Basics

The course will consist of classroom lectures, hands-on lab exercises, and field research activities appropriate for a drought breeding and genetics program. Core topics will include:

  • Whole plant physiology of drought stress
  • Plant breeding for drought stress tolerance
  • Genomic approaches to drought stress tolerance

Eight instructors from four universities, each with a different specialty in plant sciences, will lecture in the classroom and at field sites. Visits to private sector breeding programs also will be included.


Participants should have a solid understanding of basic plant physiology and genetics. Prior to the short course, students will review online material on these topics to provide a common background in breeding and physiology concepts.

Program Costs

The cost of student tuition and fees is $1,687. Accommodations for room and board are available on campus for either $600 (double occupancy) or $775 (single occupancy). This cost includes three meals daily. Guests are also welcome to make their own arrangements for room and board. All foreign visas and travel arrangements are at students’ initiative and expense.


Partial funding for the course is provided by a grant from the USDA-CSREES-NRI Plant Breeding and Education program.


Participants may apply online. For more details, visit the course Web site or email Program Assistant Annie Heiliger at



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