Plant hybrid vigor
Chen, Z. Jeffrey Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
- What is hybrid vigor?
- Why do hybrids and allopolyploids show vigor?
- Can hybrid vigor be fixed?
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The continued growth in the world population constantly increases the demand for food, feed, fiber, and fuel, which requires increased levels of growth and productivity of crops and plants. To increase plant productivity, a common agricultural practice is the use of hybrids. Indeed, many crops, such as maize and sorghum, are grown as hybrids, and most crops, including wheat and cotton, are allopolyploids (hybrids formed between species followed by chromosome doubling). Hybrids also occur in animals. As examples, a mule is a hybrid between a horse and a donkey, and many farm and aquatic animals, including chicken, fish, and mussels, are raised as hybrids. The use of hybrid vigor or heterosis in maize (corn, Zea mays) has revolutionized plant breeding and production. Since the introduction of hybrid corn in the early 1920s, the yield of corn production in the United States has steadily increased sixfold. To date, about 99% of the corn in the United States is grown from hybrid seed. The same is true for many other crops and vegetables. Thus, what is hybrid vigor? Why do hybrids grow vigorously and produce larger and more fruits?
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