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Who invented hybrid crops?

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βˆ™ 2011-04-20 06:21:27

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Inventor of Hybrid Crops

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The first I recall of anyone breeding plants was Gregory Mendel. He was a monk who bred and developed different pea plant strains.

The scientific basis for today's amazing hybrid crops goes back more than 150 years, but it was not until the 1930s - just as the Depression was beginning - that hybrids came to the attention of Midwestern farmers. Corn was the first hybrid seed crop to be marketed extensively, and it is still the most important economic crop grown in the U.S. So, examining the breeding of corn gives us a good insight into the science of hybridization.

Charles Darwin began the hybrid revolution by proposing that species of plants and animals will change over time. The changes or mutations that helped a species survive were the traits in a species that were then more likely to be passed on to the next generation. Later on in the prehistoric period, man helped out in the process. That's what happened, for instance, when Native Americans picked out the best ears of maize or corn to plant the next year, thereby promoting the best qualities in the species.

In the 1860s, about the same time as Darwin, Gregor Mendel discovered he could cross breed different strains of pea plants and predict the traits of the offspring. He proposed that there was a genetic basis for inherited traits and demonstrated that he could control them. But his work languished until after the turn of the century. After his work was rediscovered, the science of plant breeding took off.

2011-04-20 06:21:27
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