Plant Breeding and Genetics

Plant Breeding and Genetics

The Plant Breeding and Genetics Section assists FAO and IAEA Member States in the implementation of innovative and effective plant breeding programmes using radiation induced mutation, mutation detection and pre-breeding technologies. This is done through research and development (R&D), capacity development, policy advice, technology transfer and technical support and assistance via Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs) and Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs).

The overall aim is to enhance global food security through sustainable crop production using strategic fundamental and applied crops sciences research. Our work is driven by Member State demands, and the MSs are the recipients of technology transfer, capacity development, policy advice, materials and information. The major target is yield and yield stability, but this encompasses developing crops with greater resilience to climate change. Quality traits, especially nutritious foods, are also high on the agenda of Member States.

Mutation breeding is hugely successful. The wide use of mutation induction for crop improvement is documented in the FAO/IAEA Mutant Variety Database, which includes more than 3346 officially released mutant varieties from 228 different plant species in more than 73 countries throughout the world. Over 1,000 mutant varieties of major staple crops, cultivated on tens of millions of hectares enhance rural income, improve human nutrition and contribute to environmentally sustainable food security in the world.

Highlights
 New IAEA Publications Highlight Technical Cooperation Achievements in Asia and the Pacific   New IAEA Publications Highlight Technical Cooperation Achievements in Asia and the Pacific. On 2 December, during a Meeting of National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and other representatives from Asia and the Pacific, two new IAEA publications were launched, cataloguing the impact and success of the Agency’s technical cooperation (TC) programme. Read More »
 Outstanding Achievement, Women in Plant Mutation Breeding and Young Scientist Awards   Outstanding Achievement, Women in Plant Mutation Breeding and Young Scientist Awards. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division is seeking nominations for Outstanding Achievement, Women in Plant Mutation Breeding, and Young Scientist Awards to celebrate the successes and promote further applications of mutation breeding. Read More »
 World Food Day 2020: IAEA & FAO’s Joint Work Benefits Farmers and Increases Food Security Worldwide   World Food Day 2020: IAEA & FAO’s Joint Work Benefits Farmers and Increases Food Security Worldwide. In 2020, more than 80 developing countries from all over the world have received support from the IAEA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in improving food security and agricultural development with the use of nuclear and nuclear-related techniques. Read More »
 Homegrown Soybeans are Making a Comeback in Indonesia Thanks to New Varieties Developed Using Irradiation   Homegrown Soybeans are Making a Comeback in Indonesia Thanks to New Varieties Developed Using Irradiation. Soybean products such as tofu and tempeh are staples in Indonesian cuisine and important protein sources for much of the population. Read More »
Asian Cooperative Agreement Convenes 49th Annual Meeting to Discuss Regional Priorities, Challenges and Solutions    Asian Cooperative Agreement Convenes 49th Annual Meeting to Discuss Regional Priorities, Challenges and Solutions. On 18 September, representatives from 22 State Parties to the Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) met virtually to deliver and receive reports on both recent and past achievements realized through the framework of the Agreement, and to build consensus around regional priorities and objectives for the coming years. Read More »
 Tastier and More Nutritious Vegetables: Bulgaria Improves Food Quality with IAEA Support   Tastier and More Nutritious Vegetables: Bulgaria Improves Food Quality with IAEA Support. Bulgaria, one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe, has long been a major exporter of various food products. With gradually warming temperatures over the past decades, farmers have seen the yield and quality of key crops fall. Read More »
 Double the Yield, Double the Harvest: Zanzibar Improves Rice Production Using Nuclear Techniques   Double the Yield, Double the Harvest: Zanzibar Improves Rice Production Using Nuclear Techniques(Photo Essay). Read More »
 Nuclear Technology Helps to Develop Heat-Tolerant Tomato Varieties in Mauritius   Nuclear Technology Helps to Develop Heat-Tolerant Tomato Varieties in Mauritius. Faced with global warming temperatures, the Indian Ocean country of Mauritius turned to nuclear technology to develop new tomato varieties that can thrive. Read More »
