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International Symposium on Plant Mutation Breeding and Biotechnology

27–31 August 2018, Vienna, Austria

Plant Mutation Breeding Symposium 2018

Over the last fifty years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have played a critical role in supporting their Member States in the use of induced mutations to develop improved crop varieties.

The successful application of gamma rays and other physical and chemical mutagens in plant breeding over the past 90 years has increased crop biodiversity and productivity across the world.

Induced mutation offers many benefits with regard to crop improvement, especially when there is no reliable source of traits (variation) in nature that could be introduced to varieties by conventional breeding techniques such as hybridization. The induced mutation technique is becoming increasingly important to bring about heritable changes in plants and offer new genetic varieties to plant breeders.

Plant biotechnologies are crucial to the effective application of mutation breeding techniques, and they are increasingly being considered for crop improvement to ensure that crops are better adapted to climate change. The application of mutation induction coupled with biotechnologies, genomics and molecular marker techniques, can speed up all the main stages of breeding programmes, from the generation of variability, through selection to rapid multiplication of the desired genotypes.


The purpose of the symposium is to review achievements, new developments, trends and challenges in the field of plant mutation breeding, and to foster a broad exchange of information within the scientific community, as well as between the scientific community and the private sector. The symposium will highlight specific challenges faced by Member States, such as emerging transboundary threats to crop production, and will also assess the overall importance of mutation breeding to food security.

The symposium and its deliberations and conclusions will provide useful feedback to the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture which will help it to address Member States’ needs in future programming.

List of Topics

The scope of the symposium is meant to cover, but is not limited to, the following topical areas:

  1. Contribution and impact of mutant varieties to food security.
  2. Mutation breeding for adaptation to climate change in seed propagated crops.
  3. Mutation breeding for ornamental and vegetatively propagated crops.
  4. Enhancing agro biodiversity through new mutation induction techniques.
  5. New challenges and technologies in plant genomics and breeding.

Key Deadlines

  • 28 February 2018: Submission of abstract through INDICO (including submission of Forms A and B through a competent national authority – see Section G of the Announcement).
  • 28 February 2018: Submission of grant application (Forms A and C through a competent national authority – see Section G of the Announcement).
  • 30 April 2018: Notification of acceptance of abstract.

Registration only (Submission of Form A through a competent national authority) is not subject to a deadline.


To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, the IAEA will organize this conference as a 'green meeting' according to the guidelines of the Austrian Ecolabel. This means that the IAEA will keep the ecological impact of the Conference as low as possible. The Vienna International Centre is already a workplace that is powered by carbon neutral electricity from 100% renewable sources. There will be a focus on the areas of paper smart documentation, waste reduction and recycling, and environmentally friendly catering.

The IAEA as organizer will contribute to making the Conference a Green Meeting. Delegates can have a role in this endeavour and are encouraged to choose environmentally friendly options when planning their participation. Small actions can make a big difference: choosing environmentally certified accommodation, giving feedback via the IAEA Conference and Meetings app, sorting waste for recycling, and returning name badges - these will all help to reduce the environmental impact. Information on how to effectively contribute to climate protection, both locally and globally can be found here

Vienna has an efficient network of public transport - buses, trains, trams and underground lines - that covers most of the city. The IAEA encourages participants to make full use of these greener modes of transportation.

Conference app

The IAEA Conferences and Meetings App provides a one-stop access to information on the Conference, exhibitions and scheduled side events. The app also allows users to put together their own personalized schedule of events. Via this app participants will be able to view contributed papers and the latest conference programme, message other participants, and view PowerPoint presentations released after the event. Participants will receive an email inviting them to register for the app approximately one week before the conference.

For iPhone or iPad users, get your free download through the Apple iTunes Store; those with Android devices can visit the Google Play Store.

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