Concepts and strategies of organic plant breeding in light of novel breeding techniques

Edwin Nuijten*, Monika M. Messmer, Edith Lammerts van Bueren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we describe the development of a set of guiding principles for the evaluation of breeding techniques by the organic sector over time. The worldwide standards of organic agriculture (OA) do not allow genetic engineering (GE) or any products derived from genetic engineering. The standards in OA are an expression of the underlying principles of health, ecology, fairness and care. The derived norms are process and not product oriented. As breeding is considered part of the process in agriculture, GE is not a neutral tool for the organic sector. The incompatibility between OA and GE is analyzed, including the "novel breeding techniques". Instead, alternative breeding approaches are pursued based on the norms and values of organic agriculture not only on the technical level but also on the social and organizational level by including other value chain players and consumers. The status and future perspectives of the alternative directions for organic breeding are described and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Alternative techniques
  • Future perspectives
  • Guiding principles
  • Organic farming
  • Plant breeding

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