 World Environment Day 2020: How the IAEA Contributes to Soil, Plant and Animal Biodiversity  Drought Tolerant Crops: IAEA and FAO Help Zambia Improve Production and Farmers' Income. This year’s World Environment Day celebrates biodiversity – which includes the diversity within species, between species and the capacity of ecosystems to create diversity. Read More »
 Drought Tolerant Crops: IAEA and FAO Help Zambia Improve Production and Farmers' Income  World Environment Day 2020: How the IAEA Contributes to Soil, Plant and Animal Biodiversity Two new varieties of cowpea, a major source of protein in Zambia, are being released to offer significantly improved yields and quality to farmers and the community at large. Read More »
 Malaysia's Nuclear Agency and Partners Bring Improved Rice Variety to Country’s Farmers Malaysia's Nuclear Agency and Partners Bring Improved Rice Variety to Country’s Farmers. Over the past few months, Malaysia’s nuclear agency, Nuclear Malaysia, has been multiplying seeds of a high-yielding rice variety developed through nuclear techniques. Read More »
 IAEA and FAO Help Zanzibar Grow More Rice IAEA and FAO Help Zanzibar Grow More Rice. Cheju, Zanzibar – With one of the fastest growing populations in Africa and a surge in tourism, Zanzibar needs more rice, and its farmers and authorities are turning to nuclear techniques for help. Read More »
Fighting Two Major Cassava Diseases in Burundi with Nuclear Technology  Fighting Two Major Cassava Diseases in Burundi with Nuclear Technology. When Burundian cassava farmers split open the plant’s starchy root, they’re hoping to find white flesh that resembles coconut meat. Read More »
Climate-Proof Crops: Capacity Building to Develop Resilient Crop Varieties in Small Island Developing States  Climate-Proof Crops: Capacity Building to Develop Resilient Crop Varieties in Small Island Developing States. Climate change poses increasing risks to the entire global community, but its impact is particularly pronounced in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), whose isolation, smaller geographic size and direct exposure to sea-level rise and storm surges have exacerbated the effects of a changing climate. Read More »
Ethiopian Plant Breeders Turn to a Nuclear Technique to Help Teff Farmers Adapt to Climate Change Ethiopian Plant Breeders Turn to a Nuclear Technique to Help Teff Farmers Adapt to Climate Change. Bishoftu, Ethiopia – Teff may be an emerging superfood in the global arena – but this Ethiopian cereal crop may not be ‘super’ enough to withstand the consequences of climate change: less rain and strong winds. Read More »
From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »
IAEA, FAO Help Develop Bananas Resistant to Major Fungal Disease IAEA, FAO Help Develop Bananas Resistant to Major Fungal Disease. Bananas may be the world’s favourite fruit, but plantations worldwide are increasingly under threat from a new fungus, which destroys banana plants threatening farmers’ livelihoods and the industry. Read More »
Nuclear Techniques Help Develop New Sorghum Lines Resistant to the Parasitic Weed Striga Nuclear Techniques Help Develop New Sorghum Lines Resistant to the Parasitic Weed Striga. Farmers in Africa will soon benefit from new sorghum varieties resistant to Striga — also known as witchweed — one of the most devasting parasitic weeds that impact crop yields on the continent. Read More »
Accelerating Growth: IAEA Launches Plant Mutation Breeding Network for Asia and the Pacific Accelerating Growth: IAEA Launches Plant Mutation Breeding Network for Asia and the Pacific. With populations growing rapidly, particularly in Asia and the Pacific, farmers and scientists are all the more drawing on the benefits of using irradiation to develop new crop varieties and meet farmers’ needs: higher, stable yields and high-quality plants that can resist disease and climate change. Read More »
From Lab to Field: Indonesian Scientists Develop New Crops for Farmers Using Nuclear Science From Lab to Field: Indonesian Scientists Develop New Crops for Farmers Using Nuclear Science. Farmers in Indonesia have over the last few years grown enough rice for more than 20 million people using plants developed through the country’s plant mutation breeding programme. Read More »
How Nuclear Techniques Help Feed China How Nuclear Techniques Help Feed China. Beijing, China – With 19% of the world’s population but only 7% of its arable land, China is in a bind: how to feed its growing and increasingly affluent population while protecting its natural resources. Read More »
Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia. Farmers in Namibia now have new crop varieties of cowpea and sorghum that are more tolerant to drought and pests planted this year, thanks to nuclear technology provided with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
New CRP: Enhanced Biotic-stress Tolerance of Pulses Towards Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems for Climate-change Adaptation (D22006)  New CRP: Enhanced Biotic-stress Tolerance of Pulses Towards Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems for Climate-change Adaptation (D22006). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is announcing a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on biotic-stress tolerance in chickpea, cowpea and lentil, with a time frame of five years during 2019-2023. Read More »
