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All over the world, conventional plant breeding has fallen on hard times, and is seen as the unfashionable older cousin of genetic engineering.

One victim is the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico where — for the first time in half a century — researchers have been forced to skip a cycle of wheat breeding trials, because of lack of money.

In recent years, attention has turned to transgenic technology, rather than conventional breeding. But researchers argue that classical breeding is far from obsolete, and that future success lies in marrying conventional methods to genomic and other molecular genetic techniques.

Link to full Nature feature article

Reference: Nature 421, 568 (2003)