Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) Senior
Research Fellow Dr. Lee Hickey said that plant speed breeding could be part
of the solution to minimize the devastating effects of drought and climate
Change on crops in the future. He added that the technique can enable
researchers and plant breeders to deliver more tolerant varieties of crops
to farmers sooner.
Dr. Hickey said it can take up to 20 years to develop an improved variety.
Speed breeding can slash this time because it allows for growing up to six
plant generations in a year, instead of just one. Speed breeding works for
crops such as wheat, barley, chickpea, and canola, and uses specially
modified glasshouses fitted with LED lighting to grow plants under extended
photoperiods - accelerating crop research and the development of more robust
plant varieties through rapid crossbreeding and generation advance.
With scientists from the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom, Dr.
Hickey's group has taken the next step and developed the protocols to
scale-up speed breeding to large glasshouse facilities as well as
instructions on how to build your own low-cost speed breeding cabinet.