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BAG. Journal of basic and applied genetics

On-line version ISSN 1852-6233


PONTAROLI, A.C. How can we foster crop improvement?. BAG, J. basic appl. genet. [online]. 2012, vol.23, n.2. ISSN 1852-6233.

In this paper, the current scenario and challenges that crop improvement faces in response to the increasing world demand for food and biofuels is described. The fact that the rate of improvement in crop performance has plummeted in a number of important crops is discussed. To revert this situation, in my opinion, a truly interdisciplinary approach should be applied to the breeding process, making use of the vast amount of knowledge recently generated in the areas of genomics, ecophysiology, statistics, bioinformatics, etc. . Moreover, a special emphasis should be put on phenotyping which -in my opinion- is the new bottleneck, considering the increasingly fast pace and continuously decreasing costs of genotypic data generation. In the meanwhile, a challenge needs to be faced on how to organize, compile and parse phenotypic data while making them available to the broad scientific community. In conclusion, an unprecedented opportunity for a quantum leap in crop improvement rests before us; now, a concerted effort needs to be done to truly integrate the massive amount of knowledge generated into better crops for the world.

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