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Kevin Cook
Chief Technology Officer   Kaiima

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  • The Power of Genetic Diversity   2017-05-08

    Crop productivity improvements at the turn of the 20th century was stagnant. Average yields in the United States plateaued around 20 bushels per acre for corn, 12 bushels for wheat, and 20 bushels for rice. The development of modern plant breeding, defined by the FAO as “the act of using genetic diversity to improve the agronomic performance of plants conducted as a formal endeavor and according to scientific principles”, led to several-fold improvements in productivity of these core crops over the ensuing century. These tools enabled plant breeders to identify germplasm with improved yield, standability, and pest resistance and to accumulate genes responsible for these traits from many different sources into new varieties and hybrids. Access to high performance germplasm comprised of diverse genes was required to realize this historic improvement in food availability and security.

    Crop productivity improvements at the turn of the 20th century was stagnant. Average yields in the United States plateaued around 20 bushels per acre for corn, 12 bushels for wheat, and 20 bushels for rice. The development of modern plant breeding, defined by the FAO as “the act of using genetic diversity to improve the agronomic performance of plants conducted as a formal endeavor and according to scientific principles”, led to several-fold improvements in productivity of these core crops over the ensuing century. These tools enabled plant breeders to identify germplasm with improved yield, standability, and pest resistance and to accumulate genes responsible for these traits from many different sources into new varieties and hybrids. Access to high performance germplasm comprised of diverse genes was required to realize this historic improvement in food availability and security.

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