Plant Breeding: Breeding for Resistance

As a working professional in the plant breeding sector, biotic stress factors can be a major obstacle in producing high quality and high yielding crop products. This is where resistance breeding comes in, providing a solution to improve plant defence against these stressors. This online academic-level course specifically focuses on the defence mechanisms and strategies that protect host plants from pests and pathogens, inheritance of resistance genes, and ensuring their long-term effectiveness. After completing this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the major characteristics of various resistance traits, and you will be able to discuss plant-pathogen interactions using the correct terminology, develop effective and durable resistance breeding strategies, and choose the most appropriate screening and selection methods for developing cultivars with resistance to pathogens and pests.

Organised by Wageningen Academy

Mon 28 October 2024 until Mon 18 November 2024

Duration 3 weeks, 20 hours per week
Price EUR 820.00

Registration deadline: 30 September 2024

Target audience

If you are a working professional in the plant breeding sector, this course is the perfect opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills. This comprehensive course will provide you with the tools you need to succeed and advance in your career, especially in combination with other advanced Online Master's Courses Plant Breeding.

Prerequisite knowledge
You should have sufficient knowledge on concepts and methodologies related to plant biology, such as (Mendelian) genetics, plant breeding, plant physiology, molecular biology and plant pathology and epidemiology. If you lack certain knowledge or skills listed above, we strongly recommend you join the course Principles of Plant Breeding and/or Plant Pathology and Disease Epidemiology first (can be found under Related courses in the right-hand column)... It's important to realise that, if you do not comply with these recommendations, you cannot claim extra support from the instructor and cannot claim a refund of the registration fee, if you decide to discontinue the course.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this programme, you will be able to:

  • Use the knowledge of plant-pathogen interaction to develop breeding strategies for improved and durably effective resistance.
  • Discuss the various aspects of plant-pathogen interaction using the correct terminology.
  • Explain the major characteristics of various resistance traits.
  • Choose the most appropriate screening and selection methods to develop cultivars with effective resistance to pathogens and pests.


Biotic stress factors are among the main limitations for producing high quality and high quantities of vegetal products. Resistance breeding focuses on the use of genetic resources for improving plant defence against these stress factors. Biotic stress factors include pathogens and pests that infect or feed on crop plants. The present course deals with defence mechanisms and strategies that protect host plants against pests and pathogens, inheritance of resistance genes, and durable effectiveness of resistance genes.

This course is an online course at master level that you follow in a cohort. Learners participate at different time points and from different time zones, as most learners also have a job. The programme therefor offers learning activities that allow you to supervised self-study at your own pace, with deadlines for assignments, and includes knowledge clips, e-learning modules, online individual and group exercises and assignments and online discussions. Links to relevant articles will be provided through the online learning environment (included in course fee). In this course you study the textbook Breeding Crops with Resistance to Diseases and Pests, papers, and your favourite pathogen, make assignments, and write a paper. In some courses occasionally live question hours through MS Teams at specific dates and times. There are no online live classes. The exam has a fixed date.

Please purchase this textbook before start of the course (not included in the course fee): Niks RE, Parlevliet JE, Lindhout P, Bai Y (2019) Breeding crops with resistance to diseases and pests. Wageningen Academic Publishers: 204pp.

This course is quite time-intensive and requires approximately 20 hours per week for the average participant. There are assignments with deadlines.

This course fits logically upfront the online Master's Course Plant Breeding: Plant Pathology and Disease Epidemiology.


Participation in the remotely proctored exam is optional. If you decide not to participate in the exam, you do not qualify for a certificate and/or Micro-credentials.

The date of examination is 14 November 2024 (to be confirmed). The duration of an exam is 3 hours. A resit will be scheduled on 5, 6 or 7 February 2025.


Upon successful completion – passing the exam and making assignments- , a digital certificate with 2 study credits (ECTS) is issued. This certificate gives no immediate rights to apply towards a formal degree programme at a university; but might support your request to admission.

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