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Review article2023Peer reviewed

Challenges for crop improvement

Ortiz Rios, Rodomiro Octavio


The genetic improvement of crops faces the significant challenge of feeding an everincreasing population amidst a changing climate, and when governments are adopting a ‘more with less’ approach to reduce input use. Plant breeding has the potential to contribute to the United Nations Agenda 2030 by addressing various sustainable development goals (SDGs), with its most profound impact expected on SDG2 Zero Hunger. To expedite the time-consuming crossbreeding process, a genomic-led approach for predicting breeding values, targeted mutagenesis through gene editing, high-throughput phenomics for trait evaluation, enviromics for including characterization of the testing environments, machine learning for effective management of large datasets, and speed breeding techniques promoting early flowering and seed production are being incorporated into the plant breeding toolbox. These advancements are poised to enhance genetic gains through selection in the cultigen pools of various crops. Consequently, these knowledge-based breeding methods are pursued for trait introgression, population improvement, and cultivar development. This article uses the potato crop as an example to showcase the progress being made in both genomic-led approaches and gene editing for accelerating the delivery of genetic gains through the utilization of genetically enhanced elite germplasm. It also further underscores that access to technological advances in plant breeding may be influenced by regulations and intellectual property rights.


big data; gene editing; genomic prediction; phenomics; potato breeding; SDGs

Published in

Emerging topics in life sciences
2023, Volume: 7, number: 2, pages: 197-205

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science
    Plant Biotechnology
    Genetics and Breeding

    Publication identifier


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