THE technique employed by plant breeders has undergone revolutionary changes since the first workers began the production of new and improved varieties. The methods of the selectionists, such as Luther Burbank, were certainly spectacular, but they were laborious, expensive and haphazard. Mendelism marked a great step forward, in that it was possible to work along preconceived lines in an orderly and economical manner with a fair idea of what was likely to materialize. There is no doubt, however, that Mendelian methods have taken us as far as they can, at least in respect of our commonest crop plants. We have exhausted all possible combinations of known characters and have reached a point where, as Salaman has declared, we are simply ‘ringing the changes’ on existing material. A point has been reached where the hybridizer can only wait for some new mutation to turn up.
About this article
Cite this article
BATES, G. Polyploidy Induced by Colchicine and its Economic Possibilities. Nature 144, 315–316 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/144315a0