Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Genetic tools promise better crops

There has been an explosion of advanced genetic techniques and technologies, holding promise that plant breeders will be able to make multiple advances, not just one genetic trait at a time.

Michael Kahn, chairman of the North American Biotechnology Council, is inviting scientists to the 28th annual conference in  Washington State to discuss those advances.

He writes in the council’s newsletter that "powerful new versions of classical genetic techniques fueled by new methods that generate and manipulate huge amounts of data are radically altering our ability to genetically modify plants, animals and microorganisms.

“Ultimately, integration of this information (huge data bases about genetics and the physical appearance of crops and animals) can be used to guide breeding strategies in order to yield plants and animals with multiple desired traits, including improved quality, yield, disease resistance and nutrition,” he writes.

“Combinations of these technologies are lending much more precision in gene discovery, and the meeting will discuss the agricultural implications of this sort of advanced classical genetics■”

The meeting is June 1 and 2 at Washington State University, at Pullman, Washington.