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Crop Biotech Update

New Software Allows Plant Breeders to Select Best Traits

July 24, 2019
Thomas Björkman, professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, studies broccoli in a field at Cornell AgriTech (Source: Cornell Chronicle)

A group of researchers from Cornell University, USA have developed a new software to standardize the criteria for evaluating broccoli plants, allowing breeders to effectively decide and select the best traits for their crops.

RateRvaR is a free and open-source software which can be used on any plant in addition to broccoli. Breeders can select the traits and assign several people to do a similar assessment. The software will then analyze the information to accurately identify the desired traits and focusing on those that can be objectively evaluated such as size or color. Through this tool, breeders can perform evaluations in multiple areas.

Zachary Stansell, one of the developers from the Cornell group, stated that on top of standardizing plant breeding evaluations to make them more efficient, the team also wanted to take the human subjectivity out of these evaluations, and correct individual biases. The technology likewise helped them determine priority traits so breeders can collect less data and still get accurate results.

For more information, read the news article in Cornell Chronicle.

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