Genetic Modification of Plants

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The precise genetic modification of plant species using either pollination or genetic engineering or both to enhance various species of plants for specific purposes (ScienceDaily) is referred to as Plant breeding. Plant breeding also includes the artificial selection of offspring and the rearing of plants. In plant rearing, wild plants are collected and grown in artificially synthesized environments in local areas, with the aim of harvesting the desired produce. This technique has been used in ancient times and is now being adopted around the world because of its many advantages. Many of the plants people grow today are the result of domestication done by predecessors.

History of Plant Breeding

The history of plant breeding may be traced back to the human history. Historians find people were performing plant breeding practice for 9,000-11,000 years. The food culture and plant diversification seen today are the results of the plant breeding practices from the ancient time. Today, a major portion of human feed comes from domesticated crops that are prepared through plant breeding techniques. Researchers all over the world still practices plant breeding techniques utilizing wild plants of great variety to create high yielding plants as well as improve crops.

Benefits of Plant Breeding

Plant breeding promises development of highly productive, strongly resistant, and adaptive plants that are desirable to fight against the scarcity of food, fuel, fiber and many more. Plant breeding helps in retaining existing strengths and desirable characteristics of plants while introducing new characteristics into the next generations. Many faults, susceptibility and weaknesses of plants, crops and seeds may be fixed through the selective plant breeding technique.

Classical Plant Breeding

In classical plant breeding, two closely or distantly related corps are deliberately crossed to create new plant with improved genes. For example, an insect resistant but low yielding crop is crossed with yielding but susceptible crop to get a high-yielding but resistant crop. The progeny from crossbreed is then crossed again with high-yielding parents to further enhance its productivity. Genetic diversity comes from homologous recombination of chromosomes that comes out of classical breeding. However, in its complex from, classical breeding technique often involves in-vitro techniques such as embryo rescue, protoplast fusion, and mutagenesis; the result is completely new and hybrid plants with enhanced characteristics.

Traits that Plant Breeding Can Incorporate

Plant breeding can incorporate following traits into the new plants.

  • Improved quality of crop, seeds or plants
  • Improved quantity of the crop
  • Increased resistant to environmental conditions like rain, draught and temperature
  • Increase tolerance to pressure and calamities
  • Increased resistance to insects, bacteria, viruses or other harmful organisms
  • Increased tolerance to insecticides
  • Increased ability to accommodate to environmental condition
  • Increased growth

Conclusion

Plant breeding techniques have been practices for many years as a means of finding best yielding plants. Increased world population, decreased lands for cultivation and adverse climatic conditions are threats to human foods. Plant breeding technique is a major solution to world food crisis. Selective process of plant breeding offers greater control over food security and enhanced productivity, which may be used to generate substantial amount of food to serve the ever increasing population of the world.

Works Cited

ScienceDaily. Plant breeding. 15 02 2015.

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