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Crop Physiology
2015, Pages: 487–503

Integration of biotechnology, plant breeding and crop physiology. Dealing with complex interactions from a physiological perspective

Fernando H. Andrade, Rodrigo G. Sala, Ana C. Pontaroli, Alberto León, Sebastián Castro

INTA-Universidad de Mar del Plata, CONICET, Argentina.


Considering the vast knowledge gained in crop physiology, breeding and biotechnology, a framework integrating these complementary disciplines could be important to achieve steeper gains in plant breeding. In this context, this chapter focuses on the contribution of crop physiology to plant breeding and biotechnology. Our aim is to highlight the value of crop physiology to the understanding and interpretation of complex genetic and physiological mechanisms with strong interaction with the environment. We discuss the contribution of the discipline in (1) analyzing past achievements of plant breeding, (2) identifying relevant traits for yield potential and yield stability across environments, and (3) disentangling complex interactions between traits and the environment, and between relevant traits. A major challenge and a limiting factor for the success of the interdisciplinary approach is the identification of the main traits that confer yield potential and yield stability in different environments. In this context, crop physiology is crucial to understanding and extrapolating processes and mechanisms occurring at different levels of organization and to explain and predict complex interactions. We also discuss the potential contributions of biotechnology to facilitate crop physiology studies as well as the use of physiological traits in plant breeding.

Evidence is emerging on the contribution of this type of integrated multidisciplinary framework to higher and more stable yields.

Keywords: crop physiology; plant breeding; biotechnology; yield potential; yield stability; traits; environment; interaction; interdisciplinary approach.
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