Plant breeding essentially consists of creating new genetic variation, and selecting offspring with the desired combination of traits. In recent years, the toolbox of plant breeders has grown enormously. In this MeetUp, we will take a closer look at frontier developments in creation of new genetic variation and the use of big data in selection. We do so together with our keynote speaker, an outside in perspective from animal breeding, and two expert panels from the plant breeding community.


12:30 - Welcome with lunch

13:30 - Prof. Avraham Levy (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel): Targeted recombination for precise plant breeding 

14:15 - Dialogue with the audience and with expert panel consisting of Henk Schouten (Wageningen Research), Rob Dirks (Managerial Genetics Consulting), and Jan van den Berg (BASF Vegetable Seeds)

15:10 - Short tea break

15:30 - Prof. Roel Veerkamp (Numerical Genetics & Genomics, Wageningen University): Use of big data in breeding and selection - experiences from the livestock industry 

16:00 - Dialogue with the audience and with expert panel (names to be confirmed)

16:15 - Networking and drinks until 18:00 

Key Questions for the Meetup

  • What possibilities do seed companies see to apply directed recombination in their breeding programs? What kind of results can we then expect?
  • Which barriers still stand in the way of practical application? What is needed to remove these barriers?
  • What can plant breeders learn from how animal breeders deal with big data at both genotype and phenotype levels?


Clemens Stolk, Program Manager News Plants for New Demands

Location & Date

September 3rd 2019, World Horti Center, Europa 1, 2672 ZX  Naaldwijk, Westland



The MeetUp New Tech is SOLD OUT.
There is a reserve list, so if you want to participate, send an email to If someone drops out, we will contact you.

Keynote speaker

Prof. Avi Levy (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) PROF AVRAHAM LEVY

Prof. Avraham Levy is a world-renowned researcher in the field of plant genetics. He is professor of genetics at the Plant Sciences Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. There he leads a group of some 12 researchers working on various aspects of plant genome evolution. His pioneering work on DNA double-strand break repair has led to a breakthrough in directed recombination in crop plants. This work was published in Nature Communications and was the subject of patent applications. Professor Levy also serves as Dean of Biochemistry at the Weizmann Institute and as chair of the Council of Professors. He is the incumbent of the Gilbert de Botton Professorial Chair of Plant Sciences. Prof. Levy was awarded the Landau Prize of Mifal Hapais (2016) and is also is the recipient of an ERC grant for targeted engineering of plant genomes. In addition, he serves as Chairman of Scientific Advisors at Evogene Ltd., and previously served as president of the Genetic Society of Israel.
Before joining the Weizmann Institute in 1992 he conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University and at INRA, Versailles, France. Prof. Levy holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Other guests

In the session the following experts will participate:
  • Henk Schouten (Wageningen Research)
  • Rob Dirks (Managerial Genetics Consulting)
  • Jan van den Berg (BASF Vegetable Seeds)
  • Prof. Roel Veerkamp (Numerical Genetics & Genomics, Wageningen University) 
  • Expert panel (names to be confirmed)