Review: 5Gs for crop genetic improvement (Current Opinion in Plant Biology)
It is well known that increasing population, unpredictable global climatic changes, water scarcity and resistant pathogens are tough challenges to food security. In order to ensure food for everyone in both present and future, several crop improvement efforts are being carried out. For accelerating these programmes, Varshney et al. has proposed a 5G breeding strategy. Till now, we were aware of Gs - different generations of cellular network like 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. But in this article, 5Gs stand for Genome assembly, Germplasm characterisation, Gene function identification, Genomic breeding and Gene Editing. In order to increase the productivity of a given crop (say Miss X), the genome of Miss X can be decoded, the complete germplasm of Miss X can be characterised, molecular mechanisms behind various traits (such as disease resistance) affecting Miss X can be delineated to identify important genes and markers. These genes/markers can be either deployed in genomics assisted breeding or gene editing technologies to finally improve Miss X. Though different components of this 5G breeding strategy are already in practise in different parts of the world, a whole integrated approach is still missing. Varshney et al. emphasises that an approach like 5G if executed properly, has the potential to increase genetic gains of any crop in both developed and developing countries. (Summary by Vanika Garg) Curr Opin Plan Biol. 10.1016/j.pbi.2019.12.004.