Global impact of accelerated plant breeding: Evidence from a meta-analysis on rice breeding
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Rice breeders in Asia and elsewhere in the world have long overlooked trying to shorten the time it takes to develop new varieties. Plant breeders have proposed a technique called Rapid Generation Advance (RGA) as a way to accelerate the results of public rice breeding programs. However, little is known about RGA's potential impact. Here, we present the first results of a global impact study of RGA. More specifically, we calculated the multiplicator effects of RGA on the research benefits generated by conventional rice breeding programs and applied them to a meta-analysis of selected impact studies in the literature. These insights are a first crucial step in developing a targeted approach for disseminating RGA technology among rice breeders to accelerate the impact of their public rice breeding programs around the world. We show that the additional benefits due to time savings are considerable and offer some insights into the economics of breeding. Our results confirm that the adoption of accelerated breeding would lead to substantial advantages to rice breeding programs and the earlier variety release leads to significant economic benefits to society. This can be important to policy makers when reshaping their public breeding methods and optimising their return on research investments in breeding.
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