From Agronomists of the
Potash & Phosphate Institute
655 Engineering Drive, Suite 110
Norcross, Georgia 30092-2837
Phone (770) 447-0335

Fall 1997, No. 4


The tools of genetic engineering and molecular biology are modifying the abilities of plants at a pace many times faster than with traditional plant breeding. As in the Human Genome Project, plant genome research is underway to construct a complete map of the DNA of wheat and rice, and soon will begin on corn. Genetic engineering is being put to use to produce a wide variety of new plant cultivars... The market is witnessing the introduction of many new types of the old species of crops. In the first types, the changes are small, with resistance to a specific disease, pest or herbicide. Soon, we can expect cloned genes for yield, stress tolerance, and nutritional quality.

How will nutrient management for genetically altered plants differ from what we are practicing today? The answer will depend, of course, on the specific changes in crop cultivars. But there are a few unchanging principles to keep in mind.

Sunlight, water and nutrients remain the major factors limiting crop yields. Genetic engineering will improve the ability of plants to utilize all three, for higher and more stable yields of better quality products. Transgenic crops will need as much nurturing as traditional ones, if not more.

--- TWB ---

For more information, contact Dr. Tom W. Bruulsema, Director, Eastern Canada and Northeast U.S. PPI, 18 Maplewood Drive, Guelph, Ontario N1G 1L8, Canada. Phone (519) 821-5519. E-mail:
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