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Emerging Maize Biotechnologies and their Potential Impact

Listed author(s):
  • W. Burt Sundquist

Between 1955 and 1985 world maize production almost doubled. With little new land available, future growth in world production must come from higher yields and, hence, from new technologies. This paper describes some of the emerging maize biotechnologies, outlines progress made in R & D and discusses their possible impact on maize production. At present, the new biotechnologies are directed more towards quality enhancement (modification of starch, protein or oil content) and towards endowing plants with particular properties (herbicide tolerance, resistance to pests or adverse weather conditions) than towards increasing yields per se. They offer hope for reduced environmental stress through reduced levels of application of agricultural chemicals. Like earlier technologies, however, most new biotechnologies will be incorporated in seeds and will therefore complement and continue to depend on, traditional plant breeding. A new maize research and technology development system is ... Entre 1955 et 1985, la production mondiale de maïs a presque doublé. Compte tenu de la rareté des nouvelles terres disponibles, seule une augmentation des rendements permettra dans l'avenir un accroissement de la production mondiale, ce qui implique la mise en oeuvre de nouvelles technologies. Le présent document décrit quelques-unes des applications les plus récentes de la biotechnologie au maïs, indique les progrès réalisés dans le domaine de la R-D et examine leur incidence possible sur ce type de production. A l'heure actuelle, les nouvelles techniques biologiques visent davantage à améliorer la qualité (modification de la teneur en amidon, en protéines ou en huile) et à doter les plantes de propriétés spécifiques (tolérance aux herbicides, résistance aux parasites ou aux conditions météorologiques défavorables) qu'à augmenter les rendements proprement dits. Ces techniques offrent l'espoir de réduire les contraintes qui s'exercent sur l'environnement en abalssant les taux ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 8.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 1989
Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:8-en
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