International Master on


PLANT BREEDING (18th edition)


Zaragoza (Spain), 4 October 2010 – 10 June 2011

October 2011 – July 2012


Academic organization
Structure and contents of the first part of the Master
Lecturers participating in the 2008-2009 edition of the first part of the Master


Plant breeding plays a key role in increasing crop yield and quality, by developing varieties that are adapted to the different environmental conditions, make better use of inputs and are integrated into environmentally and economically viable agricultural systems. This discipline has evolved to a complex science, integrating molecular and cell biology and informatics tools into classical selection methods. It is therefore necessary to train young professionals and scientists to meet the challenges of future agriculture.


The Master enables the participants to:


-       Understand the basics and principles of modern plant breeding, including genomics.

-       Comprehend the different selection and breeding processes and assess the advantages and drawbacks of each according to the characteristics of crop species, the breeding objectives and the environmental conditions.

-       Learn how to integrate in a breeding programme the conventional techniques and most up-to-date methods that contribute towards greater efficacy in the selection processes and in the development of new varieties.

-       Design a breeding programme for a given crop species for the conditions of a country or region according to specific objectives.

-       Be introduced into research, critically applying acquired knowledge, capacities and abilities to the treatment of problems related to plant breeding.


The Master is organized by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ) of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the University of Lleida (UdL). It is included in the official postgraduate programme “Agro-food Science and Technology” of the University of Lleida, being an official Master of the Spanish university system within the framework of the new European Space for Higher Education.


The Master is developed over two academic years on a full time basis [120 credits, following the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)] and is structured in two parts.


The first part of the Master (60 ECTS) is professionally oriented and comprises lectures, practicals, tutored personal work and technical visits. This part will take place at the IAMZ from 4 October 2010 to 10 June 2011, and will be given by well qualified lecturers from international institutions and universities, research centres and private companies in different countries.


The second part of the Master (60 ECTS) constitutes a period of initiation to research in which participants work on the Master of Science Thesis. This part will begin from October 2011 onwards and will last for approximately 10 months in which research work will be conducted followed by the elaboration of the thesis, that must be publicly defended and approved by an international examining board.


Participants may, if they wish, complete only the first part of the Master, that constitutes a postgraduate specialization course.


CIHEAM will award the Postgraduate Specialization Diploma to those participants who have passed the necessary examinations and have obtained 60 ECTS taking the full first part of the Master. The University of Lleida could consider credits obtained in this first part to continue studies in the framework of its official postgraduate programme.


Participants who passed the first part of the Master with a grade of 70 or more out of a maximum of 100 may opt, once an experimental protocol has been presented and accepted, to the Master Degree. The official Spanish degree will be awarded by the University of Lleida and CIHEAM will award its Master of Science Degree.

Academic organization

The first part of the Master is held in three terms, with morning and afternoon sessions. This part is made up of complementary but independent units so that participants may attend, if they wish, only one or several units. The Contents section shows credits awarded to each.


This part requires personal work and interaction among participants and with lecturers, its international characteristics favouring the exchange of experiences and points of view. Formal lectures are complemented by tutorials, working groups, practicals, round table discussions and visits to centres of experimentation and seed companies.


Throughout this first part, participants carry out an individual project of a breeding programme, on a plant species of their choice applied to the specific conditions of their country of origin. This project will enable participants to: (i) apply the principles and methodology presented throughout the different units; (ii) gain experience in finding technical and scientific information, as well as learn how to make selective treatment of such information; (iii) make a critical assessment of different breeding alternatives; (iv) learn how to define and integrate the different components of a breeding programme; and (v) acquire experience in the preparation of oral communications and their presentation in public.


During the second part of the Master, participants prepare the Thesis required for being awarded the Master Degree in a second academic year, once the candidate has been admitted, having reached the minimum qualification required in the first part of the Master, and upon approval of a work protocol presented under the supervision of the thesis tutor. The experimental work for the elaboration of the thesis will be carried out in institutions collaborating with CIHEAM and the University of Lleida or in the University of Lleida, particularly at the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyeria Agrària, for a period of approximately 10 months, under the direction of a tutor who should be a doctor of renowned experience.


