Agriculture is living a revolution due to climate change and consumer expectations. Crops must be more resistant to biotic (pests, viruses, predation…) and abiotic (heat, Cold, water stress, salinity etc) stress while reducing the use of additional chemicals and resources. Besides, more and more consumers want to eat healthy products produced locally.
To face these challenges, genetics provide part of the answer. Breeding is a methodology that helps us identify which genes in the genome will allow the plants to resist to those stressors and adapt their growth according to the climate conditions of a specific area.
It is not an easy job, as breeders need to consider in the present those new challenges to change their objectives and adapt their methodologies based on future market trends and needs. Breeding is a long journey aimed to find the ideal variety that suits most or all of the needs of growers in a specific situation.
To make it possible, the breeder must work on several areas:
- Management of genetic resources: Search, maintain and describe the plants available for breeding.
- -Trait discovery: Search the genes related to a trait of interest and find molecular markers to identify them. E.g: hardiness or earliness.
- Creation improved plants: By crossing the parents and selecting the best individual to create new plants that are more resistant, have a bigger calibre, and better fruit quality genes.
- Evaluation of the future varieties: Evaluate the resilience and hardiness of the plant by testing the varieties in different conditions of crop management and climates.
- Fruit quality: All the parameters of nutritional content and pathogen presence are considered during the process to give to the consumer the best product.
Besides that, breeders are starting to use advanced technologies, like maker assisted breeding, genomic selection, imaging, artificial intelligence, gene editing, and so on to accelerate the process plant creation and validation and be able to provide those improved plants faster than with conventional breeding.
Overall, breeding plays a vital role for the future of agriculture and moreover for food consumption in modern agriculture.
At Planasa, we are at the forefront of breeding techniques, and we dedicate most of our resources to combine breeding and nursery operations with the only goal of providing growers with plants that not only satisfy their commercial needs but also reduce costs and are more sustainable.