Professional plant breeding

There were no professional plant breeders before 1900. Plant breeding was undertaken by farmers, and it was often a hobby undertaken by amateurs, even clergymen (who often had time on their hands). Mendel's laws of inheritance and single-gene characters, such as vertical resistance, were unknown, and all this breeding involved quantitative, many-gene characters and horizontal resistance. It was unscientific but effective.

During the whole of the twentieth century, the great majority of professional plant breeders were in love with Mendelian genetics, and single-gene characters. This tradition continues today with genetic engineering which, of necessity, can handle only single-gene characters. See also: Amateur plant breeders. Progenitor

In a plant breeding context, a progenitor is the wild ancestor of a crop species . Many crop species, such as maize and wheat, have been changed so much by domestication that their progenitors are difficult to identify. Many other progenitors became extinct because of hunter-gathering, while their domesticated cousins survived in the hands of farmers. Progeny

In a plant breeding context, a progeny is the offspring of a controlled cross-pollination.

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