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Throughout history, seeds have been critical to the survival of plants and animals. And for centuries scientists have worked to create new kinds of seeds that would deliver higher-yielding varieties with better agronomic traits, disease resistance, and stress tolerance. During the last 30 years alone, the use of new technologies has led to a 50% increase in productivity of the major agricultural crops.
Today, biotechnology-the application of advanced genetics and molecular biology to crop improvement-is at the forefront of innovation in plant breeding. Using cutting-edge tools such as genetic engineering, marker-assisted selection, and germplasm, the industry has been effective in developing seeds that have led to a wealth of safe and positive results:
Seed companies devote significant time and resources to innovation. In 2007 alone, the industry spent nearly $3 billion on Research & Development. Going forward, challenges include developing: