|Figure 10.1 Bees and
Ever since growers first selected seed for their next crop, they have
influenced the genetic make-up and potential of succeeding crops.
A basic understanding of plant breeding principles is useful if
horticulturists are to understand the potential and limits of what plant
cultivars can achieve, and so that they can make realistic requests to
the plant breeder for improved cultivars. Plant breeding now supplies
a wide range of plant types to meet growers’ specific needs. The plant
breeder’s skill relies on their knowledge of flower biology, cell biology
and genetics. Desirable plant characters such as yield, flower colour and
disease resistance are selected and incorporated by a variety of methods.
This chapter attempts to give a background to the principles used by
Plant breeding follows two scientific findings. Firstly, characteristics
of a species are commonly passed on from one generation to the next
). Secondly, sexual reproduction is also able to generate
different characteristics in the offspring (variation) . A plant breeder
relies on the principles of heredity to retain desirable characteristics in a
breeding programme, while new characteristics are introduced in several
ways to produce new cultivars.
The processes of pollination and fertilization are first discussed as they
are the plant processes that lead to the genetic make-up of the plant that