Chromosomes, Crops and Superdomestication


Agro-Biotechnology Institute, ABI Serdang
Prof J. S. “Pat” Heslop-Harrison,
University of Leicester
Academic Icon, University of Malaya
Chromosomes, Crops and Superdomestication
Crop improvement is reliant on the exploitation of new biodiversity and new combinations of diversity. In this seminar presented at the Agro-Biotechnology Institute, ABI Serdang, Malaysia, Professor J.S. “Pat” Heslop-Harrison, discusses his work on genome structure and evolution, involving processes including polyploidy, introgression, recombination and repetitive DNA changes. Identification and measurement of diversity and relationships assists in use of new gene combinations or new crops, through synthesizing new hybrid species, by chromosome engineering or by transgenic strategies. We are studying crops including wheat, Brassica and banana, using genome sequencing, repetitive sequence comparison, and cytogenetics. Plants, pathogens and farmers have been involved in a three-way fight since the start of agriculture, and the concept of superdomestication involves systematic identification of needs from crops, only then followed by finding appropriate characters and bringing them together in new varieties. Crops will continue to deliver the products needed for food, fibre, fuel and fibre in an increasingly sustainable and safe manner.