Who are the scientists who paved the way to modern crop breeding?

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Nazareno Strampelli. Credit: Alchetron
Nazareno Strampelli. Credit: Alchetron

[Here are] some of the agricultural industry’s biggest game-changers over the past two centuries. They may not be household names, but these agricultural pioneers deserve our gratitude and respect.

Nazareno Strampelli was a wheat breeding pioneer in the early 20th century who did not publish many papers but bred many useful cultivars. Some of Strampelli’s wheat hybrids were exported out of Italy and grown on million of hectares in China in the ’60s and ’70s. Only since the 1990s has his work has been recognized at the international level. Strampelli was among the first, in Europe and in the world, to systematically apply Mendel’s laws to plant breeding.

[George Washington Carver] was an agricultural scientist, inventor and educator who sought to revitalize southern soil that was stripped by cotton, a nitrogen-depleting crop. He developed a crop-rotation method that alternated the cotton with legumes like peanuts that fix nitrogen and other edible crops such as corn. 

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Mary-Dell Chilton was born February 2, 1939, in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is one of the founders of modern plant biotechnology. Chilton was the first (1977) to demonstrate the presence of a fragment of Agrobacterium Ti plasmid DNA in the nuclear DNA of crown gall tissue.

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