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Plant Breeding and Biotechnology


  • 1 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 452 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.92 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521823890)

This comprehensive 2007 survey of modern plant breeding traces its history from the earliest experiments at the dawn of the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century to the present day and the existence of high tech agribusiness. Murphy tells the story from the perspective of a scientist working in this field, offering a rationale and evidence-based insight into its development. Crop improvement is examined from both a scientific and socio-economic perspective and the ways in which these factors interact and impact on agricultural development are discussed, including debates on genetically-modified food. Murphy highlights concerns over the future of plant breeding, as well as potential options to enable us to meet the challenges of feeding the world in the 21st century. This thoroughly interdisciplinary and balanced account serves as an essential resource for everyone involved with plant breeding research, policy and funding, as well as those wishing to engage with current debates.

• A free-flowing main text with an extensive series of endnotes and references allowing the reader to go deeper into specific topics of interest to them • Truly interdisciplinary, covering topics as diverse as agriculture, breeding, economics, biotechnology, plant science, GM issues, politics, corporate affairs and issues of globalisation • Written by a plant biotechnologist, who has spent three decades working in this area and is highly involved with the ongoing debate on genetically modified food and crops, locally and internationally


Preface; Using this book; Nomenclature and terminology; Abbreviations and glossary; Introduction; Part I. The Science of Plant Breeding: 1. Origins of plant breeding; 2. Creating new genetic variation; 3. Modern high-tech breeding; Part II. The Societal Context of Plant Breeding: 4. Rise of the public sector: the US pioneers; 5. The public sector in the UK; 6. Breeding goes global: the Green Revolution and beyond; Part III. Turmoil and Transition: The legacy of the 1980s: 7. Resurgence of the private sector; 8. Emergence of a new crop improvement paradigm; 9. Decline of the public sector; 10. Reaping the consequences; Part IV. The Agbiotech Paradigm: 11. Agbiotech: genes and dreams; 12. The future of transgenic crops I. Improving the technology; 13. The future of transgenic crops II. Improving the products; Part V. Increasing Global Crop Production: The New Challenges: 14. Feeding the world - fallacies and realities; 15. The roles of management, subsidies, and breeding in crop improvement; Part VI. Plant Breeding in the Twenty-First Century: 16. The future of international plant breeding; 17. Rebalancing our approach to crop improvement; 18. Where do we go from here?; 19. Conclusions and recommendations.


'… a thought provoking read, but provides a lot of background for funders and politicians, and it is to be hoped will be read by those in positions of influence.' Journal of Genetical Research

'… informative and thought-provoking … deserves a wide readership …' Experimental Agriculture

'… a provocative, uncompromising and valuable book …' Bioscience

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