Hybrid Breeding

On my last post I wrote about the Intensive Study Program In Ghent University. I came all the way from Sweden to learn more about hybrid breeding. But, why is hybrid breeding important?

The whole concept is based on what is known as hybrid vigor. It happens when two parents cross and their progeny is more vigorous than themselves.  For breeding new varieties is extremely helpful due to a few reasons: it is easy to register a new variety created this way, characteristics are easy to stack, it is reproducible, but most importantly it obligates the farmers to buy new seeds every time they want to plant them. That is basically why seed companies have succeeded on making money out of plant breeding.

To make and hybrid it is necessary to create Inbred lines, which are plants mostly homozygous. After two parents are crossed (F0) the resulting seeds (F1)will be completely homogeneous, heterozygote  and hopefully vigorous. These seeds are those that the breeder will sell to the farmer. Why does the farmer have to buy seeds every year? the seeds of the F1 generation (F2 seeds) will be completely different to each other!

 

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