Talk:Plant breeding

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Original work by Ferdinando Pucci

Discussion started under and moved from original article heading: plant improvement.

Edit plan (Oct 2004)[edit]

My plan for this page is to make it more focussed, specifically on the methods of crop improvement (and I've done a rewrite to that effect). Material that relates to genetic engineering techniques will be moved to pages specifically about those techniques, eg Agrobacterium mediated transformation and plant tissue culture, I will delete crop breeding and redirect it to plant improvement. Let me know of any objections --nixie 23:42, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I'd be happy with any refactoring. If there is material that you don't see what to do with, just drop it here in the talk page for later mining. -- Jmabel|Talk 00:30, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
The relevant parts of the old article have been deposited in the talk pages of plant tissue culture and Agrobacterium--nixie 02:03, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Text from Crop Breeding article[edit]

This is the text from crop breeding, it may have something useful for use here, but doesn't really need its own article since the same concepts are covered here --nixie 02:06, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Crop performance is primarily determined by two factors:

  • genetic characteristics of the variety
  • environment in which the variety is grown.

Crop improvement occurs when a plant breeder alter the genetic composition of a variety to enhance or decrease expression of important crop characteristics. Improvement can rely on classical recombination breeding techniques, or molecular techniques for specific goals.

The targeted improvements are usually in relation to the output potential of the grain (i.e., high and stable yield) or to minimize yield losses or reduce production costs (due to disease, lodging…). In grain production, such as wheat, other characteristics, such as milling quality and bread making quality (protein content, protein quality and alpha-amylase activity) are also considered. Other improvements are related to the growing awareness and concern about food safety among consumers, composition and contamination of crop products. Examples of such a concern are the ones related to fungal diseases : fungal pathogens, such as Fusarium spp. attack wheat and cause the disease known as Fusarium head blight or Fusarium ear blight. These pathogens have both the capacity to cause significant grain yield losses but can also produce highly-dangerous mycotoxins in grains. Some projects are focussed on the breeding of new wheat varieties that are genetically resistant to these pathogens.

Yet other improvements are related to environmental impacts of crop production, especially grains. Breeders attempt to decrease soil erosion and increase nutrient and water use efficiencies of crops by selecting for perenniality.


I'm not sure that the plant-made pharmaceuticals info added is relevant, the page it links to has also been taken down for copyvio.--nixie 01:13, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Another promising new technology involving genetic modification is the development of plant-made pharmaceuticals. Transgenic agricultural crops can be developed to produce valuable therapeutic proteins with the ability to alleviate pain and suffering in patients around the world. The low-cost production of pharmaceuticals made possible by this technology may allow access to life-saving medications for people in the developing world. [1]--nixie 01:23, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

From the Plant Biotechnology article[edit]

From the Plant biotechnology page (largely duplication of concepts alread in plant improvement

Plant biotechnology pertains to all such activities, other than the conventional approaches, that aim at either improving the genetic make up, phenotypic performance or multiplication rates of economic plants, or at exploiting plant cells or cell constituents for generating useful plant products.

History of Plant Biotechnology

The genetic manipulation of plants has been ongoing since prehistoric times, when early farmers began carefully selecting and maintaining seed from their best crop to plant for next season.For hundreds of years plant breeders have cross fertilised related plant, selecting combinations from the offspring that provide the plant with new characteristics of benefit to the farmer, the horticulturist and to man in general.Today plant biotechnology encompasses two major areas, plant tissues culture and plant genetic engineering. Through the combination of these areas, genes from sexually incompatible plant or form animals, bacteria and insects can now be introduced into plants.

Plant Biotechnology Techniques

Many of the techniques used in plant biotechnology can be grouped under the headings of Plant tissue culture and Plant Genetic Engineering.

Plant Tissue Culture

Plant tissue culture is the cultivation of plant cells or tissues on specifically formulated nutrient enriched media. Under appropriate conditions, an entire plant can be regenerated from each single cell, permitting the rapid production of many identical plants.

Techniques employed in the regeneration of plants include the use of micropropagation and bioreactor systems.

