Introduction to Plant Breeding Learning Activity: Wheat
- Amy Kohmetscher,
- Don Lee and
- Deana Namuth-Covert *
This learning activity guides students/learners through the basic process in a wheat breeding program. Wheat is a self-pollinated crop that breeders improve by crossing different cultivated varieties. Through careful crossing, observation, and further selection, breeders make better plants for producers. Biotechnology such as molecular markers aids breeders in the selection process by allowing them to observe the genes present in the DNA of wheat. Using the information from DNA and data collected in the field allows breeders to select plants with traits of interest. This activity uses wheat as a case study to uncover concepts such as pollination, inheritance of traits related to a single gene, selection for herbicide resistance, and molecular marker technology for selecting genes leading toward high protein level expressions. There is an interactive feature called the “breeder’s notebook,” which allows users to review concepts while completing the activity. A discussion of genetic engineering and its relation to wheat breeding programs is also provided in the activity. The education material is designed for introductory-level college students and is also useful for extension education.
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Copyright © 2012. . Copyright © 2012 by the American Society of Agronomy