Current challenges and future perspectives of plant and agricultural biotechnology
Menachem Moshelion, Arie Altmane
The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Quality Sciences, PO Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel.
Advances in understanding plant biology, novel genetic resources, genome modification, and omics technologies generate new solutions for food security and novel biomaterials production under changing environmental conditions. New gene and germplasm candidates that are anticipated to lead to improved crop yields and other plant traits under stress have to pass long development phases based on trial and error using large-scale field evaluation. Therefore, quantitative, objective, and automated screening methods combined with decision-making algorithms are likely to have many advantages, enabling rapid screening of the most promising crop lines at an early stage followed by final mandatory field experiments. The combination of novel molecular tools, screening technologies, and economic evaluation should become the main goal of the plant biotechnological revolution in agriculture.
Keywords: crop biotechnology, abiotic and biotic stress tolerance, transgenic plants, genotype–phenotype gap, food security, biomaterials, molecular breeding.