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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Plants, biotechnology and agriculture.

Book cover for Plants, biotechnology and agriculture.


This book aims to provide readers with a modern perspective on plants both as biological organisms and useful resources for people to exploit. The early chapters cover plant evolution, genomics, metabolism, organization, development and responses to the environment. In each case, there is an emphasis on how biotechnology can be used to manipulate such processes for the benefit of humanity. The sco...


Chapter 8 (Page no: 172)

The scientific manipulation of plants.

This chapter surveys the era of scientific plant manipulation that began in the 20th century. Many biological and non-biological tools were developed for crop management and improvement with spectacular results. A range of biotechnologies based on plant genetics, physiology and biochemistry enabled breeders to manipulate plants in ways that transformed agriculture in much of the world. Modern plant breeding began with the application of Mendelian principles of heredity and was extended by tools such as quantitative genetics for the manipulation of complex multigenic traits. New technologies such as mutagenesis allowed breeders to create variation in inbred populations, to select superior genotypes and to propagate these new elite plants on a large scale in the field. Selection methods also progressed from simple visual inspection of plant phenotypes to the highly sophisticated use of DNA-based markers. The final section surveys the use of transgenesis for plant breeding as first applied in commercial agriculture during the 1990s.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Plants and their exploitation by people. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 21) Photosynthesis and the evolution of plants. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 40) Plant molecular genetics and genomics. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 66) Plant metabolism. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 97) Plant organization and development. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 126) Plant responses to the environment. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 152) Domestication and the empirical exploitation of plants. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 194) Crop improvement in the 20th century. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 220) Plant biotechnologies in the 21st century. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 244) Social context of plant biotechnologies. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 260) Future challenges for plant biotechnology. Author(s): Murphy, D.