Plant breeding is the human selection of plant populations and began around 10,000 years ago. Plant breeders make crosses of their most promising lines, test as many offspring as possible and select the best to plant for the next generation. In the past 150 years the laws of inheritance and principles of genetics have been discovered and incorporated into the modern breeding process.
MODERN PLANT BREEDING & GENETICS
By combining molecular biology and statistical genetics, modern breeders and geneticists are able to more effectively identify and select desirable genotypes in breeding populations. The process starts with the identification of molecular markers which are statistically associated with important traits such as disease and insect resistance or grain quality traits. These markers are then used to analyze DNA collected from seedlings of new breeding populations and select those that carry the trait. The advantage of this approach is that it can be performed cheaper and more accurately than traditional phenotypic analyses. The fundamental breeding process of cross pollination among desirable breeding lines has not changed. The paradigm shift is in the ability to rapidly and accurately select the most desirable genotypes. NWG is working to identify markers for valuable traits (THC content, amino acid profile, etc.) so they can be incorporated into our breeding program as they are validated.
Improvements of market trait characteristics are done so in parallel with selection for crop adaptation to the environment for which production is targeted. Selection of an adapted variety ensures maximum yield and trait expression so that each end-use product can be produced at the lowest cost possible, thus providing value to all stakeholders in the supply chain. Selection for enhancements in each of these traits, along with improvements in yield and adaptation, will be a continuous process where new varieties will be released on a frequent basis. See our products page for our current varieties in production