Genomics in our Agriculture Future

Kevin Smith1,

1The University of Melbourne, Private Bag 105, Hamilton, Vic 3300, kfsmith@unimelb.edu.au

 

Science is in the ‘Omics’ era and genomics in its broadest sense is already impacting on the way that plant and animal breeding is developing and delivering novel genetics on farm.  When people think of genetic modification or biotechnology they most commonly associate these terms with crops like soybean or corn where there has been large scale adoption of genetically modified cultivars.  However, whilst genomics includes these it goes much broader.  Knowledge of the genome sequence of individuals has enabled genomic selection and the publication of genomic breeding values that have routinely seen large increases in rates of genetic gain and the inclusion of novel traits in breeding programs. This paper will review how these technologies have revolutionised breeding programs in crop plants, forages and animals.  New technologies such as genome editing have the potential to achieve some of the outcomes that would otherwise have required genetic modification and without the associated regulatory burden.  The challenge is to package these technologies appropriately and demonstrate their value on-farm.

Key Words

Genomics, genetics, breeding, genomic selection, gene editing.

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Photography Credits

Tourism Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes, Ray Joyce, Health Holden, Graham Freeman, Joe Shemesh, Glenn Gibson, Hobart City Council, Nick Osborne, National Trust Tasmania, Dale Baldwin, Brian Dullaghan, Rob Burnett, Alistair Bett, Alice Bennett, Wai Nang Poon, Chris Crerar, Kathy Leahy, Flow Mountain Bike, Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, James Bowden, Masaaki Aihara, Sean Feennessy, Bruce Irwin, Liz Knox