What Has Been Neglected in the Green Revolution? Developing Crop Poly-Genotype Varieties for Improving (Intra-Variety) Genetic Diversity in Agriculture


Modern agriculture, based on the improved single-genotype crop varieties and the intensive and monocultural managements, has contributed tremendously to the world’s food supply. However, it is also challenged by stagnant yield growth, increasingly high input, mounting environmental pollution and pressing sustainability of development. In comparison, old agriculture of 100 years ago, based on the traditional multi-genotype landraces and low-input cultivation, prevailed thousands of years and still exists now in subsistence farming in marginal areas in spite of its low productivity. Crop multi-genotype breeding, which combines the advantages of both old and modern agriculture at the high level of productivity, will give us a promising strategy to break the predicament of modern agriculture. The concept, necessity, principle, technical tactics and characteristics of crop multi-genotype breeding are first elucidated in detail here. Two successful cases of application in rice and cotton are presented. Firstly, rice multi-genotype inbred varieties (colony variety) have commercialized using MAGIC lines. In cotton, a multi-genotype hybrid variety Jing-Mi 1 revealed superiority in seeded cotton and lint yields over the check variety in regional trial. Multigenotype variety could be maintained and recover the genetic diversity in production system. In their progenies of the MAGIC lines, most of them could be transmitted to the multi-genotype varieties, implying that the genetic diversity of agro-ecosystem could be effectively restored by crop multi-genotype varieties. We believe crop multi-genotype breeding will make a substantial contribution to restoring genetic diversity of agro-ecosystem, preventing the exacerbation of vulnerable environment and promoting the sustainable development of agriculture. We call for ever-increasing efforts to develop and apply the crop multi-genotype breeding in agriculture.

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Li, X. , Li, H. , Zou, Q. , Li, Z. , Wang, M. and Xu, C. (2014) What Has Been Neglected in the Green Revolution? Developing Crop Poly-Genotype Varieties for Improving (Intra-Variety) Genetic Diversity in Agriculture. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 394-410. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.47035.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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