Can AI-enhanced plant breeding deliver high yielding non-GMO crops?

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Author Paul South measures the rate of photosynthesis in the tobacco plants in a field site in Illinois. Claire Benjamin, CC BY-ND

Hi Fidelity Genetics (HFG), a company that uses sensors, data science, and statistical genetics to create non-genetically modified crops, just raised $8.5 million …. It’s a sign of the growing importance of data science in agriculture, and it may signal an alternative path to sustainable farming without the use of genetic modification.

The appeal of GMOs is that scientists can select traits to suit a variety of needs, from drought tolerance or insect resistance to increased yields ….

But a new approach called computational crop breeding offers a compelling alternative. Utilizing field sensors to gauge local environments and predictive analytics to drive tailored crop breeding programs, computational breeding could help farmers and agronomists grow non-GMO crops that exhibit many of the same advantageous traits as commercial seed stock.

Related article:  Do Roundup Ready GMO crops harm Monarch butterflies? Ecologists weigh in as new data comes to light

Not coincidentally, HFG has been focusing on the coverage crops like corn and soy that are currently dominated by genetically modified seeds.

Read full, original article: Computational breeding: Can AI offer an alternative to genetically modified crops?

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