Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding


Increasing efficiency of plant breeding and making it more attractive

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Plant breeding has always remained an interesting field
as a creative activity. This was so even in the ages of
primitive agriculture when the Stone Age man (rather
women) recognized the differences between the grains of
different landraces (now we call them genotypes), not so
much for yield potential because there was no crop
cultivation, but for organoleptic properties and cooking
quality. Selection from the wild was the first step on the
long journey leading to the present-day efforts on
developing high yielding varieties for intensive agriculture,
heterosis breeding, and trans-specific migration of genes
(transgenics). While one has to recognize the great strides
made in crop improvement, unfortunately, plant breeders
failed to exploit the wealth of knowledge generated
through the giant leaps in basic genetics which ultimately
led to the creation of disciplines like molecular genetics
and biotechnology. Advances in genetic manipulation at
molecular level have made it possible to transport genes
across the species barriers from any organism to
cultivated plants. An extremely powerful tool is now
available in the hands of the plant breeder which can direct
the course of crop breeding in a very precise manner. The
fruits of these recent developments are not restricted to
the world of transgenics. Using the procedures of marker
assisted selection the routine plant breeding can achieve
much greater speed and precision. The size of F2
population can be increased thousand fold while cutting
significantly on time, space and manpower. Combining
the procedures of selection under laboratory conditions
with the conventional field evaluation and simultaneously
advancing a few hundred progenies from F2 onward
through the SSD route will yield homozygous RILs after
6–8 generations. This can be achieved within 3–4 years
through shuttle breeding. Some of the RILs may turn out
to be stable genotypes with gene combinations of breeding
value and can go as varieties straight away. At the same
time, this will generate enough data for basic genetics of
the crop in question and ensure quality publications.
Varieties coming from conventional field trials as well as
from SSD progenies coupled with research publications
will make the modern-day plant breeding more rewarding
and attractive.

Keywords: Breeding efficiency, speed and cost considerations, involvement of biotechnology


Year: 2011
Volume: 71
Issue: 2
Article DOI: N/A
Print ISSN: 0019-5200
Online ISSN: 0975-6906



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