Plant breeding — the science of maximizing plants’ positive genetic traits to produce desirable effects — continues to open new frontiers in agricultural production. Advancements in plant genetics and genomics, when used in breeding, help support higher production and cultivation of crops resistant to pests, pathogens, and drought.
Importance of Plant Breeding & Genetics
Scientific advances in genetics and genomics have produced:
- More affordable prices for fruits and vegetables
- Abundant staple crops for producing meat and dairy products
- Development of sustainable sources of energy
- Reductions in agriculture-related pollution
However, science must continue to advance to meet challenges created by evolving plant pests and pathogens, global climate change, and changing societal needs.
NIFA programs are supporting plant breeding, genetics, and genomics through services such as:
- Leadership and coordination of national genomics research
- Research and education in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics and other methods to improve crop characteristics and performance
- Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases