By Brandie Piper
Published May 31, 2015 on Monsantoblog.com.
Matchmakers have a long history of pairing together two people who complement each other in the hopes of fostering a relationship. The process is similar for plant breeders and the crops they study.
Like matchmakers, the goal of plant breeders is to bring together the two plants best-suited for each other so they can produce offspring with the best characteristics of both. The resulting offspring are called hybrids or varieties, depending on the crop. At Monsanto, our plant breeders play matchmakerevery day to all types of crops such as corn, soybeans, peppers, and cotton. Plant breeding is the basic foundation upon which the Research & Development Pipeline at Monsanto is based.
For corn, the process is a year-long commitment by men and women who are looking to breed new corn plants that have improved agronomic traits, drought tolerance, tolerance to disease and other beneficial traits—all of which can lead to better harvests.
“It’s a fun and rewarding and yet challenging process,” said Dr. Michael Kovach, a corn breeder at Monsanto. “Our breeding teams are trying to look several years into the future to help farmers better withstand nature’s challenges.” … [continue reading]