Physiology and modelling of traits in crop plants: implications for genetic improvements

K.J. Boote, M.J. Kropff, P.S. Bindraban

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130 Citations (Scopus)


Crop growth models have excellent potential-for evaluating genetic improvement, for analyzing past genetic improvement from experimental data, and for proposing plant ideotypes for target environments. Crop models used for these plant breeding applications should be sufficiently mechanistic that processes can be investigated in a manner familiar to crop physiologists and plant breeders. In addition, the crop models must consider a sufficient number of cultivar-specific traits descriptive of life cycle phases, vegetative traits, and reproductive growth attributes. In this paper, we discuss how crop models consider genetic variability within a species (cultivar variation), how varietal characteristics can be determined from variety trial or other data, how crop models can be used to evaluate past genetic improvement, and how crop models can be used to hypothesize ideotypes for specific environments. We conclude that crop growth models can partially reproduce genotype by environment interactions when considered across broad ranges of weather and sites, and that crop models can be used to help plant breeders target cultivar improvement for specific environments. However, more physiological insight into primary processes such as source-sink relationships and morphological development will be needed for enhanced application of the models in breeding programmes. ? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-420
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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