Plant Breeding has always played a pivotal role in human history from revolutionizing agriculture to feed the ever- growing population. However, longer time invested in variety development and breeding cycles presents a stum- bling block to an accelerated response of plant breeders to the growing de- mand for food production. Breeding and biotechnological approaches for crop health management is aimed at increased substantially agricultural production with enhanced nutritional content and enhanced tolerance to abi-otic and biotic stresses.

Pre-breeding with Crop wild Relatives

Pre-breeding is an opportunity to introgression of desirable genes, from wild species (primary, secondary and tertiary gene pools) into elite breeding lines/ cultivars/ genotypes, to overcome the linkage drag. Crop wild relatives (CWRs) are good reservoir of untapped genetic diversity, which may not exist in the cultivated gene pool that can be used to improve the numerous trait of interest including resistance/ tolerance against diseases, insect- pests, drought, salinity, cold, heat and good agronomic adaptation with quality improvement.

Speed breeding can potentially accelerate the discovery and use of allelic diversity in landraces as well as in CWR to be further used in developing improved crop varieties.
commercialized in a few countries in the mid-1990s. According to PRS India, transgenics has been commercially released in about 32 crops and flower species with a total of 439 different transgenic events. In 2018, GM crops were grown in 26 countries on an estimated 474 million acres of about 14% of the world’s arable land.

The most widely used GMO traits thus far involve herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. India is both the world’s largest cotton producer and largest Bt cotton producer with an adoption rate of 95% for Bt cotton. On average, GMOs have increased crop yields by 22% and reduced chemical pesticide quantities by 37%. Within less than 10 years after its first commercialization, more than 90% of the cotton growers had switched to GMO seeds showing that Bt cotton adoption has significantly and sustainably reduced chemical pesticide applications, leading to large health and environmental benefits.

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