Submitted by: Yousry A. El-Kassaby
Breeding long-lived organisms such as trees can be cumbersome, costly and time consuming. As with a dog breeding program, genetics and selected crosses between prized individuals ensure offspring superiority. A partnership between man and nature has duplicated this process whereby nature does the breeding and pedigree is resolved by DNA fingerprinting and paternity assignment. The result is a faster improvement with minimal cost. Imagine a 20-year breeding cycle that can be reduced to five. Enormous benefits can be realized for developed and developing countries as increasing fibre demands requires improved forest productivity, resilience and adaptation to a changing environment. Genomics is changing medicine and forestry!