Conventional and latest plant breeding methods are all essential components of the plant breeders’ toolbox.
With an increased understanding of plant biology and plant genetics, plant breeders have improved their breeding tools and are now able to speed up the natural process of adapting plants to the needs of agriculture. Building on mechanisms created by nature, these new methods help to achieve a higher precision and, efficiency of the breeding process.
Plant breeders help farmers by developing plant varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases that threaten farmers’ yields. It can often take years of work and innovative methods to develop resistant varieties, while yields are lost on the field - a race against time.
The latest developments in plant breeding innovation include tools that can very specifically mimic the natural process of mutation. They address certain locations in the plants’ DNA and introduce small changes (mutations) that lead to improved plant characteristics, like resistance to pests and pathogens – a process that would take years with traditional plant breeding methods.
The future use of such new plant breeding tools, as developed and used by the public and private plant breeders, and the introduction of the resulting new plant varieties in farming will strongly depend on an enabling regulatory environment and a supportive public policy.