• Preparation of a DNA sample in the laboratory
    Breeding Methods

Plant breeding and research methods

Since its foundation over 160 years ago, KWS’s success has been based on innovative plant breeding methods in order to keep providing farmers with continuously improved seeds for increasingly productive varieties. To do this, KWS uses a wide and constantly updated range of breeding techniques. Targeted manipulation of the genetic material of plants by cross-breeding selected parent plants with subsequent offspring selection started in the 19th century. Since then, methods have been continuously expanded and refined: Methods such as genome analysis, cell culture, hybrid breeding, biotechnology and bioinformatics were added.

Thanks to these advancements, we increasingly find out more about the characteristics of plants and their genetic principles. All in all, these tools provide us with more information about plants and allow breeders to make faster decisions. They can respond more quickly to challenges such as climate change or new pathogens and provide farmers with optimally adapted varieties.

Our daily experience as a plant breeder shows us that our breeders need all currently applied methods to achieve targeted, ever faster and more efficient breeding. This is also the case because KWS is active in around 70 countries and competes with other seed suppliers in many markets. It is therefore essential for plant breeders and hence also for KWS and their international competitive power that they can freely choose their goals and the tools that would be best suited to achieve those goals. The crucial factor in all of this is which improved characteristics a new variety displays - not which methods were used to breed this variety.

An overview of our breeding methods

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Stephan Krings
Head of Global Marketing and Communications
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