Crops are the foundation of human society, not only by providing needed nutrition, but also by feeding livestock and serving as raw materials for industry. Cereal crops, which supply most of our calories, have been supporting humans for thousands of years. However food security is facing many challenges nowadays, including growing populations, water shortage, and increased incidence of biotic and abiotic stresses. According to statistical data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, http://www.fao.org/), the people suffering severe food insecurity increased from 7.9 % in 2015 to 9.7 % in 2019 and the number of people exposed to moderate or severe food insecurity have increased by 400 million over the same time period. Although there are many ways to cope with these challenges, crop breeding remains the most crucial and direct manner. With the development of molecular genetics, the speed of cloning genetic variations underlying corresponding phenotypes of agricultural importance is considerably more rapid. As a consequence breeding methods have evolved from phenotype-based to genome-based selection. In the future, knowledge-driven crop design, which integrates multi-omics data to reveal the connections between genotypes and phenotypes and to build selection models, will undoubtedly become the most efficient way to shape plants, to improve crops, and to ensure food security.Copyright © 2020 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
About The Expert
Alisdair R Fernie