Optimizing breeding schemes

Advancement meeting role-playing exercise


An advancement meeting ties together the different stages in a breeding process.

One of several meetings that should take place in the year, the advancement meeting is where data is considered and decisions made at the top level. 

These materials are designed to be used as part as a role-playing exercise to demonstrate to participants how an advancement meeting should be set up, the importance of role specialization and the responsibilities of different members of the breeding and management team. 


Identification key for agriculturally important plant-parasitic nematodes: a manual for nematology

Nematodes are diverse metazoans with an estimated one million species covering nearly all ecosystems in their roles as bacterivores, herbivores, parasites of animals and plants, and consumers of dissolved as well as particulate organic matter.

Their economic impact was estimated at a loss of $118 billion in 2001, half of that in rice and maize alone. Accuracy of species identification is therefore fundamental to our understanding and communication of the ecological role of any organism.

Linear selection indices in modern plant breeding

This book represents a compilation of work done in the area of “selection indices” in animal and plant breeding.

Selection indices were originally developed by Smith (1936) in plant breeding and by Hazel (1943) in animal breeding to address the selection of plants or animals scored for multiple traits.

In agriculture, the breeding worth (or net genetic merit) of a candidate for selection depends on several traits. For example, grain yield, disease resistance, and flowering time.


CassavaBase offers access to data and tools for breeders and researchers, including genomic selection algorithms and analysis capacity, a cassava genome browser, cassava ontology tools, phenotyping tools, and social networking.

Examples of activities supported by CassavaBase:

The Breeding Management System (BMS)

The Breeding Management System (BMS) is a program that helps manage your breeding data across all phases of the crop improvement cycle, from program planning to decision making.

It lets you manage trials, nurseries and seed inventory; run statistical analyses; and support breeding decisions through the gradual integration of genetic markers.

The BMS suite of tools supports multiple breeding strategies:

Sarah Hearne


Sarah Hearne
Sarah Hearne’s work focuses on the interface between genetic resources and plant breeding and in the adaptation/development and use of tools to enhance the identification and transfer of useful native genetic variation from exotic germplasm to breeding germplasm. She leads the maize and informatics work of the Seeds of Discovery (SeeD) initiative at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT). Hearne is presently a Principal Scientist at CIMMYT. Previously, she was a Plant Molecular Geneticist/Physiologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Hearne holds a doctoral degree on morphological, physiological and molecular interactions between maize and the parasitic angiosperm Striga hermonthica from the University of Sheffield – U.K.