5 Important steps that a plant breeder have to undertake in developing a new genetic variety of plant are as follows:
Image Source: ontariobeans.on.ca
1. Germ plasm collection:
The plant breeder has to develop a collection of all varieties of the crop. i.e. wild, species and relatives. This is done for exploitation of natural genes available in the population.
2. Evaluation and selection of parents:
The germplasm is evaluated and plants are identified for the desirable combination of characters. The selected plants are multiplied for creating pure lines of the crops.
3. Cross hybridization:
This step involves the production of hybrids by cross hybridization/breeding. The hybrid progeny will have the desirable traits of both parents crossed.
It is not an easy and one step go as it is not necessary that the hybrid progeny can be produced; as its probability is 1 /100 or 1 /1000 crosses (one hybrid may developed in 100/1000 crosses clones.)
4. Selection and testing of superior recombinants:
The selection of desirable hybrids is done from the hybrids available. Sometimes many hybrids are produced.
Then they have to be tested for several generations for developing uniformity by self pollination so that the desired traits do not separate.
5. Testing, release and commercialization of new cultivars:
The new selected lines are evaluated for the yield, agronomic traits etc. in research fields under ideal condition of requirements.
Then they are cultivated for 3 seasons in a farmer’s field in various agroclimatic zones where the crop is usually grown and comparative evaluation is done.