Using mutation breeding to improve plant genetic characteristics
Known as mutation breeding, plant breeders induce inheritable changes in the genetic background of a plant by using irradiation and chemicals, and then select offspring with the characteristics they are looking for.
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Agricultural Exchange Association (IAEA) scientists have used mutation breeding to improve oil quality by inducing changes in the plant's fatty acid composition, and to raise the yields of important oilseed crops. With sesame, the researchers increased the length of the fruiting zone on the stem, the number of capsules or fruits, the uniformity of ripening and the plant's tolerance to important diseases.
1. The value of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture ultimately lies in their utilization. Promoting plant breeding and improvement is one way of sharing the benefits of these resources.
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