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Farmers have always been searching for the reddest apple, the juiciest peach or the sweetest corn.

In nature, pollen is transferred from one plant... By saving the seeds of plants with desirable traits and excluding undesirable ones...
to another...
often creating new traits or features. farmers have been naturally altering the genes of their crops for thousands of years.

These more desirable traits may be related to how the plant is grown...
drought tolerance
disease resistance
yield
...or what the plant offers.
brighter color
better taste
improved nutrition profile

TAKING NATURE A STEP FURTHER IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS TRADITIONAL PLANT BREEDING.

This creates new plant varieties by identifying the ideal traits naturally found in two or more plants of the same species, which is known as "crossing."

In the mid 1800s, Gregor Mendel, a scientist from Eastern Europe, established the rules of heredity that guide plant breeding. Though farmers had known for centuries that crossbreeding of animals or plants could favor certain desirable traits, Mendel's pea plant experiments conducted between 1856 and 1863 defined “dominant” and “recessive” genes and the roles they play in creating desirable traits.

Scientists captured key learnings from Mendel’s original experiments and found broader application for their use.

Think crossing cucumbers multiple times.

Selecting the cucumbers with the fewest number of seeds and crossing them again.

And again.

To produce a new cucumber with virtually no seeds.

Traditional breeding can be accelerated by using multiple test plots to observe the quality of production over the growing season to select the best growth habits with the desired qualities.

IN CONTRAST, IN GENETIC ENGINEERING, THE TRAITS TO BE BRED INTO THE PLANT ARE NOT NATIVE TO THE PLANT
(MEANING THEY ARE NOT FROM THE SAME SPECIES).

Genetic engineering can be used to help a plant be more productive and resistant to unwanted pests, such as corn earworms, leading to the reduction in pesticide usage. It can also provide agronomic, health and quality-related traits.

In the lab, the DNA of the original plant parent species ...is combined with select traits from another species. This allows researchers to introduce new traits that may not be possible with traditional breeding and do so quickly.

In the early 1990s, nutritionists were seeking more functional and healthier oils to replace hydrogenated fats. To enable the food industry to respond to this demand, Dow AgroSciences developed an oil with a superior fatty acid profile.

Because commodity canola already had the healthiest fatty acid profile of any field crop, Dow AgroSciences began working on creating a more functional profile for canola oil.

Researchers began by selecting canola parent plants with the most desirable oil profiles and then cross-pollenating between these parents.

Using this traditional plant breeding process, researchers spent more than a decade breeding and selecting canola varieties with a superior oil profile that gave natural stability, and higher levels of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

At the same time, test plots were used to select lines with the highest yield and adaptability to different field production environments that allow for the most efficient crop production.


The result: a new category of canola was developed and named “Omega-9 Oils.” Omega-9 refers to the “good” monounsaturated fats that were increased during the breeding process.


Today, both Non-GMO Omega-9 Oil hybrids (produced through traditional plant breeding) and those with additional agronomic traits (produced through genetic engineering) are available.

This gives growers the highest yields and the food industry a reliable supply chain.

Omega-9 Oils plant breeding and development continues — to provide additional traits and features to meet the demands of an evolving marketplace.

Explore which variety of Omega-9 Oils is right for your business