Knowledge and technologies for sustainable intensification of food production.”

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Abstract or Summary

Knowledge and technologies will always continue to be developed, as they have always, to bring new efficiencies to plant breeding and crop production, which suffer from many constraints and inefficiencies. These constraints need to be overcome throughout the world to help increase the rate of improvements in food production and intensify production on less land. The recent discoveries and technical innovations that are revealing the full complement of genes in crops, the ability to define genetic variation and use DNA markers to follow chromosome segments with known functions through breeding programmes are leading to new efficiencies in breeding. The ability to isolate and redesign genes and transfer them into different plants also offers the breeder solutions to several key limitations. These benefits are described together with some of the current issues associated with the use of transgenes. Generation after generation can look forward to new knowledge and technologies, many of which we cannot know at present, and thus there is no reason to be despondent about meeting future goals, if the right decisions and investments are made globally and locally. These decisions include putting optimal use of land at the top of the world agenda to sustain both the planet and an adequate quality of life for mankind. As always has been the case, more investments are urgently required into the dissemination of successful technologies in crop breeding and production, into teaching and training as well as into innovative research. Failure to invest adequately in innovative technologies will leave future decision-makers and citizens with fewer options and greatly enhance the risks for mankind and a healthy planet.

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