Pioneering new technology is set to accelerate the global quest for crop improvement in a development which echoes the Green Revolution of the post war period.
The speed-breeding platform developed by teams at the John Innes Centre, University of Queensland and University of Sydney, uses a glasshouse or an artificial environment with enhanced lighting to create intense day-long regimes to speed up the search for better performing crops.
Using the technique, the team has achieved wheat generation from seed to seed in just 8 weeks. These results appear today in Nature Plants.
This means that it is now possible to grow as many as 6 generations of wheat every year – a threefold increase on the shuttle-breeding techniques currently used by breeders and researchers.
Dr Brande Wulff of the John Innes Centre, Norwich, a lead author on the paper, explains why speed is of the essence:
“Globally, we face a huge challenge in breeding higher yielding and more resilient crops. Being able to cycle through more generations in less time, will allow us to more rapidly create and test genetic combinations and find the best combinations for different environments.”
For many years the improvement rates of several staple crops have stalled, leading to a significant impediment in the quest to feed the growing global population and address the impacts of climate change.
Speed breeding, says Dr Wulff, offers a potential new solution to a global challenge for the 21st century.
“People said you may be able to cycle plants fast, but they will look tiny and insignificant, and only set a few seed. In fact, the new technology creates plants that look better and are healthier than those using standard conditions. One colleague could not believe it when he first saw the results.”
The exciting breakthrough has the potential to rank, in terms of impact, alongside the shuttle-breeding techniques introduced after the second world war as part of the green revolution.
Dr Wulff goes on to say: “I would like to think that in 10 years from now you could walk into a field and point to plants whose attributes and traits were developed using this technology.”
This technique uses fully controlled growth environments and can also be scaled up to work in a standard glass house. It uses LED lights optimised to aid photosynthesis in intensive regimes of up to 22 hours per day.
LED lights significantly reduce the cost compared to sodium vapour lamps which have long been in widespread use but are ineffective because they generate much heat and emit poor quality light.
The international team also prove that the speed breeding technique can be used for a range of important crops. They have achieved up to 6 generations per year for bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, pea, and chickpea; and four generations for canola (a form of rapeseed). This is a significant increase compared with widely used commercial breeding techniques.
Speed breeding, when employed alongside conventional field-based techniques, can be an important tool to enable advances in understanding the genetics of crops.
“Speed breeding as a platform can be combined with lots of other technologies such as CRISPR gene editing to get to the end result faster,” explains Dr Lee Hickey from the University of Queensland.
The study shows that traits such as plant pathogen interactions, plant shape and structure, and flowering time can be studied in detail and repeated using the technology.
The speed breeding technology has been welcomed by wheat breeders who have become early adopters.
Ruth Bryant, Wheat Pathologist at RAGT Seeds Ltd, Essex, UK, said: “Breeders are always looking for ways to speed up the process of getting a variety to market so we are really interested in the concept of speed breeding. We are working closely with Dr Wulff’s group at the John Innes Centre to develop this method in a commercial setting.”
Dr Allan Rattey, a wheat crop breeder with Australian company Dow AgroSciences, has used the technology to breed wheat with tolerance to pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) a major problem in Australia.
“Environmental control for effective PHS screening and the long time taken to cycle through several cycles of recurrent selection were major bottle necks. The speed breeding and targeted selection platform have driven major gains for both of these areas of concerns.”
The Latest on: Speed breeding
- No. 23: Work ethic, character make De Smet's Wallace a rare breedon August 16, 2019 at 4:30 pm
It made me want to work harder.” Wallace, 17, had no choice if he wanted to keep up. He said the speed of the varsity was a tough adjustment. So were his opponents. “Guys were much bigger coming from ...
- Make way for Pippa, the rescue schnoodle capturing hearts while biking the BeltLineon August 16, 2019 at 11:58 am
Super playful and cuddly is how Todd Steigerwalt describes his Schnoodle dog—a breed mix of a schnauzer and a poodle—Pippa. You may have seen her speed past you on the Atlanta BeltLine while riding on ...
- Celebrating The Delightful Dachshundon August 16, 2019 at 5:51 am
Two newer dog sports, Earthdog and Barn Hunt, showcase the breed’s speed and hunting prowess, as the dogs strive to catch a concealed, safe-from-harm caged rat in a controlled setting. The color ...
- Accelerating Growth: IAEA Launches Plant Mutation Breeding Network for Asia and the Pacificon August 16, 2019 at 3:26 am
aims to improve efficiencies in crop mutation breeding across the region. This goes from accelerating the discovery of better traits in plants, to advancing speed-breeding technologies to get improved ...
- Golf’s New Breed Tries to Speed Things Upon August 15, 2019 at 10:20 pm
MEDINAH, Ill. — A pace-of-play problem that has simmered for decades on the PGA Tour reached full boil in 2 minutes 20 seconds, the time it took Bryson DeChambeau to execute an eight-foot putt last ...
- Changing sperm speed can influence offspring’s sex, mouse study suggestson August 13, 2019 at 11:36 am
Many of the modified X sperm swam at less than half the speed of the Y sperm ... If confirmed in other species, the strategy could be used for breeding livestock such as dairy cows, where female ...
- Hope for rhino breeding planon August 10, 2019 at 9:15 pm
Liew, who is also state Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and Wiratno agreed on the need to sort out the administrative process to speed up the inking of ... s IVF participation under the ...
- Redesdale Moves To McMahon Of Saratoga For 2020 Breeding Seasonon August 8, 2019 at 1:01 pm
“We sold 20 lifetime breeding rights to the horse ... where he earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.
- President Signs Executive Order to Speed Biotech Developmenton August 6, 2019 at 12:04 am
The order will “speed up reviews of biotechnology so that farmers can ... which mankind has done for thousands of years through traditional cross-breeding techniques and now does with far more ...
- Breed races into your heart and familyon August 5, 2019 at 5:20 pm
These supposed speed machines really can make the best pet ... If you are considering getting a new dog a greyhound may be the breed for you. But it is always important to research the breed you are ...
via Google News and Bing News