Plant Genetic Engineering

Plant genetic engineering involves the manipulation of genes at cellular and molecular levels. Using techniques of plant genetic engineering, it is now possible to isolate genes of interest form one kind of organism incorporating them into another, thus resulting in the permanent change in the genetic make-up of the recipient.

About the article intro (Mar 2005)[edit]

I'm wondering about the introductory paragraphs. Hate to use the N word, but I will: is it neutral, or slanted towards chem ag? Specifically, the way Increased tolerance of herbicides is listed, makes that sound like a universally desirable trait (and that the use of herbicides, and herbicide-resistant plants, is universally accepted). Also, Plant breeding ... is important for ensuring food security and developing practices of sustainable agriculture is seems somewhat loaded. The whole intro I find oversimplified. Tsavage 23:38, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I wasn't intending to slant the intro in any way. It is a fact that plant breeders have focussed on certain charactersitics that fit into modern argiculture, like herbidide tolerance- the statement in the intro isn't a judgment or endorsement, leave the debate about conventional ag vs organic farming to another article. It is also true that development organisations believe that breeding appropriate crops for different areas and different needs (that why all the big development organisations have sections involved in plant breeding) will increase output so that people have food to eat. --nixie 02:42, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Those relatively slight edits make all the difference in how the intro reads. I did of course have the conventional vs organic thing in mind, but just there (in mind), no thought to importing the whole debate from wherever it is now. :) Tsavage 04:44, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Participatory Plant Breeding (Aug 2005)[edit]

At first I was thinking this section could be added to Plant Breeding, but now I'm pretty sure it should be it's own page. Tell me what you think:

Agricultural development has always played a central role in international efforts towards poverty alleviation and improved livelihoods. Plant breeding in this setting originally focused on designing varieties for intensive agriculture in order to address macro-level food supply problems. This often depended on the ability of farmers to supply additional inputs to modify their environment or mechanize their practices. New breeds often were not designed for marginal farmland, were expensive, and required regular applications of fertilizer and other inputs, all of which made them unsuitable for poor farmers in settings of high vulnerability.

In the late 20th century, plant breeding researchers began to address the livelihood needs of marginalized farmers using similar methodologies as they applied to more industrial/intensive agriculture of the past. They soon realized that local adaptability is the key to achieving positive livelihood impacts in any plant breeding program. This coincided with the mainstreaming of participatory methods within the international development industry, including participatory action research and participatory rural appraisal. Development projects became more decentralized and tried to more effectively engage local people in designing and implementing of the projects themselves.

Within this focus on participatory development, researchers and policy-makers began to re-value traditional and indigenous knowledge of biodiversity and natural resource management. The importance of genetic diversity gained greater emphasis and development agencies and governments worked at finding ways to integrated local knowledge with scientific methods. This resulted in a methodology now known as Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB).

The aim of PPB is to ensure that research is relevant to local farmers’ needs. It recognizes the key role farmers play in the management and maintenance of agrobiodiversity, and engages them as partners in the research process. A challenge encountered in centralized, non-participatory plant breeding was the rejection of new breeds by local communities, for many types of reasons. PPB attempts to address this by having much of the testing take place on-farm, often including many of the local varieties and practices, so that local people can see and compare results of their own work. This has resulted in greater adoption of new techniques and varieties, with greater impacts on local livelihoods.

Several research institutes around the world have been actively engaged in PPB for many years, including the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and other research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

(footnotes and resources coming)

-RichB 21:14, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
I think that this *might* warrant its own page, but I'd like to see a summary on the main page, just because it is relevant to the history of plant breeding. - User:pelargonium 07:46, 11 march 2008 (PST)

EMS Link[edit]

The link is cap sensitive there is no Ethane Methyl Sulfonate but you can link to Ethane methyl sulfonate. Is there a bot or something to do this sort of thing?

--Veritas Liberum 20:59, 9 December 2005 (UTC)


Added reference to the useful term cultigen. Granitethighs (talk) 05:13, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Physiological and molecular wheat breeding should be merged into plant breeding since it seems mostly to talk about plant breeding. Other parts seem to be copied from [2]. Suntag (talk) 01:00, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The Physiological and molecular wheat breeding page is a strange one. I don't know why it has the word Physological in its title - since it appears to be just about plant breeding. What is the difference between Physiological plant breeding and plant breeding ? All plant breeding effects plant physiology as far as I know.

I don't know why it has the word Wheat in the title since it is about plant breeding in general. It could be merged into plant breeding article and if it wants to it can reference Wheat breeding as examples.

I don't think the Physiological and molecular wheat breeding can warant its own article Ttguy (talk) 09:29, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Physiology and plant breeding are about as similar as apples and oranges. They are different disciplines with each supporting the science of the other. While I disagree that the concept should be merged I don't feel what has been provided adequately reflects physiological and certainly not molecular breeding. The list of references reflects little understanding of the area while the article itself does not highlight the capacity for indirect selection for physiological traits to impact on early generation selection, broad adapatation or performance under stress (biotic or abiotic). Per se selection in conventional breeding has benefitted from targetted selection (eg reduced height, transpiration efficiency, salt tolerance, frost tolerance etc.) using a physiological framework and identification of germplasm containing traits (and alleles) not present or readily useable in immediate breeding or the more broader cultivated gene pools. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:50, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I resolved this issue - see Talk:Plant breeding#Merge resolution below. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 22:58, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

messy layout[edit]

Could someone sort out the layout near "steps of plant breeding"? Thanks Smartse (talk) 22:22, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Missing word[edit]

There is something missing in #Domestication:

Plant breeding in certain situations may lead the .

I'm not so sure what is missing exactly. --LeCornichon (talk) 07:29, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

poor article[edit]

1. plant breeding by definition, doesn't include genetic engineering. It refers specifically to BREEDING plants to select for specific traits.

2. saying in the definition that it's done for, "benefit of mankind," is just cheesy. And you shouldn't insert motive for an action/activity in its definition. That's like saying running is a physical activity done for fun. Is it always done for fun? Well, not all breeding is done for the benefit of mankind.

3. GMO crops are banned in more countries than just Germany, the way this whole thing is phrased it makes it seem like a far smaller issue than it is. Also, why is this in quotations, why is it in italics, and the sentence, "Such concerns are not new to plant breeding," is just absurdly stupid and untrue-- probably why it's not referenced. The concerns with GMO crops are ABSOLUTELY different from any concerns that may exist with plant breeding. This is probably the single most biased sentence in the whole article, basically saying, "sure there are concerns with GMO crops, but these concerns are nothing new and GMO crops are therefore no more dangerous than regular plants, because people have the same concerns." Bottom line this sentence is just an absolute fabrication.

4. Large sections of this article, if not the entire thing, have been plagiarized.

5. Far more, and better, references are needed. This article is just bad. (talk) 02:46, 8 March 2011 (UTC)miah

Merge resolution[edit]

I have resolved the outstanding old merge issue involving Physiological and molecular wheat breeding as follows:

  1. I moved the off-topic portions of that article to the new History of plant breeding article I just created.
  2. I moved the domestication section of this article to that new article, as its first section.

Then, I deleted the merge tag, and voila!, no longer off-topic, no more unresolved merge. D O N D E groovily Talk to me 23:00, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Classic and GMO entangled[edit]

I feel that the article constantly bumps heads on the issue between classic plant breeding and genetic engineering/GMOs. It never quite gets down to any detail about classical plant breeding (the part I care about) or the genetic engineering (which no doubt somebody cares about.) The way it is now, I look at it and consider adding cites and material, and I just get tired and I don't. How would the idea of a split be discussed/handled/whatever?

If I were inclined to fine-grained splits, I'd even split it three ways: (1) Classical/sexual plant breeding, (2) Genetic engineering, and (3) the controversy between the two. ChickenFreak (talk) 07:22, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Plant breeding -- Agriculture AND Horticulture?[edit]

I'm interested in plants for pollinators and how through plant breeding we have ended up over time with many double / sterile flowers. Shouldn't an article on plant breeding include Horticulture? As alluded to in an earlier post, not all plant breeding is altruistic, plenty of thought and effort goes into breeding plants for marketing -- from fruit color and size to flower novelty. I expect (but lack data) that there are more plant breeding jobs in these fields than in those dedicated to increasing crop yields in essential grains. GeeBee60 (talk) 14:02, 2 August 2018 (UTC)