Q&A: Modern crop breeding for future food security (BMC Biology)

The demand for plant-based products will increase and must be doubled in the near future. Therefore, there is need for technological advancements and skillsets in all fields related to agriculture to successfully produce more efficiently than now. What could be done to speed up production to meet the future demand of food? Voss-Fell et al. address this issue in a Q&A (Questions and answers) and discuss how new technologies in plant breeding could be a fast-track for the development of new varieties, and therefore, to meet future plant-based product demands. Genomic selection, gene editing (using CRISPR-Cas genetic engineering systems), mutagenesis-based breeding and the current method as alternative for gene editing or gene introgression called speed breeding are some of the technologies developed as crop breeding directed-methods. The speed breeding approach developed by Dr. Lee Hickey and colleagues in the fast-forwarding genetic gain can speed and reduce the number of generations up to six per year for some crops. Thus, an integrated approach of more efficient breeding strategies using a combination of these new technologies could pave the way to plant-based food development and thus meet the food demands. (Summary by Florian Ahloumessou) BMC Biology. 10.1186/s12915-019-0638-4