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Plant breeding education

By: Lee, E.A | Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico DF (Mexico) | Arnel R. Hallauer International Symposium on Plant Breeding Mexico, D.F. (Mexico) 17-22 Aug 2003.
Contributor(s): Dudley, J.W [coaut.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookAnalytics: Show analyticsPublisher: Mexico, DF (Mexico) CIMMYT : 2003Description: p. 21.Subject(s): Breeders seed | Crops | Educational policies | Entomology | Molecular Biology | Plant pathology | Plant physiology | Soil science | Weeds | Plant breeding AGROVOCDDC classification: 631.53 Summary: Plant breeders are systems integrators, integrating and applying the disciplines of genetics (c1assical, molecular, quantitative, and population), statistics and experimental design, agronomy and soil science, molecular biology , weed science, crop and plant physiology, plant pathology , and entomology. In addition, they should be keen observers and possess people, communication (verbal and written), and fiscal skills. We will discuss five key points concerning plant breeding education: attracting graduate students, educational philosophy, retaining academic plant breeding positions, continuing the educational experience after graduate school and regaining our lost 'culture'. The demographics of future plant breeders have changed. There are far fewer undergraduate students choosing conventional plant breeding as a profession. Instead, they tend to be attracted to the more glamorous molecular-oriented laboratory careers. The result is a smaller qualified applicant pool. The remaining applicant pool still contains quality students, but at a lower frequency and some of those prospective students lack a basic agricultural background. This disturbing trend needs to be addressed, for it will only become worse. How do we educationally compensate for this deficit in basic agricu1tural knowledge? How do we persuade the most talented and brightest undergraduates to become interested in agricu1ture and more spedfically plant breeding so that they choose it as a career? Once we have attracted qualified students, how should we educate them? (1) We need to educate, as opposed to train, plant breeders. (2) We need to educate them as "plant" breeders, not "com" or "soybean" or "canola " breeders. (3) Plant breeding students must work in the field. Can we educate future plant breeders without academic plant breeding positions? A sad consequence of increased private sector plant breeding has been that funding organizations (both public and private granting agencies) are less likely to properly fund university plant breeding departments, the basis for educating future breeders. These agencies have the impression that "industry can do it all". But industry cannot do it all. And furthermore, what the industry requires is a constant output of well-educated, creative, imaginative plant breeders from university plant breeding departments. How do plant breeders obtain new knowledge after graduate school? Learning is a life-long endeavor and the state of knowledge and scope of disciplines that need to be integrated into plant breeding are constantly changing. Both as educators and practicing plant breeders we need to recognize this need and address it. We need to create opportunities that both permit hands-on learning experiences and foster discussion of science/technology in the context of plant breeding. Which brings us to our final point, how do we regain our 'culture'? Somehow over the years we have lost our 'culture' as plant breeders, that is to say, the opportunity to interact with one another on a regular and an informal basis, to freely exchange ideas. These interactions stimulated discussions that led to new ideas, presented opportunities for graduate students to interact with practicing breeders and potential employers, kept the academically-oriented plant breeders in touch with the industry, and finally, created opportunities for continuing education.Collection: CIMMYT Publications Collection
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Conference proceedings CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

CIMMYT Publications Collection 631.53 BOO (Browse shelf) 1 Available F632399
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Plant breeders are systems integrators, integrating and applying the disciplines of genetics (c1assical, molecular, quantitative, and population), statistics and experimental design, agronomy and soil science, molecular biology , weed science, crop and plant physiology, plant pathology , and entomology. In addition, they should be keen observers and possess people, communication (verbal and written), and fiscal skills. We will discuss five key points concerning plant breeding education: attracting graduate students, educational philosophy, retaining academic plant breeding positions, continuing the educational experience after graduate school and regaining our lost 'culture'. The demographics of future plant breeders have changed. There are far fewer undergraduate students choosing conventional plant breeding as a profession. Instead, they tend to be attracted to the more glamorous molecular-oriented laboratory careers. The result is a smaller qualified applicant pool. The remaining applicant pool still contains quality students, but at a lower frequency and some of those prospective students lack a basic agricultural background. This disturbing trend needs to be addressed, for it will only become worse. How do we educationally compensate for this deficit in basic agricu1tural knowledge? How do we persuade the most talented and brightest undergraduates to become interested in agricu1ture and more spedfically plant breeding so that they choose it as a career? Once we have attracted qualified students, how should we educate them? (1) We need to educate, as opposed to train, plant breeders. (2) We need to educate them as "plant" breeders, not "com" or "soybean" or "canola " breeders. (3) Plant breeding students must work in the field. Can we educate future plant breeders without academic plant breeding positions? A sad consequence of increased private sector plant breeding has been that funding organizations (both public and private granting agencies) are less likely to properly fund university plant breeding departments, the basis for educating future breeders. These agencies have the impression that "industry can do it all". But industry cannot do it all. And furthermore, what the industry requires is a constant output of well-educated, creative, imaginative plant breeders from university plant breeding departments. How do plant breeders obtain new knowledge after graduate school? Learning is a life-long endeavor and the state of knowledge and scope of disciplines that need to be integrated into plant breeding are constantly changing. Both as educators and practicing plant breeders we need to recognize this need and address it. We need to create opportunities that both permit hands-on learning experiences and foster discussion of science/technology in the context of plant breeding. Which brings us to our final point, how do we regain our 'culture'? Somehow over the years we have lost our 'culture' as plant breeders, that is to say, the opportunity to interact with one another on a regular and an informal basis, to freely exchange ideas. These interactions stimulated discussions that led to new ideas, presented opportunities for graduate students to interact with practicing breeders and potential employers, kept the academically-oriented plant breeders in touch with the industry, and finally, created opportunities for continuing education.

English

0309|AGRIS 0301|AL-Maize Program

Juan Carlos Mendieta

CIMMYT Publications Collection

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Lunes –Viernes 9:00 am. 17:00 pm. Si tiene cualquier pregunta, contáctenos a CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org