How are new plant varieties of benefit to society?

Case Study: Plant Breeding in Rapeseed

The importance and scale of the contribution of plant breeding can be illustrated by the example of Rapeseed.

Originally, only the oil component of rapeseed provided a useful product, as a lubricant for steam engines. It was only when breeders started to work on the crop that it attained major importance for agriculture.

Firstly, breeders reduced the glucosinolate content so that the meal could be used for feeding animals. As a following step, breeding was employed to reduce the erucic acid content so that rapeseed could be used as a source of edible oil for human consumption.

More recently, efforts are continuing, and breeders are working to develop high oleic and low linoleic acid varieties with nutritional benefits for consumers.
-> Lubricant
-> Cattle Food Reduced Glucosinate content
-> Cooking Oil LEAR: Low Erucic Acid
-> Health Food HOLLI: High Oleic & Low Linoleic
Breeding advances for rapeseed use