breed improvement


January 19, 2022

Breeding (品 species改良, English: breeding) or artificial selection (English: artificial selection) is an activity to improve the genetic characteristics of organisms cultivated and reared in agriculture, livestock, etc. It is also called selective breeding (選擇交配, English: selective_breeding).


The method of breeding that has been used since prehistoric times was a method of obtaining offspring between organisms with desired traits, selecting only some of them, and obtaining offspring among them again. Charles Darwin borrowed the term from this selection in agriculture and gave the name natural selection to the selection that occurs in nature by the environment. With the development of genetic engineering, cultivars were improved through genetic manipulation in the laboratory. Variety improvement by genetic engineering is similar to existing breed improvement in that it improves existing breeds to obtain desired traits. There is a difference in that it derives a trait from the gene of another species. Some agricultural and marine products have already been industrialized and distributed in the market like super corn and tomatoes. In 2006, 10% of Korea's imported agricultural and marine products were genetically modified organisms. In particular, multinational pesticide and seed companies such as Monsanto and Novartis are pushing for the introduction of these genetically engineered plants in crop breeding. They say that genetically engineered plants are resistant to pests and diseases, so they can yield high yields with less fertilizer and pesticides, but this has not been sufficiently verified.

Breeding of crops

Breeding is the improvement of varieties to improve the yield and quality of crops. Crop yields are the result of complex physiological and biochemical interactions with crops. The knowledge of plant physiology, genetics, and cultivation science is mobilized for improvement to obtain a high yield. The following methods are used to improve crop yields: Improvement of photosynthetic efficiency: The main goal is to improve varieties with upright leaves and angles that can increase light-receiving efficiency. Photosensitivity crops: In the case of major crops such as rice and maize, photoinsensitivity crops that have been modified to bloom under either long-day or single conditions have spread worldwide. Limited growth crops: Improving crop varieties with fewer nodes, fast planting, and short growing period were advantageous in shortening agricultural days and introducing mechanical crops. Intermittent crops: The breeding of short dwarf crops contributed greatly to the agricultural revolution. Dwarf crops have deep roots, absorb moisture, grow well even with a lot of fertilizer, and have a high yield index. Precocious breeding: Early-ripening varieties with a short growing period were able to introduce double cropping. Improving yield index: In grains such as rice, wheat, barley, and maize, the yield rate was improved as a result of breeding for several generations because the traits with a high yield index were dominant over traits with a low yield index. Quantitative stability breeding: Quantitative stability refers to breeding crops with traits that maintain a constant yield despite large environmental changes. Yield breeding: The trait that produces more fruit has a very low heritability and is therefore a breeding with high difficulty. Quality improvement breeding: breeding that improves quality such as taste or aroma. Recently, breeding that improves functional quality has been attracting attention. Disease-resistant breeding: Breeding varieties that are resistant to pathogens. In addition, it is resistant to drought and pests.

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