The Washington Post explained marker-assisted breeding from a Monsanto, other ag business company breeders and university researchers points-of-view. The article written by Adrian Higgins, “Trait by trait, plant scientists swiftly weed out bad seeds through marker-assisted breeding,” also notes successful crop improvements from the breeding technology.
The article clarifies the big difference between marker-assisted or molecular breeding and genetic engineering or genetically modified (GM) plant development.
A good example noted is the breeding of “scuba rice,” a nickname for a rice developed at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. It is a rice that has proven to withstand complete submersion because of monsoons. It was an early marker-assisted breeding success.
It was noted that currently 5 percent of the rice institute’s breeding programs involve genetically engineered varieties and marker-assisted breeding is involved in about 15 percent of the breeding. But the expectation is that something around 65 percent of future rice breeding will be molecular breeding.
The article even quotes a Greenpeace scientist as being favorable to marker-assisted breeding as opposed to genetic engineering.
U.S. researchers outside of Monsanto are quoted including those associated with Cornell University, North Carolina State University, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, University of Wisconsin and Syngenta.
To read the article click here.