‘Greener foliage transpires into healthier humans!’
It is a known fact that almost 85% of world’s food consumed by humans is plant-based. Hence, plants or more specifically food crops have utmost importance in our livelihood. To take proper care of them, new and innovative ideas are always in process. One such is plant breeding, a major innovative technique to yield positive amount of crop in good health.
To achieve that, answers to few questions are important.
What is plant breeding?
Plant breeding is the amalgamation of art and science that works in transforming a plant trait to obtain desirable characteristics. Plant breeder services are used by different organizations like government institutions, universities, crop specific industries.
What is the importance of plant breeding?
Plant breeding means developing new varieties of plants that have higher yield and disease resistance capacity. It also enhances the characteristics like drought resistance, regional adaptability. It also ensures that breed plants will be ever tastier, more nutritious and more resilient.
What are the objectives of plant breeding?
To produce higher yields of healthy crops with improved quality
To produce disease and insect resistant food crops
To produce plants with rich agronomic characteristics
To induce elimination of toxic substances from plants
It also promises the economic benefits and produces improved variety of plants to fulfill commercial purposes.
When is plant breeding needed?
At times, environmental conditions like flood or even drought affects crop yield and fail to produce sufficient food. This in turn leads to acute shortage of food in that area resulting in famine. This crisis needs improvement in productivity of crops in addition to improving its quality.
How it is done?
It is generally defined as a science of changing the genetic traits of plants in order to create desired breed types. The anticipated plants will be better suited for cultivation, yield and providing resistance to diseases. It implies both modern studied techniques like genetic engineering along with old classical or orthodox methods. There are different practices to accomplish plant breeding services that includes –
Selection of plants with desirable characteristics for propagation
Advanced and complex molecular level techniques
What are various methods of plant breeding?
The various methods are as follows-
1. Conventional methods
It generally includes the steps such as-
2. Genetic engineering
It includes the processes like-
Restriction fragment length polymorphism
Gene transfer- this is again classified into agro-bacterium mediated, particle bombardment, electroporation
Selection and plant regeneration
3. Biotechnological methods
What other method does it include?
This includes a bulk method of plant breeding that is most convenient for handling segregated generation of crops like cereals, oil seeds, millets etc. It is done for three main purposes like-
Isolation of homozygous lines
Waiting for the opportunity of selection
Opportunity for natural selection to change the composition of the masses.
It also includes growth of individual plant progenies and elimination of inferior progenies. Standard checking is also done to analyze preliminary along with seed multiplication for distribution.
It has the merits like-
Inexpensive and simple
No need to maintain a pedigree record
In case of longer bulk period, natural selection of genotypes is selected.
However some very minute demerits include reduction in population size and lack of selection of higher generations.
Does this have any negative effect on nutritional value of crops?
According to a research published in American College Of Nutrition, it declined any possible nutritional value of breed plants. However, any substantial changes can be explained by alterations in cultivated varieties of plants that result in trade-offs between yield and nutritional content.
A lot of research also favors the point that new crop varieties entering the market are both safe and beneficial for farmers. In today’s world, food crops cannot receive their apt nutritional value without plant breeding and hence understanding its basic concepts hold the prime importance.