Molecular Breeding

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 417–437 | Cite as

Pollination control technologies for hybrid breeding

  • Katja Kempe
  • Mario GilsEmail author


Efforts in hybrid breeding have made this technology one of the main factors contributing to the substantial global rise in agricultural output over the last few decades. For hybrid breeding, an efficient pollination control system is necessary to avoid the unwanted self-pollination or sib-pollination of the female parental line. This review will provide a historical overview of pollination control systems and their use in hybrid crop breeding. We outline the prerequisites for commercial hybrid breeding and summarize the most important non-biological and biological technologies. Our main focus is on hybrid systems that are based on genetically engineered plants. We describe their suitability for pollination control, propagation of the male-sterile crossing partner, fertility restoration and mixed planting. Additionally, we report on the latest findings in the development of inducible sterility systems and various technologies that enable pollination control via metabolic engineering. We discuss the pros and cons of the different pollination control strategies.


Hybrid breeding Pollination control Male sterility Transgenic plants Metabolic engineering 



The authors wish to sincerely thank Dr. Günter Welz (Bayer CropScience AG) for critical reading of the manuscript and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. We are grateful to Wolf v. Rhade and Dr. Ralf Schachschneider (Nordsaat Saatzucht GmbH, Böhnshausen, Germany) for their continual support. Work in the Laboratory of M. Gils at the IPK Gatersleben was supported with funding from the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF; GABI-FUTURE grant 0315043A). Because of the breadth of the subject and limited space available, this review is not exhaustive. We apologize to all those colleagues whose findings we fail to acknowledge.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK) GaterslebenGaterslebenGermany

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