Plant Breeding Education for UC Davis Students

Student in field learning to breed
Plant Breeding Education for UC Davis Students

Plant breeding education for UC Davis students is the focus of this SCOPE video. SCOPE is the Student Collaborative Organic Plant Breeding Education Project, a student-led collaborative, operating through the UC Davis Plant Breeding Center, and funded by the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), through USDA NIFA.

SCOPE has two goals — to give students hands-on plant breeding opportunities, and to serve small-scale organic farmers in California and their breeding needs.

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Students learn the skills to make crosses in the greenhouse and field, while earning internship credits. The crop teams that SCOPE students work with are:

  • The Tomato Team; disease resistance, and slicing ability
  • The Common Bean Team; resistance to common mosaic virus
  • The Lima Bean Team; resistance to lygus bugs which are a major problem in organic production
  • The Pepper Team; new varieties of jalapeno and bell pepper
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Michael Mattos, a SCOPE undergraduate intern majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS), is working on the tomato breeding project. He says that the application skills he is learning are teaching him practical skills such as harvesting and fermenting seeds, and using them in the field. He notes the career insights he is learning are very valuable.

Evelyn Ponce, a SCOPE undergraduate intern who is also a SAFS major, appreciates the research experience and hands-on opportunities she is getting in the program.

Featured in the video are graduate student leaders Antonia Palkovic, SCOPE Project Coordinator, and Kimberly Gibson, Lima Bean Team lead.

Contact for SCOPE:


(The film was produced by Kimberly Gibson, Amy Groh, Bridget Giffei, and Amanjot Kaur)


(Article by Ann Filmer, Plant Sciences, UC Davis)

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