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Trends Plant Sci. 2013 Dec;18(12):667-72. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Accelerating plant breeding.

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Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, 100 Osborn Drive, Ames, IA 50011, USA. Electronic address:


The growing demand for food with limited arable land available necessitates that the yield of major food crops continues to increase over time. Advances in marker technology, predictive statistics, and breeding methodology have allowed for continued increases in crop performance through genetic improvement. However, one major bottleneck is the generation time of plants, which is biologically limited and has not been improved since the introduction of doubled haploid technology. In this opinion article, we propose to implement in vitro nurseries, which could substantially shorten generation time through rapid cycles of meiosis and mitosis. This could prove a useful tool for speeding up future breeding programs with the aim of sustainable food production.


artificial gametes; genetic gain; plant breeding

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