Improving the genetic potential and reducing the yield gap of crops is the most effective way to introduce the innovation needed in agriculture to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals


Key reasons to attend this course

Better understand the current genomic tools for addressing basic and applied plant science questions.
Be familiar with concepts and methods of structural and functional plant genomics to harness cereal diversity for improving tolerance to abiotic stresses (with a focus on heat and drought).
Raise awareness of the extra challenges imposed by climate change for ensuring food security and improving cereals.
Learn about the strategies that must be considered to increase breeding effectiveness, combining recent advances on genomics and phenomics.
Identify the challenges caused by climate change for plant breeders.
Acquire knowledge on the use of genomic databases for plant breeding.
Network with professionals from other countries and share knowledge on recent trends in cereal genomic diversity and crop improvement and strengthen cooperation to address current production and environmental issues.


Battaglia, Raffaella - CREA, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy)
Ben Araar, Aladdin - INGC, Bousalem (Tunisia)
Cattivelli, Luigi - CREA, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy)
Contreras, Bruno - EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
Elleuch, Amine - Univ. Sfax (Tunisia)
Fricano, Agostino - CREA, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy)
Igartua, Ernesto - EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza (Spain)
Hanin, Moez - Univ. Sfax (Tunisia)
Hickey, Lee - Univ. Queensland (Australia)
Jarrahi, Tarek - INGC, Bousalem (Tunisia)
Paleari, Livia - Univ. Milan (Italy)
Perego, Alessia - Univ. Milan (Italy)
Sánchez-García, Miguel - ICARDA, Rabat (Morocco)
Visioni, Andrea - ICARDA, Rabat (Morocco)

Applied approach
(lectures, practical group work, case studies & debate)

14 Leading international experts

Hybrid modality course


  • 1. Accessing cereal genetic diversity
    • 1.1. Types of germplasm
      • 1.1.1. Core collection
      • 1.1.2. Mutant populations, TILLING populations
    • 1.2. Genotyping
      • 1.2.1. Genotyping By Sequencing (GBS)
      • 1.2.2. SNPs platforms
      • 1.2.3. Genome data bases
      • 1.2.4. Sequencing and genomics resources (pangenomics)
    • 1.3. Phenotyping
      • 1.3.1. Precision phenotyping
      • 1.3.2. High-throughput phenotyping
    • 1.4. GWAS
  • 2. Breeding cereals under climate change
    • 2.1. Breeding crops in a climate change framework
    • 2.2. Climate change challenges, the physical environment and climate modelling (drought, heat, biotic stress)
    • 2.3. Strategies to cope with climate change (phenology, drought)
    • 2.4. Pre-breeding case studies
      • 2.4.1. Low tech approaches for heat tolerance in Morocco
      • 2.4.2. Low tech approaches for drought tolerance in Tunisia
  • 3. Advanced breeding tools
    • 3.1. Genomic selection
      • 3.1.1. Concepts
      • 3.1.2. Case studies
    • 3.2. Introduction to functional crop modelling for breeding
    • 3.3. Functional genomics, from QTL to genes
      • 3.3.1. Fine mapping and candidate gene identification
      • 3.3.2. Functional analysis
    • 3.4. Genetic transformation (genome editing, overexpression, silencing RNA, genotype dependence of genetic transformation
    • 3.5. Speed breeding
      • 3.5.1. Definition
      • 3.5.2. Case studies (barley, wheat)
    • 3.6. Practicals
      • 3.6.1. Genomic selection
      • 3.6.2. In silico analysis of gene expression data
      • 3.6.3. GWAS analysis
  • 4. Final discussion (1 hour)

Train at an outstanding international institution


If you wish to participate in the course, apply online at the following address:

The course is designed for 20 students, young researchers, and future professional, with a university degree and with a background in plant molecular biology and physiology, plant biotechnology, plant breeding, and related fields to attend the lecturers in face-to-face.

Participation will also be open to 30 candidates with the same background who wish to attend the lectures online (excluding practical work sessions).

English will be the working language of the course.

  • The course will be held in hybrid modality, combining online with face-to-face, at the University of Sfax headquarters from 3 to 7 October 2022, in morning and afternoon sessions.
  • Application deadline: 18 July 2022.
  • Registration fees for the course amount to 500 euro for face-to-face participation and 400 euro for online attendance. This sum covers tuition fees only.
  • Candidates from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) and from ICARDA Middle East and North Africa partners may apply for scholarships covering registration fees, and for scholarships covering the cost of travel and full board accommodation during the registration process.
  • 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 course. Those who so wish may participate in a collective insurance policy taken out by the Organization, upon payment of the stipulated sum.

Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

Av. Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain

+34 976716000

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