NEW CRP: Disease Resistance in Rice and Wheat for Better Adaptation to Climate Change (D23032) NEW CRP: Disease Resistance in Rice and Wheat for Better Adaptation to Climate Change (D23032). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is announcing a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on disease resistance in rice and wheat with a time frame of four years. Read More »
'IAEA Director General Visits Indonesia: Highlights Close Cooperation in Using Nuclear Technology  IAEA Director General Visits Indonesia: Highlights Close Cooperation in Using Nuclear Technology. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano praised the cooperation between Indonesia and the IAEA in bringing the benefits of nuclear technology to countries in Asia and Africa, during his visit to the country earlier this week. Read More »
'Nuclear Package' Helps Farmers Increase Rice Yields and Income in Northern Malaysia  'Nuclear Package' Helps Farmers Increase Rice Yields and Income in Northern Malaysia. An integrated approach that includes a new rice variety, biofertilizer and plant growth promoter has made all the difference to rice farmer, Muhammad Helmi Mohd Noor and his neighbours in this northern Malaysian village. Read More »
Sweet Success with Nuclear: Malaysian Farmers to Grow Natural Sugar Substitute Sweet Success with Nuclear: Malaysian Farmers to Grow Natural Sugar Substitute. Farmers in rural communities in East Malaysia will be able to grow a cash crop starting next year – thanks to nuclear science. Read More »
Fighting Climate Change, Doubling Incomes: Rice Variety Developed with Nuclear Techniques Expands in Indonesia Fighting Climate Change, Doubling Incomes: Rice Variety Developed with Nuclear Techniques Expands in Indonesia. Stocky, strong and quick to ripen – that is how Indonesian farmers like their rice, and that is exactly what nuclear science has delivered to them. Read More »
Indonesia Selects Nuclear-bred Soybean Variety for Mass Production Indonesia Selects Nuclear-bred Soybean Variety for Mass Production . Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture last month selected an improved soybean variety developed using nuclear techniques as the basis for its national self-sufficiency plan, which aims to increase food security in the country. Read More »
New IAEA Collaborating Centre to Advance Plant Mutation Breeding for Climate Change Resilience New IAEA Collaborating Centre to Advance Plant Mutation Breeding for Climate Change Resilience. A new agreement was signed between Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) and the IAEA, designating the Center for Isotopes and Radiation Application (CIRA, BATAN) as an IAEA Collaborating Centre. Read More »
Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology. After years of insecurity and internal strife, authorities and scientists from the Central African Republic are again turning to nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for development. From increasing soil fertility to developing improved plant varieties and understanding their water resources, they are now picking up speed. Read More »
Bangladesh Plant Breeding Programme Adds Variety to the Seasonal Planting Calendar Bangladesh Plant Breeding Programme Adds Variety to the Seasonal Planting Calendar. The plant breeding programme of Bangladesh includes not only rice, still the country’s main crop, but a large variety of other crops that enable farmers to plant and harvest new crop varieties with synchronised maturation and growing seasons. This ability to plant a diversity of crops helps sustain local agricultural production and food security and represents billions of US dollars to the national economy. Read More »
Bangladesh Triples Rice Production with Help of Nuclear Science Bangladesh Triples Rice Production with Help of Nuclear Science.
Mymensingh, Bangladesh — New varieties of rice made using nuclear techniques have helped Bangladesh increase its rice production three-fold in the last few decades. This in turn has enabled the country to stay one step ahead of its rapid population growth. Today there is a secure and steady supply of rice in Bangladesh, and the country is shifting from being an importer to an exporter of rice. Read More »
Cuban rice variety stays popular in Cuba’s fields and cuisine after almost 20 years Cuban rice variety stays popular in Cuba’s fields and cuisine after almost 20 years. Cuban cooking represents a blend of many cuisines, including Spanish, African, Caribbean and Native American, with one ingredient connecting them all – rice. Rice is the central ingredient of so many dishes that per capita rice consumption is as high as 60 kg a year. To meet this demand, Cuba introduced the high-yielding INCA LP-7 mutant variety in 1997. It thrives in the Cuban climate, is tolerant to salinity and resists the panicle rice mites that plague Cuba’s rice fields. Read More »

Previous Highlights