Alongside field-based techniques, “speed breeding” can be used by researchers to improve the understanding of crop genetics overall. The technology still allows for scientists to study plant characteristics such as pathogen interactions, shape and structure as well as flowering time.

“Speed breeding as a platform can be combined with lots of other technologies such as CRISPR gene editing to get to the end result faster,” Lee Hickey, author and plant science researcher at the University of Queensland, says, referencing the genome-editing technology.

As the world population continues to grow, techniques like this will help to improve food security, according to Wulff. The United Nations June 2017 update anticipates the world population will grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050. That’s around 2 billion more mouths to feed.

“Food security is a really, really important issue—not to be underestimated,” Wulff says. “We need every tool in the toolbox to come up with solutions to solve food security.” Without several techniques and tools to work on the issue, Wulff says: “It would be like fighting this issue with one hand tied behind the back.”

Source: Newsweek