Plant Breeding Success Stories

Published Date: 2 December 2008

© FAO / G. Napolitano USA — The grapefruit variety ‘Rio Star’, with its characteristic bright red coloured flesh, now accounts for 75 percent of the highly lucrative US grapefruit production. © PhotoDisk, © Wikipedia CANADA — The Linola mutant series of linseed contains reduced levels of linolenic and raised levels of linoleic acid making it similar to traditional sunflower oil and therefore suitable for human consumption. Linola accounts for about 10% of all flax/linseed grown in Canada, a major flax producer. © Wikipedia PERU — In the high Andes, stronger, healthier varieties of barley grow at altitudes of up to 5000 meters, producing harvests of some 1200 kilograms a hectare. This is an increase of 50 percent against earlier levels, which translates to roughly US $9 million a year. © IAEA / D. Calma CHINA — Up to 2005, a total of 638 mutant varieties of 42 plant species were released, covering nine million hectares of planting area. Increased cereal production brings economic benefits of roughly US $420 million a year. © IAEA / V. Schoehl INDIA — Mutant groundnut series ‘TAG’ has early maturity, high pod growth and greatly improved harvest rates. Total domestic seed sales amount to 132 000 tons and cover 6.5 million hectares. PAKISTAN — A mutant producing better quality and higher yielding crops quadrupled cotton production in Pakistan within 10 years of release (1983-1992), and now accounts for 70% of all cotton grown in the Punjab. Economic contribution: US $20 million a year. © Wikipedia JAPAN — The mutant ‘Gold Nijesseiki’ pear is widely grown, sold and consumed. Economic contribution amounts to some US $30 million annually and has financed plant breeding research for the whole country. VIETNAM — Since the mid-1990s eight mutant rice varieties were released, with high quality, increased yield and tolerance to soil salinity. Since 2000, the area cultivated with mutant rice varieties reached 2.5 million hectares in southern Vietnam. © IAEA / L. Wedekind EGYPT — Three mutant varieties of high-yielding, disease and insect resistant sesame are bringing higher economic returns than standard varieties. SUDAN — Banana variety ‘Albeely’ producing up to 100% higher yields and improved quality. © IAEA / D. Calma GHANA — Cassava variety ‘Tek Bankye’, with improved cooking quality, released to wide acclaim. Trials underway to produce higher-yielding, disease resistant cassava, with improved starch content. © Wikipedia KENYA — A new wheat variety ‘Njoro-BW1’ was bred to be drought tolerant. It is also high yielding, produces excellent baking flour and has good resistance to wheat rust, a virulent strain of fungus threatening the region’s farmlands. © IAEA / R. Quevenco ITALY — Pasta, Italy’s favourite food, is made with mutant varieties of durum wheat and contributes tens of millions of dollars each year to farmers’ income. TURKEY — A chickpea mutant was successfully released with enhanced yield potential, higher seed protein, early maturity and resistance to blight. © PhotoDisk SCOTLAND — The mutant barley varieties ‘Diamant’ and ‘Golden Promise’ are the progenitors of most barley used in whisky production in Scotland, contributing millions of dollars a year to farmers. © Wikipedia AUSTRALIA — The semi-dwarf mutant rice variety, Amaroo, is widely grown in Australia and accounts for 60-70% of total rice acreage in the country. © IAEA © IAEA