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Volume 18 This object is only available for WUR students and staff. Volume 19 This object is only available for WUR students and staff. Volume 20 This object is only available for WUR students and staff. Volume 21 This object is only available for WUR students and staff. Many other products are now commercially available such as the cotton variety "Ingard", released in October, in Australia.
About 15 genetically modified products are currently been commercialized in the USA. They included "Roundup Ready" soybean, which is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, various corn hybrids which possess the Bt gene, some insect and herbicide resistant tomato varieties, virus-resistant potato clones and improved canola oil varieties Kubicek, Based on a survey answered by 32 breeders from the public sector and 23 from the private industry in charge of over twenty different crops in several countries, the influence of molecular markers on variety development has been small but promises to be important.
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The surveyed breeders said they believed that molecular markers would contribute in several ways: Also according to Lee , the main factors limiting the use of molecular markers to develop cultivars are: Consequently, there is a concern that the number of universities in the First World which offers training in filed plant breeding may decreased in the future. Cuts in public funding for research and allocation of more resources to biotechnology have resulted in sizeable cuts for conventional plant breeding. This is a virtually insoluble problem but one hopes that research-funding agencies will adopt balanced investment policy that also supports plant breeding now and in the future.
During the early years of biotechnology, scientists concluded that biotechnology would not replace conventional breeding.
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Biotechnologists and breeders have a better understanding of each other, today. Gradually, administrative and legislative organs will have a better insight of the importance of plant breeding and biotechnology.
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In regard to the future there are encouraging signs. Several Universities are hiring plant breeders and the importance of a team effort involving plant breeder and molecular biologist is routinely accepted by informed scientists and administrators. A new Green Revolution may be needed to increase food production.
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But will biotechnology lead plant breeding to another revolution? Some evidence already exists which supports this possibility. Almost certainly, transgenic varieties of various species will be grown in the next years. The commercial availability of transgenic varieties on a large-scale will generate, similarly to the Green Revolution, new technological packages such as use of insecticides and other inputs and will make possible the practice of agriculture on a large-scale.
Will such developments bring high risks? In the case of the Green Revolution, there was little risk due to gene escape probably because of its nature, i. It is certainly different with cotton, maize and soybean varieties, Bt carriers, which confer resistance to Lepidoptera insects James e Krattiger, The transformation of different crop species with the same resistance gene, i.
On the other hand, new perspectives untaught of by the breeder will be created, which may overcome the existing limitations. Transgenic plants will be just a part of the contribution biotechnology promises to deliver to plant breeding. These authors have pointed out that the possibility of accessing the DNA genetic variability by using molecular markers will revolutionize the way this variability will be explored in future plant breeding programs.
Research through the 20 th century techniques, complementary to plant breeding, have taught us many lessons. The first lesson was that no technology by itself can substitute for plant breeding. Even so, field evaluation of strains is a fundamental step as long as agricultural is practiced as it has been so far. Another lesson is that any new technology is likely to be adopted for some crops but not all.
While induced mutations have a great impact on breeding ornamental crops, they certainly had a less than expected impact on small grains. Likewise, biotechnology might have a big impact on the breeding of some species but it will probably not be important for others. It is believed that the high expectation generated by the use of new techniques and their impulsive, indiscriminate application to any crop species have been the main reasons of disappointment and skepticism.
Whether to invest on a new technology, one should first ask how it can help solve the problems faced by breeders and whether it will have a different impact from the classical breeding methodologies. Another question is whether the cost-benefit relation will favor the use of such technology. It is expected that plant breeding in the first decades of the next millennium will continue to evolve but not as drastically. The core germplasm of the cultivated species will remain being the most used gene source. The main methods for the development of new varieties will also be those using hybridization.
The costliest stage in variety development will continue being field evaluation for quantitative traits, with the need for interdisciplinary teamwork becoming more evident. Biotechnology will be increasingly incorporated to breeding routine, as a tool in the development of new varieties, conferring more precision to genetic breeding.
Two of its objectives will be to reduce time for the development of new varieties and to expand the genetic pool available for each breeding program. Which species will be the most affected and how its use will be justified in an everyday breeding situation, will be questions only time will answer. Editora UFV, p.
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