Plant Breeding Today: Genomics and Computing Advances Bring Speed and Precision

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
147A (Washington Convention Center )
The recent advent of new DNA sequencing technologies has transformed our ability to collect genomic information quickly and cheaply. In parallel to this, bioinformatic methods have been developed that rapidly identify molecular markers. Improved analytical methods for detailed assessment of multiple traits are also newly available. Together, these techniques enable us to track the genetic variation of a species at a level of detail that was unimaginable 5 years ago. This has greatly accelerated the plant-breeding process. What previously took six generations to achieve can now be done in two, delivering massive time and resource savings. These advances are being deployed in multidisciplinary breeding programs on the world’s major crop plants including maize, wheat, and rice. They are also being used with more marginal crops including medicinal plants and crops of the developing world. Agriculture faces tough demands to sustainably produce enough food for an expanding world population as well as more nonfood crops, such as biofuels. This session will consider how the latest advances can help meet demands on world farming by rapidly incorporating valuable traits from wild relatives into established crops; tailoring existing crops to meet new requirements, such as climate change; greatly compressing the time it takes to domesticate new crops from semi-wild plants; and bringing research-neglected “orphan” crops (such as developing country crops) up to speed.
Ian Graham, University of York
Elspeth Bartlet, University of York
Harry J. Klee, University of Florida
Dianna Bowles, University of York
Susan Rotherford McCouch, Cornell University
Discovery of Genes for Crop Improvement from Wild Ancestor Plants
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