The twenty-first century, the century of plant breeding


To achieve global food security by 2050 primary production must almost be doubled, at least to 80 % by increasing production per unit land. The challenge to plant breeding is tremendous. It is necessary to convince the public of this challenge, who are already dealing with concerns about climate change, a scarcity of good arable land, the demands placed on land with regard to biomass production, scarcity of water and phosphorous as well as increasing consumption of meat. In terms of breeding, concerns are the very small number of major crops and low rates of breeding progress in self-pollinating cereals. Society and politicians can be easily distracted from the dire need to invest in basic breeding research and breeding applications when so many environmental concerns are being emphasized. A holistic approach to these problems is essential. The focus here is on both the obstacles to be overcome and the opportunities to ensure global food security by producing excellent germplasm by 2050. This can be achieved by new technologies and genomics as well as the continuing development of more traditional breeding methodologies.

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Stamp, P., Visser, R. The twenty-first century, the century of plant breeding. Euphytica 186, 585–591 (2012).

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  • Breeding importance
  • Global food security
  • New breeding tools