Technological advances drive innovation in plant breeding to create new varieties
‘Plant breeding innovation’ is the term we use to describe the constantly evolving ideas and practices which enhance the field of plant breeding. Today’s innovations in plant breeding are developed using sophisticated science and technologies including cell biology, gene mapping and marker-assisted breeding.
New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) and Precision Breeding Techniques (PBTs) refer to the tools and methods used to develop new varieties more precisely and rapidly. These techniques reflect the scientific discoveries of the time. For example, in the twentieth century an increased understanding of plant physiology and molecular biology accelerated the development of new varieties that would probably not have been achieved by breeders using traditional selection alone. Twenty-first century innovations build on this knowledge to develop varieties in response to the environmental, agricultural and social challenges of our time. Innovations in plant breeding cannot and will not replace traditional practices, they simply increase the range of tools available to plant breeders.
Through innovation we can produce improved varieties that sustain and potentially increase yields and are better adapted to withstand disease and the effects of climate change, such as drought or floods, supporting sustainable agriculture and food security.
“Seed is Life” is the slogan of the International Seed Federation. Our vision is a world where the best quality seed is accessible all. Our mission is to promote plant breeding and innovation in seed. We know that developing better seed ultimately improves lives.
- Sustained and increased crop yields: Seed that is resistant to pests and disease and can withstand the effects of climate change results in more abundant and reliable harvests for farmers. Seed that is regionally adapted to different environments and growing conditions means that we can produce more crops from the same land.
- Enhanced nutrition: Thanks to innovations in plant breeding farmers can grow high protein crop varieties – insufficient protein in the diet is a significant contributing factor to under-nutrition.
- Better food quality: Innovations in plant breeding have given us food that stays fresher longer. Many types of fruit and vegetables can be transported and stored more easily, thus extending their shelf life and reducing food waste.