Friday, 24th November 2017
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PLANT BREEDER

Plant breeders are special types of geneticists who carry out scientific research and special techniques to get the most out of plants and to improve their properties. Plant breeders try to enhance the traits of different types of plants and sometimes develop new varieties. They will work to develop useful traits and properties, such as drought tolerance, disease resistance or nutritional value.

The process of researching plant genetics and breeding plants is vital to a number of industries: agricultural industries require plant breeders to improve the traits of farm plants and crops, increasing the yields whilst maintaining the quality; pharmaceutical industries may also require specially-bred plants, depending on their beneficial properties. Whatever industry that plant breeders work for, they will have high levels of expertise and will understand the use of advanced technology.

The usual tasks of a plant breeder, working in research or commerce, may include:

  • Setting research aims and objectives
  • Planning projects and research proposals including budgets
  • Researching the methods and techniques required to carry out experiments
  • Identifying desirable traits and links with a plant’s genetic makeup
  • Interbreeding plants during laboratory, glasshouse or field trials
  • Analysing and interpreting data and results
  • Selecting the best varieties according to results
  • Reproducing the preferred plant
  • Publishing work and results in papers or presentations
  • Monitoring industry news and reports, keeping up-to-date with developments
  • Liaising with clients and other scientists

A plant breeder’s job continually develops along with the demand for news varieties of plants, as well as the shifts in agricultural and environmental policies. The processes can be long and intricate, meaning that each project can be particularly time-consuming and long-term.

There is great demand for research scientists and geneticists to go into the field of plant breeding, so gaining strong academic qualifications and good practical laboratory experience can result in excellent employment opportunities with a variety of employers.