Plant Genetics: Increasing Crop Yield

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Science  30 Sep 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4311, pp. 1334-1339
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4311.1334


Cell cultures of crop plants provide new opportunities to recover induced mutations likely to increase crop yield. Approaches include regulating respiration to conserve carbon fixed by photosynthesis, and increasing the nutritive value of seed protein. They depend on devising selecting conditions which only desired mutant cells can survive. Protoplast fusion offers some promise of tapping sources of genetic variation now unavailable because of sterility barriers between species and genera. Difficulties in regenerating cell lines from protoplasts, and plants from cells, still hamper progress but are becoming less severe. Recombinant DNA techniques may allow detection and selection of bacterial cell lines carrying specific DNA sequences. Isolation and amplification of crop plant genes could then lead to ways of transforming plants that will be useful to breeders.