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Plant Breeding- an art, Science and

technology which deals with genetic
improvement of crop plants in relation to
their economic use for mankind.

• Art refers to human imagination, creativity and skill. Plant

breeding is an art because selection of superior plant requires
human skill, imagination and experience.
• Science- development of superior varieties involves genetic
principles, sequential steps and experimentation to genetic
makeup of crop plant.
• Technology – development of useful commercial product
involving scientific principles and human skill.
Branches of plant breeding
 Agricultural plant breeding
 Horticultural plant breeding
 Tree breeding
 Medicinal plant breeding
 Stress breeding
 Quality breeding
 Mutation breeding
 Transgenic breeding
 Molecular breeding
 Maintenance breeding
History and development of plant
(a journey through time)
Selected milestones in plant breeding
9000 BC First evidence of plant domestication in the hills above the
Tigris river
1694 Camerarius first to demonstrate sex in (monoecious) plants and suggested
crossing as a method to obtain new plant types
1714 Mather observed natural crossing in maize
1761-1766 Kohlreuter demonstrated that hybrid offspring
received traits from both parents and were intermediate in
most traits, first scientific hybrid in tobacco
1866 Mendel: Experiments in plant hybridization
1900 Mendel’s laws of heredity rediscovered

1944 Avery, MacLeod, McCarty discovered DNA is hereditary

1953 Watson, Crick, Wilkins proposed a model for DNA
1970 Borlaug received Nobel Prize for the Green Revolution
Berg, Cohen, and Boyer introduced the recombinant DNA
1994 ‘FlavrSavr’ tomato developed as first GMO
1995 Bt-corn developed
• Domestication: The process by which people
try to control the reproductive rates of
animals and plants. Without knowledge on the
transmission of traits from parents to their

• Plant Breeding: The application of genetic

Prunus persica analysis to development of plant lines better
suited for human purposes.
Source: Wikipedia

– Plant Breeding and Selection Methods to meet the

food, feed, fuel and fiber needs of the world
– Genetic Engineering to increase the effectiveness
and efficiency of plant breeding.
Scientific disciplines and technologies
of plant breeding

• Genetics
• Botany
• Plant physiology
• Agronomy
• Pathology and entomology
• Biochemistry
• Statistics
Classic/ traditional tools

Wide crossing
Chromosome counting
Chromosome doubling
Male sterility
Linkage analysis
Statistical tools
Advanced tools

Tissue culture
In situ hybridization
DNA markers
Advanced technology

Molecular markers
Marker-assisted selection
DNA sequencing
Plant genomic analysis
Primer design
Plant transformation
Basic steps

• Objective

• Germplasm

• Selection

• Evaluation

• Plant breeding aims to improve the

characteristic of plants so that they become
more desirable agronomically and
• Thus the chief objective of plant breeding is
to develop such improved varieties of crop
plants that will be commercially successful.
1.Higher Yields
Most of the breeding programmes aim at
higher crop yields. This is achieved by
developing more efficient genotypes, e.g.,
hybrid varieties of maize (Z. mays), sorghum
(S. bicolor), bajra (P. glaucum), etc.
2. Improved Quality
The quality of plant produce determines its suitability for various uses.
Therefore, quality is an important aspect for plant breeders. Quality
characters vary from one crop to another, e.g.,
–Grain size, color, milling and baking qualities in
wheat (Triticum aestivum),
–Cooking quality in rice (Oryza sativa),
–Malting quality in barley (Hordeum vulgare),
–Size, color and flavor of fruits,
–Keeping quality of vegetables,
–Protein content in cereals and legumes,
–Lysine content in cereals,
–Methionine and tryptophan contents in pulses etc.
3.Disease and Insect Resistance
Resistant varieties offer the cheapest and the
most convenient method of disease and insect
management. In some cases, they offer the
only feasible means of control, e.g., rusts in
wheat. Resistant varieties not only increase
production but also stabilize it.
4. Change in Maturity Duration
– It permits new crop rotations and extends the
crop area.

– Development of wheat varieties suitable for late

planting has permitted rice-wheat rotation.

– Thus breeding for early maturing crop varieties, or

varieties suitable for different dates of planting
may be an important objective in many cases.
5. Agronomic Characteristics
Modification of agronomic characteristics, such
as, plant height, tillering, branching, erect or
trailing habit etc., is often desirable. For
example, dwarfness in cereals is generally
associated with lodging resistance and fertilizer
Tallness, high tillering and profuse branching are
desirable characters in fodder crops.
Development of photo-insensitive and thermo-
insensitive wheat and photo-insensitive rice
varieties has permitted their cultivation in new
areas. Rice is now cultivated in Punjab, while
wheat is a major rabi crop in West Bengal.
7.Synchronous Maturity
Synchronous maturity is highly desirable in
crops where several pickings are necessary e.g
mungbean, pigeon pea, cotton, etc.

8.Non-shattering Characteristics
It would be of great value in a crop like mung,
castor, wheat etc. where shattering is a major
problem in case of many commercial varieties.
9. Determinate Growth
Development of varieties with determinate growth is
desirable in crops like mung, pigeonpea, cotton etc.

In some crops, seeds germinate before harvesting if there
are rains at the time of maturity, e.g., mung, barley,
groundnut, etc. A period of dormancy in such cases would
check the loss due to germination. In some other cases,
however, it may be desirable to remove dormancy.
11. Varieties for New Seasons
Traditionally, maize is a kharif crop. But
scientists are now able to grow maize
throughout the year. Similarly, mung is now
grown as a summer crop in addition to the
main kharif crop.
12. Moisture Stress and Salt Tolerance
– Development of varieties for rain fed areas and for
saline soils would be helpful in increasing crop
– The major proportion (about 70%) of the cropped area
in the country is rain fed.
– The estimates of salt-affected (saline) soils in the
country vary from 7 to 20 million hectares, of which
about 2.8 million hectares are alkaline soils. Most of
these areas are spread in the states of Uttar Pradesh,
Haryana and Punjab.
13. Elimination of Toxic Substances
– Some crops have toxic substances which must be eliminated
to make them safe for consumption.
– For example, khesari (Lathyrus sativus) seeds have a
neurotoxin, ß-N-oxalylarnine alanine (BOAA) that causes
– Similarly, brassica oil has erucic acid, which is harmful to
human health.
– Removal of such toxic substances would increase the
nutritional value of these crops.
14. Wider Adaptability
◦ Adaptability refers to suitability of a variety for
general cultivation over a wide range of
environmental conditions. Adaptability is an
important objective in plant breeding because it
helps in stabilizing the crop production over
regions and seasons.
• Increased yield.
• Disease resistance.
• Physiological efficiency.
• Varieties for new agricultural areas.
• Improvements of plants in agronomic or
horticultural characteristics.
• Varieties tolerant to heat, cold or
• Improvement in yield.
• Improvement in quality.
• Resistance to biotic and abiotic stress
• Earliness
• Adaptability
Thank you….!