The Crispr/Cas technology – represented here as a model – has already been used to modify traits such as the fruit/grain quality and quantity, nutrient content, bacterial, viral and fungal disease resistance, drought and salinity tolerance and herbicide tolerance.
Photo: Bilderbox.com

05.07.2019

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Plant breeding relies on discovering, generating, selecting and utilising genetic variation in agronomic traits. This can be achieved in many ways – and at very different speeds. Our authors present various approaches and technologies – with their strengths and weaknesses – ranging from pollination-based conventional plant breeding to the Crispr/ Cas genetic scissors.

Human population grew from one billion to two billion in 123 years, but it grew from five to six billion only in 12 years (1987-1999) and also from six to seven billion in another 12 years (1999-2011). Our population is now predicted to level out at ten billion beyond 2050. Sustaining the more than seven billion people today is already a challenge with the business-as-usual scenario. The increasing numbers of people over time, and recently the growing middle classes, generate an incremental demand on natural resources, which is inconsistent with the natural supply or replenishment of these resources.

The single most important resource for survival is food. Nearly eleven per cent of Earth’s surface is devoted to crop production. Yet only 3.5 per cent of it suits crop production without any problems. For the remaining 7.5 per cent, human endeavour through tools and technologies has overcome the problems to make the land good for agriculture.

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