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Génétique des populations et amélioration des plantes

academic year

Course teacher(s)

Olivier HARDY (Coordinator), Christian HERMANS and Marjolein VISSER

ECTS credits


Language(s) of instruction


Course content

Molecular markers used in population genetics. Evolutionary forces determining genetic variation in populations (genetic drift, mutation, migration, selection). Principles of quantitative genetics. Conservation of genetic resources. Introduction to plant breeding. Selection scheme according to reproductive systems (autogamy, allogamy, clonality). Introduction to biotechnological approaches for plant breeding (nutrient and water use efficiency, nutritional quality,...).

Objectives (and/or specific learning outcomes)

After this course, the student is expected to be able to (i) understand the main mechanisms controlling the genetic variation in natural or cultivated populations, (ii) apply molecular genetics tools to study organism evolution (at intraspecific level), biodiversity conservation and plan breeding, (iii) solve concrete population genetic and quantitative genetic problems, (iv) conceive a plant breeding strategy using selection schemes and biotechnologies according to environmental, agronomic and socio-economic constrains.

Teaching methods and learning activities

Magisterial courses for theory. Exercises to learn solving basic problems of population genetics and quantitative genetics. An excursion related to plant breeding (e.g. in a seed production company) and seminars will complete the formation.

Contribution to the teaching profile

Management of natural genetic resources to conciliate conservation and production. To acquire knowledge regarding to the genetic mechanisms affecting the evolution of populations and the way to control them for improving plant production.

References, bibliography, and recommended reading

For plant breeding:

Breeding Field Crops, 5th Edition (2006). David Allen Sleper, John Milton Poehlman. ISBN: 978-0-8138-2428-4

Organic crop breeding, 1th Edition (2012). Edith Lammerts van Bueren, James R. Myers.

For population genetics:

Génétique des populations: cours et exercices corrigés. Jean-Louis Serre (Éditeur : Dunod, 2006). ISBN: 2100496204, 9782100496204

Other information


Olivier Hardy (CP160/12, Solbosch, office Uc4.250, tel: 6585; ohardy@ulb.ac.be), Marjolein Visser (CP264/2, Plaine, building NO, office O206, tel: 2133, Marjolein.Visser@ulb.ac.be), Christian Hermans (CP242, Plaine, duiling BC, office 1C6-207 , tel: 5417; Christian.Hermans@ulb.ac.be)


Method(s) of evaluation

  • Other


Written exam: open questions on lectures and exercises to solve (lecture notes can be perused only for exercises). A transversal question will be orally answered. For the population genetics part (10 points over 20), partial evaluations during the year using multiple choice questions (MCQs, non compulsary) can be taken into account (max 50% of the note), considering only MCQs with a note higher than the one of the written exam regarding the population genetics part.

Mark calculation method (including weighting of intermediary marks)

Written + oral exam (75% to 100%), MCQs on population genetics (0% to 25%).

Language(s) of evaluation

  • french