Prof Liezel Herselman
Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning
Plant Sciences
BL 150A
Plant Sciences
IB 62
Biology Building 150A

Short CV

Liezel Herselman matriculated at Potchefstroom Gimnasium in 1988. She obtained her B.Sc. with Biochemistry, Chemistry and Botany cum laude (1992) and M.Sc. with specialisation in Biotechnology (1994) cum laude at the University of Potchefstroom for Christian Higher Education. She received the Faculty award for the best B.Sc. graduandus for 1992. She obtained her Ph.D. (Molecular Biology) in 2003 from the University of Greenwich, London. She was appointed as researcher at the ARC-Grain Crops Institute in Potchestroom in 1994 where she worked as biotechnologist till February 2004. She was appointed as senior lecturer at the University of the Free State in 2004 and as associated professor in 2008. She works as molecular breeder in the Department of Plant Sciences’ Plant Breeding division. Her research interests include fingerprinting of different crop and fungus species and the application of molecular marker technology as tool for plant breeding. She is a member of the Southern African Plant Breeders Association and is currently acting as president of the organisation. She has authored and co-authored 31 publications and presented and co-presented 36 national and 20 international conference contributions. She teaches molecular plant breeding at post-graduate level. Seven masters and 13 doctoral students completed their studies under her supervision. She has both national and international research collaborations and has acted as referee for a range of accredited journals. She is currently appointed as the Departmental Chairperson for the Department of Plant Sciences.

Publications (Short List)

Kawuki RS, Herselman L, Labuschagne MT, Nzuki M, Ralimanana I, Bidiaka M, Kanyange MC, Gashaka G, Masumba E, Mkamilo G, Gethi J, Wanjala B, Zacarias A, Madabula F, Ferguson M E. 2013. SSR diversity of cassava in south, east and central Africa. Plant Genetic Resources (online).

Van der Merwe R, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Hugo A. 2013. Stability analysis of seed oil quality traits in high and mid-oleic acid sunflower hybrids grown under variable conditions. Euphytica (online).

Kulembeka HP, Ferguson M, Herselman L, Kanju E, Mkamilo G, Masumba E, Fregene M, Labuschagne MT. 2012. Diallel analysis of field resistance to brown streak disease in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) landraces from Tanzania. Euphytica 187: 277-288.

Mutegi E, Sagnard F, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Semagn K, Deu M, de Villiers S, Kenyenji BM, Mwongera CN, Traore PCS, Kiambi D. 2012. Local scale patterns of gene flow and genetic diversity in crop-wild-weedy complex of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) under traditional agrictultural field conditions in Kenya. Conservation Genetics 13: 1059-1071.

Pretorius ZA, Jin Y, Bender M, Herselman L, Prins R. 2012. Seedling resistance to stem rust race Ug99 and marker analysis for Sr2, Sr24 and Sr31 in South African wheat cultivars and lines. Euphytica, 186:15-23.

Pretorius ZA, Szabo LJ, Boshoff  WHP, Herselman L, Visser B. 2012. First report of a new TTKSF race of wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Plant Disease 96: 590.

Visser B, Herselman L, Bender CM, Pretorius ZA. 2012. Microsatellite analysis of selected Puccinia triticina races in South Africa. Australasian Plant Pathology 41: 165-171.

Kawuki RS, Ferguson M, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Orone J, Ralimanana I, Bidiaka M, Lukombo S, Kanyange MC, Gashaka G, Mkamilo G, Gethi J, Obiero H (2011) Variation in qualitative and quantitative traits of cassava germplasm from selected national breeding programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Field Crops Research 122:151-156.

Kawuki RS, Nuwamanya E, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Ferguson ME (2011) Segregation of selected agronomic traits in six S1 cassava families. Journal of Plant Breeding and Crop Science 3:154-160.

Mashope BK, Herselman L, Labuschagne MT (2011) Genetic diversity among South African cactus pear genebank accessions using AFLP markers. Bradleya 29:103-114.

Mukoyi F, Soko T, Mulima E, Mutari B, Hodson D, Herselman L, Visser B, Pretorius ZA (2011) Variants of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici Ug99 race on wheat cultivars in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Plant Disease 95:1188.

Mutegi E, Sagnard F, Semagn K, Deu M, Muraya M, Kanyenji B, de Viliers S, Kiambi D, Herselman L, Labuschagne M (2011) Genetic structure and relationships within and between cultivated and wild sorghum (Sorghum bicolour (L.) Moench) in Kenya as revealed by microsatellite markers. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 122:989-1004.

Mwenye OJ, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Benesi IRM (2011) Mineral composition of Malawian cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium) genotypes. Journal of Biological Science 11:331-335.

Terefe T, Pretorius ZA, Bender CM, Visser B, Herselman L, Negussie TG (2011) First report of a new wheat leaf rust (Puccinia triticina) race with virulence for Lr12, 13, and 37 in South Africa. Plant Disease 95:611.