The first part of the Master is designed for a maximum of 30 participants complying with the following conditions:


a)  Higher University degree, preferably in agronomy, forest sciences, biology, biotechnology, plant sciences or any related field.

b)  Sound knowledge of plant biology, genetics and statistics.

c)  Knowledge of Spanish which will be the working language. Given the diverse nationalities of the teaching staff, simultaneous interpretation into Spanish will be provided. However, knowledge of English and French will be considered in the selection of candidates, since bibliographical material may be distributed in any of the three languages. The IAMZ organizes an intensive Spanish language course starting in July for those who require it.


Application forms may be obtained from:


Instituto Agronómico Mediterráneo de Zaragoza

Avenida de Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza (Spain)

Tel.: +34 976 716000 - Fax: +34 976 716001




Candidates should send the completed application form to the above address accompanied by:


- Curriculum vitae, stating university degree, experience and professional activities

- Transcript of records

- Certificates of language knowledge

- Reasons for applying to the Master


The deadline for the submission of applications from non-Spanish candidates is 4 May 2010. The first deadline for the submission of applications from Spanish candidates is 30 June 2010. Candidatures presented by this deadline will have preference. The second deadline will be 15 September 2010.


Applications from those candidates who cannot present their complete records when applying, or those requiring authorization, may be accepted provisionally.


Registration fees for each academic year of the Master amount to 1850* euro. This sum covers tuition fees only. For candidates wishing to partially attend the first part of the Master, the fees will be calculated on a pro rata basis.



*This price is orientative and may vary when official prices for credits of Master postgraduate programmes are determined at the UdL.


Candidates from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) may apply for scholarships covering registration fees, and for scholarships covering the cost of travel and full board accommodation in the Hall of Residence on the Aula Dei Campus.


Candidates from other countries who require financial support should apply directly to other national or international institutions.


It is compulsory for participants to have medical insurance valid for Spain. Proof of insurance cover must be given at the beginning of the Master. For participants under 28 years of age, insurance is included in the registration fees. Furthermore, those who so wish may participate in a collective insurance policy taken out by the IAMZ, upon payment of the stipulated sum.

Structure and contents of the first part of the Master


1.1.     Plant genetics and variability (4 ECTS)

1.1.1.    Historical perspectives of plant breeding

1.1.2.    Plant reproduction systems

1.1.3.    Plant genetics: from meiosis to gene structure

1.1.4.    Plant genetic resources

1.2.    Statistical methods (5 ECTS)

1.2.1.    Statistics and experimental design

1.2.2.    Regression analysis

1.2.3.    Genotype x Environment interaction

1.3.    Quantitative genetics and genetic analysis (10 ECTS)

1.3.1.    Population genetics

1.3.2.    Components of variation

1.3.3.    Response to selection

1.3.4.    Molecular markers, gene mapping and QTL



2.1.     Selection strategies and variety development (6 ECTS)

2.1.1.    Pure line breeding

2.1.2.    Population breeding

2.1.3.    Hybrid breeding

2.1.4.    Clone breeding

2.2.     Specific breeding methods (5 ECTS)

2.2.1.    In vitro techniques

2.2.2.    Mutagenesis

2.2.3.    Marker-assisted selection

2.2.4.    Interspecific and intergeneric crosses

2.3.     Application of genomics to plant breeding. Plant transformation (6 ECTS)

2.3.1.    Plant genomes

2.3.2.    Gene discovery

2.3.3.    DNA sequence diversity

2.3.4.    Genome databases and bioinformatics

2.3.5.    Tools for dissecting complex traits

2.3.6.    Plant transformation



3.1.     Breeding for specific objectives (8 ECTS)

3.1.1.    Abiotic stresses

3.1.2.    Biotic stress

3.1.3.    Compositional traits and added value

3.2.     Review of applied programmes and seed and plant production (9 ECTS)

3.2.1.    Maize breeding

3.2.2.    Wheat and barley breeding

3.2.3.    Pepper breeding

3.2.4.    Fruit tree breeding

3.2.5.    Commercial seed and plant production



Lecturers participating in the 2008-2009 edition of the first part of the Master

C. ALONSO, CSIC-CNB, Madrid (Spain)

A. ÁLVAREZ, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

S.B. ANDERSEN, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural Univ., Frederiksberg (Denmark)

