Addressing Research Bottlenecks to Crop Productivity

Trends Plant Sci. 2021 Jun;26(6):607-630. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2021.03.011. Epub 2021 Apr 20.


Asymmetry of investment in crop research leads to knowledge gaps and lost opportunities to accelerate genetic gain through identifying new sources and combinations of traits and alleles. On the basis of consultation with scientists from most major seed companies, we identified several research areas with three common features: (i) relatively underrepresented in the literature; (ii) high probability of boosting productivity in a wide range of crops and environments; and (iii) could be researched in 'precompetitive' space, leveraging previous knowledge, and thereby improving models that guide crop breeding and management decisions. Areas identified included research into hormones, recombination, respiration, roots, and source-sink, which, along with new opportunities in phenomics, genomics, and bioinformatics, make it more feasible to explore crop genetic resources and improve breeding strategies.

Keywords: crop growth model; hormones; public-private-partnership; recombination; respiration; roots; source:sink.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crop Production*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Genomics
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Breeding*