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Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Symposium

Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance

A Research Symposium at Colorado State University

13 June 2014

8 am - 5 pm

Location - Clark A201



The Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Symposium is open to the public and will include lectures from invited speakers covering the topics of Applied Breeding, Biotechnology, Genetics, and Physiology. The purpose of the Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance Symposium is to provide a forum for exchange between plant physiologists, agronomists, and geneticists in order to continue the positive trend towards crop improvement through plant breeding and genetics. We hope also to build collaborations between the public and private sectors, as well as with graduate students in plant breeding, genetics, and physiology programs.


The symposium is free of charge.


To register for the symposium:


Plenary Lecture

Bob Sharp, University of Missouri

"Root Growth Under Water Deficits: Physiological Complexity and Coordination"


Adriano Pereira de Castro, EMBRAPA Rice and Beans

"Rice Breeding for Drought Tolerance"


Aaron Stephan, University of California, San Diego

"Genetic and functional identification of sensory mechanisms in plants that initiate responses to salt, water stress, and other abiotic stresses

 Sean Gleason, USDA-ARS, Fort Collins

"Just how well do we really understand the functioning of plant hydraulic traits?  A personal perspective from an analysis of the world's angiosperms"


Dave des Marais, Harvard University

"Multiple stresses and the non-additivity of plant response to complex environments"


Brent Ewers, University of Wyoming

"Predicting Brassica rapa drought responses by quantifying genotypic variation in hydraulics and photosynthesis"


PDF Version of the schedule



Past Symposia

June 21-22, 2012

Symposium Group 2012

Our second biennial symposium on Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance was held on the Colorado State University campus in June, 2012, with over 80 participants. The event coincided with the final two days of the field-oriented short course on this same theme. The purpose of the symposium is to provide a forum for exchange between plant physiologists, breeders, geneticists, and agronomists in order to continue the positive trends in improving crop productivity under limited moisture conditions.

The meeting consisted of thought-provoking presentations by invited speakers and a volunteered poster session. We were fortunate to have two eminent scientists to bookend the symposium: Dr. John S. Boyer, E.I. DuPont Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware, opened the meeting with a summary of his seminal work on the effects of water availability on early reproductive processes. Dr. John Passioura, emeritus scientist at CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra, wrapped up the symposium by reviewing the advances that have been made in breeding for drought tolerance and the likely avenues for continued progress. He emphasized the need to create the right working environments for breeders, prebreeders, crop physiologists, and agronomists to interact.

PowerPoint files and videos of most of the presentations are available by following the links in the table below.


Symposium 2012
Speaker Affiliation Talk Title


Pat Byrne Colorado State University Plant Breeding for Drought Tolerance  
John Boyer University of Delaware Water deficits and yield in maize MP4
Steve Becker Colorado State University Exploitation of synthetic wheat for improvement of drought tolerance MP4
Eduardo Blumwald University of California at Davis Cytokinin-induced modifications of source-sink relationships lead to enhanced crop stress tolerance MP4
Tom Juenger University of Texas Drought adapatation in switchgrass MP4
Ryan Rapp   Transgenic Approaches to increasing Plant WUE  
Amelia Henry International Rice Research Institute Root traits behind major-effect drought-yield QTLs in rice MP4
Dave Des Marais University of Texas The genomic basis of local adaptation to climate in Arabidopsis MP4
Louise Comas USDA-ARS Root dynamics and functioning governed by biological and environmental factors MP4
Mark Cooper Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Breeding for drought tolerance: Taking aim at target environments  
Andy Pereira University of Arkansas Systems level analysis of drought stress response interactions with growth and yield MP4
Sean Cutler University of California at Riverside Targeting the ABA signaling pathway for improved plant stress tolerance MP4
John Passioura CSIRO Phenotyping for drought tolerance: when is it useful to plant breeders? MP4
Symposium 2010
Speaker Affiliation Talk Title


Richard Richards CSIRO Breeding for improved water-productivity-Genes, QTL's and phenotypes MP4



Symposium 2012 Annie Symposium 2012 Lunch Symposium 2012 Poster session