Biological frontiers for genetic improvement and seed priming of horticultural crops: implications for horticulture in sub-Saharan Africa
The motive for agriculture has changed over the years. As land, water and farm labour become scarce agricultural productivity must be urgently reconfigured to meet demands of population increase and quest for a better life. Climate uncertainty has compounded the problem and necessitated the need for development of resilient crops through genetic improvement. Consequently, new breeding techniques that emerged from advances in crops genomics must be deployed with good agronomic practices. With the new breeding techniques, genetic drag or unintended mutations may not occur throughout the genome as is the case for other techniques traditionally used for crop improvement. DNA engineering technology is used but the resulting organism would not differ from products obtained through conventional breeding. Yet fears associated with GMOs are insidiously tainting new plant breeding techniques with negative perceptions from the general public and regulators, the focus being on the process and not the product per se. Such fears could extend to biological seed priming with endophytic or exophytic symbionts. New approaches for addressing legitimate public concerns and modernization of regulatory frameworks in seeds and seed systems need to be developed.
Tenkouano, A., Dubois, T. and Afari-Sefa, V. (2018). Biological frontiers for genetic improvement and seed priming of horticultural crops: implications for horticulture in sub-Saharan Africa. Acta Hortic. 1225, 53-64
agricultural productivity, genetic modification, public concerns, regulatory frameworks