Visser B, Herselman L, Park RF, Karaoglu H, Bender CM, Pretorius ZA (2011) Characterization of two new Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici races within the Ug99 lineage in South Africa. Euphytica 179:119-127.

Benesi IRM, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Mahunga N (2010) Ethnobotany, morphology and genotyping of cassava germplasm in Malawi. Journal of Biological Sciences 10(7): 616-623.

Ojulong HF, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Fregene M (2010) Yield traits as selection indices in seedling populations of cassava. Crop Breeding and Applied Biotechnology 10: 191-196.

Coetzee R, Herselman L, Labuschagne MT (2009) Genetic diversity analysis of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) using AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) markers. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 7:122-126.

Dessalegn Y, Herselman L, Labuschagne MT (2009) Comparison of SSR and AFLP analysis for genetic diversity assessment of Ethiopian arabica coffee genotypes. South African Journal of Plant and Soil 26:119-125.

Kawuki RS, Ferguson M, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Kim D-J (2009) Identification, characterisation and application of single nucleotide polymorphisms for diversity assessment in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). Molecular Breeding 23:669-684.

Benesi IRM, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Mahungu NM, Saka JK (2008) The effect of genotype, location and season on cassava starch extraction. Euphytica 160:59-74.

Dessalegn Y, Herselman L, Labuschagne MT (2008). AFLP analysis among Ethiopian Arabica coffee genotypes. African Journal of Biotechnology 7:3193-3199.

Dessalegn Y, Labuschagne MT, Osthoff G, Herselman L (2008) Genetic diversity and correlation of bean caffeine content with cup quality and green bean physical characteristics in coffee (Coffea Arabica L.). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88:1726-1730.

Lukogne EP, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L (2008) Combining ability for yield and fibre characteristics in Tanzanian cotton germplasm. Euphytica 161:383-389.

Ojulong H, Labuschagne MT, Fregene M, Herselman L (2008). A cassava clonal evaluation trial based on a new cassava breeding scheme. Euphytica 160:119-129.

Ojulong H, Labuschagne MT, Herselman L, Fregene M (2008) Introgression of genes for dry matter content from wild cassava species. Euphytica 164:163-172.

Visser B, Herselman L, Pretorius ZA (2008) Genetic comparison of Ug99 with selected South African races of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici. Molecular Plant Pathology 10:213-222.

Dessalegn Y, Labuschagne MT, Osthoff G, Herselman L (2007) Variation for green bean caffeine, chlorogenic acid, sucraose and trigolline contents among Ethiopian arabica coffee accessions. SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 30:77-82.

Herselman L, Thwaites R, Kimmins FM, Courtois B, van der Merwe PJA, Seal SE (2004) Identification and mapping of AFLP markers linked to peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) resistance to the aphid vector of groundnut rosette disease. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 109(7):1426-1433.

Herselman L (2003) Genetic variation among Southern African cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) genotypes as revealed by AFLP analysis. Euphytica 133:319-327.

Fourie D, Herselman L (2001) Backcross breeding to improve common bacterial blight resistance in South African bean cultivars. Annual Report of the Bean Improvement Cooperative 44:137-138.

van Wyk PS, Herselman L, van der Linde EJ (2001) First report of Ascochyta spp. on soybean in South Africa. Disease Note. Plant Disease 85:334.

Cilliers AJ, Herselman L, Pretorius ZA (2000) Genetic variability within and among mycelial compatibility groups of Sclerotium rolfsii in South Africa. Phytopathology 90:1026-1031.

Mienie CMS, Herselman L, Terblanche RE 2000. RAPD analysis of selected common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars from three African countries. South African Journal of Plant and Soil 17:93-94.



  •  Marker-assisted breeding for FHB resistance
  •  Marker-assisted selection for rust resistance

Area(s) of Interest

Over the past few years, molecular biology started to play an important role in plant breeding. Biotechnology holds great potential for plant breeding as it promises to expedite the time taken to produce crop varieties with desirable characteristics. The aim of molecular plant breeding at the UFS is to implement DNA fingerprinting and marker-assisted selection in traditional plant breeding programmes.

Fields of competency include tissue culture techniques, fingerprinting of different crops and fungal species and the application of molecular marker technology as tool for plant breeding. For the past twelve years, her research has focused on DNA fingerprinting of oil and protein seed crops (groundnut, lupine, sunflower, soybean and dry bean), grain crops (maize and wheat) as well as African crops (cassava, cotton, cactus pear, kenaf, coffee and Clivia) and fungal, bacterial and virus diseases (Sclerotium, Fusarium, bacterial blight, groundnut rosette disease and wheat rusts). RAPD, AFLP and microsatellite analysis were used as fingerprinting techniques. Results were successfully implemented to improve conventional breeding programmes. RAPD, AFLP and microsatellite analysis were used to identify molecular markers linked to different resistance genes, including common bacterial blight resistance in dry bean and groundnut rosette disease resistance in groundnut.

Courses Presented

PLT624 (Plant Breeding – Cultivar identification and marker-assisted selection)

PLT424  (Advanced Breeding Techniques)



Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531

Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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