Unused Natural Variation Can Lift Yield Barriers in Plant Breeding

ABSTRACT: Natural biodiversity is an underexploited sustainable resource that can enrich the genetic basis of cultivated plants with novel alleles that improve productivity and adaptation. We evaluated the progress in breeding for increased tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) yield using genotypes carrying a pyramid of three independent yield-promoting genomic regions introduced from the drought-tolerant green-fruited wild species Solanum pennellii. Yield of hybrids parented by the pyramided genotypes was more than 50% higher than that of a control market leader variety under both wet and dry field conditions that received 10% of the irrigation water. This demonstration of the breaking of agricultural yield barriers provides the rationale for implementing similar strategies for other agricultural organisms that are important for global food security.

Category: Papers Breeding
Authors: Gur, A. and Zamir, D.
Publication Year: 2004

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