Toward A New Agriculture for North Carolina
(From Plant Breeding Brochure)
Key To Agricultural Productivity
Plant breeders at North Carolina State University have
contributed much toward building North Carolina's $6.3 billion
agricultural industry. N. C. State's plant breeding program
in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is
the pivotal component of cultivar development in the state.
Plant breeders create new genetic lines that have disease
and insect resistances, better flavor, higher yields, more
tolerance to environmental stresses and, ultimately, better
consumer acceptance. The plant breeder's goal is to develop
plant cultivars that will be more profitable for the producer
and be safe for the environment.
The expertise of these researchers ranges from fundamental
plant genetics and molecular biology to applied experimental
design and field plot technique. Many of the university's
programs have international components to collect and disseminate
germplasm or evaluate improved lines.
Field and Lab
- N.C. State's crop improvement successes have evolved
around the state's many commodities, including field and
horticultural crops, forages, and turfgrass. North Carolina
breeders have developed high-yielding, high-quality cultivars
with resistance to diseases, viruses, nematodes, and insects.
Today the work continues as genetic mechanisms, or switches
which control specific desired traits such as fatty acid
regulation, drought tolerance, and pathogen resistance,
are being determined for several crop species.
- Genetic, biosystematic, and crop improvement studies
benefit from plant and seed collections of agronomic and
horticultural crops as well as thousands of cultivated
and wild plants. Researchers are incorporating genes from
these resources into high-yielding cultivars using classical
and new techniques such as plant cytogenetics, tissue
culture and DNA technologies. This work is being conducted
in campus greenhouses and labs, including the phytotron,
and as research stations across the state.
- The genetic make-up of many North Carolina crops allow
researchers to manipulate different numbers and types
of chromosomes, and cooperation with pathologists and
nematologists has advanced the understanding of heredity
and genetic function in important crop plants. Several
CALS programs incorporate molecular genetic techniques
into more conventional breeding programs to increase selection
efficiency. For example, genes from various species are
inserted into the genomes of cultivated tobacco and peanut
through plant transformation techniques.
Unified Programs Secure Dividends
- The plant breeding program at N. C. State is considered
one of the nation's outstanding programs in terms of size
and quality. N. C. State's commitment to plant breeding
research and education makes it one of the world's leaders
in training new plant breeders. Plant breeding serves
as the focal point for many crop improvement disciplines,
especially plant pathology, entomology, food science,
and crop science. Teams of experts integrate all phases
of plant improvement to solve problems in production agriculture.
Germplasm with improved traits and elite lines are being
released for several commodities, such as maize, wheat,
oats, barley, peanut, tobacco, cotton, soybean, forages,
and horticultural crops.
- Its history of success coupled with the strength of
its faculty and facilities will ensure that N. C. State's
plant breeding program will continue to play an important
role in variety development for North Carolina and beyond.
- For further information on the plant breeding program,
Contact the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service,
North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7601 Raleigh,
NC 27695, telephone 919-515-2718.
Expertise To Guide Development
- North Carolina State University, through the College
of Agriculture and Life Sciences, strives to assist North
Carolina farmers with research designed to help them enhance
their livelihoods. Faculty expertise can provide specialized
assistant in many areas of plant biology.