Crop improvements can help us to meet the challenge of feeding a population of 10 billion, but can we breed better varieties fast enough? Technologies such as genotyping, marker-assisted selection, high-throughput phenotyping, genome editing, genomic selection and de novo domestication could be galvanized by using speed breeding to enable plant breeders to keep pace with a changing environment and ever-increasing human population.
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We thank V. Korzun and C. Uauy for feedback on an earlier draft of this manuscript, T. Draeger for discussions, and T. Florio (www.flozbox.com/Science.illustrated) for the artwork. B.W. was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council cross-institute strategic programme Designing Future Wheat (BB/P016855/1) and the 2Blades Foundation, M.T. by King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, L.T.H. by an Australian Research Council Early Career Discovery Research Award (DE170101296), C.G. by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31788103), and S.L.-B. by the Peanut Foundation.
H.R. is an employee of Intergrain, which produces and markets plant breeding materials.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
A brief history of breeding