Returns to investment in new breeding technologies

Brennan, J.P. and Martin, P.J. (2007) Returns to investment in new breeding technologies. Euphytica, 157 (3). pp. 337-349.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


Wheat breeding is an economic activity that has provided high returns on past investments. Recent developments include technologies that can lead to improved utilization of genetic resources, improved selection methods, more rapid fixed lines, improved statistical analysis, and improved targeting of production environments. They have the potential to allow for the development of new varieties more rapidly, and/or varieties with enhanced productivity in targeted environments, and varieties with novel characteristics. To ensure that future breeding investments also have high returns, breeding programs need to assess these new technologies to determine whether to incorporate them into their program. Clearly, given the extent of uptake by breeders, there are significant perceived gains from incorporating some of the new technologies. However, not all programs will want to invest in all the new technologies. This paper identifies the criteria needed to assess which technologies may be most gainfully utilized. In some cases, the technologies can lower costs for a given operation. In other cases, they allow the selection program to be restructured by providing additional information at an earlier stage of the program or by targeting specific traits. However, several of the new technologies require significant investment, either in the infrastructure itself if the operations will be conducted within the breeding organization, or funding for contracting if the operations are done by outside organizations. Access to these facilities and the size of the necessary investment can be important issues for breeders considering incorporating the new technologies in their programs. Where some significant gains can be achieved at relatively low cost, all programs can adopt the new technology. Where the investment is large, only select breeding programs will be able to afford to incorporate the new technology into their programs. Analysis of marker-assisted selection shows that some markers can enable some operations to be carried out at a fraction of the cost of phenotypic evaluation. Similarly, analysis of the stomatal aperture-related traits of leaf porosity and canopy temperature depression shows that both are low-cost options that can lead to significant cost savings in selecting for yield. If the resources saved with such technologies are reinvested in the program, the restructured programs are likely to produce markedly higher rates of gain from breeding, and consequently higher rates of return on the investment in wheat breeding.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: SNNigam Collection
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breeding, Economics, Markers, Wheat
Author Affiliation: E.H. Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University), Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Australia.
Subjects: Social Sciences > Agricultural Economics
Crop Improvement
Divisions: Other Crops
Depositing User: Mr Arbind Seth
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 08:17
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 08:17
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item