Free Essay: Molecular Plant Breeding
Molecular plant breeding is a breeding process that involves developing new plant varieties. In the past years, developing a new crop variety would take almost 25 years. However, with molecular plant breeding, the process takes between 7 to 10 years. The process is assisted by selecting the best plant traits using a marker assisted selection.
Molecular shortcut in molecular plant breeding
For successful molecular plant breeding, one plant has to be distinguished from the other. A plant is therefore encoded in its genetic material or the DNA. It is then packaged in strands of its genetic material from the parent plants. The genes often control the characteristics of each plant and are located in different segments of each chromosome. Together, they will make up a genome.
In molecular plant breeding, plant traits including flower color can easily be controlled. This is done by only one gene from the plant. However, other complex plant characteristics including starch content and crop yields are often influenced by many genes.
Traditionally, plants have to be selected carefully by breeders because of their phenotype. Selecting measurable and visible traits is equally important because it helps to expedite breeding process. It is essential to note that breeding the plants can be slow because of prevailing environmental factors.
Molecular plant breeding can also be costly in its developmental stage and to the economy. With harsh environmental elements, farmers can also suffer crop losses. As a short cut, molecular plant breeders use short cuts or marker assisted selection.
Marker assisted selection; it becomes easy to identify specific genes. Scientists also use molecular markers to make up a DNA segment. They are also located near DNA sequence of a specific gene. The genes are also transmitted from one generation to the next.
It is also essential to note that genes are close together and they stay together whenever a new generation of plants is produced. The process is called genetic linkage and it helps breeders to predict whether the end product will have the desired genes or not. Scientists or researchers also tell whether the desired gene is present or not.
Molecular plant breeding is commonly and widely used in breeding tomatoes. More than 40 genes can confer resistance to different types of tomato pathogens that have been cloned, mapped or sequenced. The maps also follow pyramiding resistance genes in tomatoes through marker assisted selected. This is a situation where different resistance genes can be engineered into one specific genotype.
Currently, tomato molecular breeding has resulted in a wide range of breeds that are highly tolerant or resistant to pests and diseases. They are also resistant to more specific pathogens.
Through molecular plant breeding and molecular markers, breeders have been able to
- Assess genetic variability of plants
- They have been able to asses’ characterization of germplasm
- Identify and fingerprint genotypes
- They have also have been able to estimate genetic distances between breeding materials, inbreeds and population
- They have also been able to carry out detection of monogenic and quantitative trait loci
- Carry out successful marker assisted selection and
- Identification of sequences of all useful candidate genes
The adoption of molecular plant breeding is therefore highly preferred due to its benefits to farmers and researchers.
It’s our hope that you have benefited from the essay above on molecular plant breeding. At www.customwritingservice.org we post free essays that you can benefit from. If you need customized essays on any topic in any academic level get in touch with us here.