The power of modern genetics to improve our key crops to meet growing and global demands

Date: Monday, January 16, 2012
Time: 12:50 PM
Room: Royal Palm Salon 1,2,3
Arjen J van Tunen , KeyGene, Wageningen, Netherlands
During the last 50 years plant breeding has resulted in gigantic improvements of crops in terms of yield, quality, resistances and appearance of our agricultural products. However the pace of improvement is no longer in line with the rapidly increasing demand and traditional methods are now reaching their limits. Our growing society needs large improvements of our crops to meet the current and future demands for high quality food, feed fiber, fuel, flowers and fun agricultural products.

In this presentation paradigm shifts are elucidated that will lead to the desired improved and innovative crop varieties. First, large scale genomics information is now available and being applied for an increasing number of crops. Second, besides Genetic Modification alternative molecular genetic methods are under development that allows accelerated Molecular Breeding combined with Molecular Mutagenesis. Third, new automated and robotized phenotyping methods are now being implemented enabling the establishment of correlations of genetic variation with traits of socio economic importance. These three paradigm=m shifts enable a new and integrated way of sequence-based plant breeding that accelerates the pace of crop improvement to the level societyrequires. In a number of practical examples it will be shown that genomics in combination with new phenotyping approaches leads to fast and directed ways of genetic improvements of our crops for the future.