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Improving Lives


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 5, p. 2230-2244
    Received: Nov 8, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): pbaenziger1@unl.edu
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  1. P. S. Baenziger *a,
  2. W. K. Russella,
  3. G. L. Graefa and
  4. B. T. Campbellb
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy and Horticulture, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915
    b USDA-ARS, Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center, Florence, SC 29501


During the past 50 yr, we have witnessed a revolution in the science of plant breeding, genetics, and cytology, and its impact on human lives (e.g., the Green Revolution). Because of increased productivity, breeding objectives evolved from predominantly improving yield to include greater quality and value-added traits. The discovery of the chemical nature of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), coupled with Mendelian genetics led to the refinement of quantitative genetics, the robust use of molecular markers, and transgenic crop plants. Cytogenetics elucidated the physical structure of chromosomes, aided trait and molecular mapping, and greatly enhanced the exploitation of genetic variation from wild relatives, as have transgenes and mutations. The fundamental process of selection has been improved by a better understanding of gene action, when to select, and better methods to select plants and analyze their relationship to the environments in which they grow. Single-seed descent plant breeding methods were popularized and evolved to doubled haploid breeding. Plant breeding, genetics, and cytology remain impact sciences that will continue to improve lives as part of the Evergreen Revolution.

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