If plant breeders ever find the perfect
plant, their careers will be over.
Plant breeders stay busy because the crop species
they work with are grown in changeable or changing environments and new uses of these grains are desired. Consequently, they are on the search for parent lines
that have specific desired traits. Identifying these parent lines starts the breeding process. They must then make crosses between the parent lines and search through the offspring in the hopes of finding new genetic types (genotypes) that have the desired combinations of traits (phenotypes) from both parents. In the previous section we learned about methods plant breeders could use to identify plants with desired grain quality phenotypes
. Armed with this selection
method, the breeder will be able to search through the thousands of plants they generate from these crosses. Their success in finding a desired plant that will reliably pass this desired trait
to it?s offspring will depend on the genetic control of the grain quality trait. In this part of the lesson we will examine how genetic control of the trait will dictate the level of difficulty the breeder will encounter in the grain quality improvement program.