Faster, more accurate crop breeding for today’s ‘gene jockeys’

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Today’s new generation of plant breeders are often called “gene jockeys,” although they’re actually more like cowboys rounding up “genotypes” into a common corral called a “genome.” Then they look for other genomes to add to the corral so they can improve the herd.

Previous generations of plant breeders did the same thing, but they relied more on trial and error. Today’s breeders know much more about the workings of the genes, how they affect each other and how they affect the performance of the plant. They’ve gone beyond genetics and into the realm of genomics.

“The genomic technologies that are coming online are quite exciting,” says University of Saskatchewan wheat breeder Curtis Pozniak. “It’s giving us an endless supply of new DNA markers that we can use to tag important genes and then follow those within the breeding program.”

“Now there are tools that help you make better and more efficient crosses so you can focus your resources or impose selection earlier, based on lab data,” explains Rob Duncan, a canola breeder at the University of Manitoba.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Still sifting through genes, but…

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