P. ANDREU, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

J.L. ARAUS, Univ. Barcelona (Spain)

A. ARBELOA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

M. ARNEDO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

P. ARÚS, IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica, Cabrils, Barcelona (Spain)

A. ATARÉS, Univ. Politécnica Valencia/CSIC-IBMCP, Valencia (Spain)

J.M. AUDERGON, INRA, Montfavet (France)

F. AZANZA, Syngenta, Toulouse (France)

F. BARRO, CSIC-IAS, Córdoba (Spain)

J. BARRIUSO, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)


J. BETRÁN, Syngenta, Toulouse  (France)

A. BLUM, ARO, Volcani Center, Bet Dagan (Israel)

J. CASADESÚS, IRTA, Lleida (Spain)

A. CASAS, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

P. CHRISTOU, UdL-ICREA, Lleida (Spain)

T. CAPELL, UdL-ICREA, Lleida (Spain)

A. CASTILLO, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

J. COSTA, Monsanto España S.A., Madrid (Spain)

J.I. CUBERO, Univ. Córdoba (Spain)

F. DOSBA, Montpellier SupAgro-INRA (France)

J. ELENA, Consultant-CPVO, Madrid (Spain)

M. ELIA, INNOPAN, Lleida (Spain)

J.T. ESQUINAS, Univ. Politécnica Madrid (Spain)

J. ESTANY, UdL, Lleida (Spain)

A. GARCÉS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)



J. GARCÍA MAS, IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica, Cabrils, Barcelona (Spain)

R. GIL, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

V. GONZALEZ, Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica, Barcelona (Spain)

M. HARRABI, INAT, Tunis (Tunisia)

P. HAYES, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis (USA)

A. HEDHLY, CSIC-EELM, Málaga (Spain)

M. HERRERO, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

I. HORMAZA, CSIC-EELM, Málaga (Spain)

E. IGARTUA, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

W.J. DE KOGEL, PRI, Wageningen UR (The Netherlands)

W. LINK, Univ. Göttingen (Germany)

M. LUIS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

J. MARÍN, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

A.J. MONFORTE, Univ. Politécnica Valencia/CSIC-IBMCP (Spain)

F. MORALES, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

L. MOREAU, INRA/Univ Paris XI/CNRS/INA PG, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)

J. MORENO, CIAM, La Coruña (Spain)

R.E. NIKS, Agricultural Univ., Wageningen (The Netherlands)

S. NOGUÉS, Univ. Barcelona (Spain)

A. ORDÁS, CSIC-MBG, Pontevedra (Spain)

H. OUGHAM, IGER, Aberystwyth (United Kingdom)

C. PALAZÓN, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

M. PÉREZ DE LA VEGA, Univ. León (Spain)


B. PICKERSGILL, Univ. Reading (United Kingdom)

K. PILLEN, Univ. Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

F. PLIEGO, Univ. Málaga (Spain)

I. ROMAGOSA, UdL-IRTA, Lleida (Spain)

C. ROYO, IRTA, Lleida (Spain)

J. RUSSELL, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee (United Kingdom)

C.C. SCHÖN, Technische Universität München, Freising (Germany)

G. SLAFER, UdL-ICREA, Lleida (Spain)

R. SOCÍAS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)

M. STANCA, ISC, Fiorenzuela d’Arda (Italy)

S.E. ULLRICH, Washington State Univ., Pullman (USA)

M.P. VALLÉS, CSIC-EEAD, Zaragoza (Spain)

C. VICIENT, Centre de Recerca en Agrigenòmica, Barcelona (Spain)

J.M. VILLAÚ, Pioneer Hi-Bred Spain, S.L., Sevilla (Spain)

J. VOLTAS, UdL, Lleida (Spain)