In recent years a range of New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) has been developed that can assist breeders in a more efficient and precise adjustment of the genetic constitution of crops. These techniques include genome editing techniques, which have made tremendous progress since the introduction of CRISPR-Cas in 2012. These new techniques will support plant breeders in improving important crop traits that always have been difficult to improve via cross-breeding.
Worldwide, agriculture is facing serious sustainability issues which need to be addressed through an integrated approach that covers the entire production chain. Plant breeders and plant breeding companies are at the base of that chain. Plant breeders will need to develop new varieties in a shorter period of time to keep up with changes in climatic conditions, soil quality, and pathogen & pest pressures, increasing food demand, and the evolving preferences of consumers.
Plant breeders are eager to apply new plant breeding techniques. Society wants to know more about the techniques. That is why scientists of Wageningen University & Research have made a booklet giving a brief overview of recent developments in plant breeding techniques. In this booklet, the scientists describe examples of techniques and of desirable crop traits that may be improved using genome editing. They also discuss societal, legal, and economic aspects of new plant breeding techniques.
About CHIC Project
CHIC is the Chicory Innovation Consortium. Its objective is to implement New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) in chicory in order to establish it as a multipurpose crop for the production of health-related products with clear benefits for consumers and to develop co-innovation pathways with stakeholders for game-changing technologies, such as NPBTs. CHIC will develop four different NPBTs. They will be used to steer bioprocesses in chicory and mobilize its under-explored potential to produce immunomodulatory prebiotics and medicinal terpenes. The conceptually different NPBTs will be assessed with respect to technological potential, risks, regulatory framework, and their socio-economic impacts. This will be done in close consultation with a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) composed of relevant stakeholders in industry and society.