New Plants

David R. Hershey dh321 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Thu Jan 18 01:26:03 EST 1996

The idea to use large scale mutation breeding to produce new plant
varieties sounds good in theory but has not been a very useful technique
despite widespread trials. There have been some useful traits developed
but it has not been the "gold mine" that you might think. A major reason
is that most mutations are undesirable for the plant so you may have tens
of thousands of "bad" mutations for a single beneficial one. Many of these
rare beneficial mutations are not commercially valuable. Also, for most
crops there are already genes for most desirable traits in wild species or
existing varieties, the challenge is to use plant breeding or genetic
engineering to incorporate those genes into a particular crop while still 
maintaining all its other desirable traits. 

David R. Hershey
Snail mail: 6700 Belcrest Road #112, Hyattsville, MD 20782-1398

Adjunct Professor, Biology/Horticulture Department
Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD 20772-2199

Email: dh321 at

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