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Ceres, with our partners, has established major seed collections — called germplasm — for energy crops. This forms the basis of our crop improvement activities.
Traditionally, breeders developed new plant varieties by repeatedly crossing, growing and selecting the best performers within their germplasm collection. The age-old process is effective, but not efficient, predictable or timely.
Today, we are using marker-assisted breeding (MAB), which is much more efficient at many steps in this process. MAB utilizes molecular biology and information systems to "flag" important genetic sequences so that preferred forms can be readily detected without evaluating the plants themselves. This is especially useful when seeking to combine multiple traits into elite commercial lines.