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Crop Science Abstract - Symposia

Closing the Divide between Human Nutrition and Plant Breeding


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 55 No. 4, p. 1437-1448
    Received: Aug 15, 2014
    Published: August 10, 2015

    * Corresponding author(s): mag87@cornell.edu
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  1. Christine H. Diepenbrocka and
  2. Michael A. Gorea
  1. a Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell Univ., 310 Bradfield Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853


Improvement of crop nutritional quality through breeding, termed biofortification, is a strategy being used to address micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. These efforts stand to benefit tremendously from recent advances across the plant sciences, from flourishing germplasm and genomic resources and phenotyping tools to improved characterization at the levels of physiology, cell biology, and gene expression. Next steps in crop biofortification in this decade and beyond include adapting high-throughput phenotyping platforms for measurement of nutritional quality traits, testing genome-wide and other DNA marker-based selection strategies that can mine parsimonious answers from large data sets, and further characterizing genotype × environment interactions and post-harvest effects on end nutrition. Also necessary are accompanying considerations of yield and other agronomic traits—in particular, the non-uniform responses of both these and quality traits to climate change across crops, environments, and farming management systems. These integrative analyses from genotype to phenotype and planting to consumption can minimize trade-offs between yield and nutrition and maximize the range, magnitude, and longevity of the benefits of biofortified varieties to human health and nutrition.

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