Plant hybridization: what it is, characteristics and importance


For the reproduction of plants there are different methods based on the principles of genetics. One of these methods is hybridization. It is about plant improvement that applies the principles of genetics to be able to produce horticultural varieties that have more desirable characteristics for crops. There are several methods for the production of new and better varieties that have to do with hybridization.

In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about hybridization, how it is carried out and what is its importance.

What is hybridization

variety of plants

variety of plants

It is a type of plant improvement that applies the principles of genetics to be able to produce varieties that have more desirable characteristics. Among these characteristics we have a greater resistance to the typical diseases that exist in crops. Better nutritional values, more pleasant and intense flavors and higher yields are also achieved in the development of crops. It can be said that you are trying to find crops whose characteristics are much better and the yield is much higher.

In order to carry out the production processes of the new and better varieties, there are several ways: selection, hybridization and exploitation of mutations. There are various mutations that occur naturally and spontaneously in crops and present characteristics superior to normal specimens. Once it has been confirmed that these mutations are more efficient, they are used to multiply.

Thanks to Mendel’s laws, it is known in hereditary laws and can be improved by hybridization.

Importance of natural selection

natural selection

natural selection

We know that natural selection, whether animal or plant, is nothing more than a process of genetic improvement that nature carries out over many generations. And there are various processes and adaptations to environmental circumstances that make plants have to evolve and mutate in order to survive and multiply. The principle of natural selection was denounced by Charles Darwin in 1859 through the theory of the evolution of species. In this theory it is said that living beings as a result of the struggle for survival and existence give rise to adaptations.

It is the struggle of living beings for existence that gives rise to the survival of the fittest. The most acts are those that have characteristics that make them survive more comfortable. These characteristics are transmitted to the descendants, since there is more probability of survival. In this way, the following generations obtain genetic improvements to be able to face life in more favorable conditions.

With these principles hybridization is achieved. It is a process by which the most optimal capacities are selected to have a better performance. This is how much more optimal crops with better characteristics are harvested. To carry out hybridization Horticultural varieties that have characteristics of adaptation to various adverse conditions are chosen. These are selected for having a greater resistance. These plants look nothing like the future hybrid that is to be produced and subsequently. The human being has managed to access the process of improvement and natural selection through what is known as artificial selection. An attempt is made to explain the results in the direction of one’s own benefit for the human being. That is, to get those plants that have a greater characteristic to be able to survive in adverse conditions.

In this way, it is easier to obtain crops that have high resistance to pests and diseases, tolerance of low temperatures, that can withstand long periods of drought, that need less nutrients, etc. With all these characteristics, costs are reduced and production improved. Not only are better specimens obtained, but an increase in production and cost reduction. By producing more optimal specimens that require fewer requirements, maintenance and production costs are reduced.

In artificial selection, the parent individuals whose phenotype is more favorable are chosen. Within the same species, there are individuals that present a wide genetic variability that is inherited from their parents.

Hybridization methods

plant hybridization

plant hybridization

The improvement process manages to select those crops that have the most desirable character is the highest possible degree. Those with a lower grade are also discarded to repeat the operation for several generations. After several generations, the desired improvement expectations are reached.

Hybridization consists of fertilizing two individuals that have a different genetic makeup. That is, we start to cross two different varieties or species to be able to reproduce in the offspring. Some of the parental characters that you want to achieve are those that are investigated. Other unwanted traits are derived from the combination of parental generic traits. Therefore, when the liquidation process is carried out, it is necessary to carry out other artificial selection processes. This artificial selection process is repeated over several generations in order to eliminate all plants that have traits that are unfavorable for production and those in which only the desired characters predominate.

As a general rule, hybrids are those with greater vigor than parentals. The phenomenon of hybridization has been exploited in large-scale production, especially in the cultivation of cereals. It also has great economic importance in crops such as corn, although it is also noticeable in some ornamental plants and different varieties of vegetables.

Obtaining horticultural varieties

When you have hybrid crops whose characters are desired to optimize performance, they are usually reproduced by asexual methods. If we reproduce the crops through a sexual method, we will be guaranteeing that the daughter cultures of the next generation are identical to the parents. If we make crosses with sexual reproduction, we will be putting at stake that the next generation does not have the same desired characters and some unfavorable characters are introduced.

Backcrossing is a hybridization technique that allows adding to an already existing and desired variety a useful trait from one of the parents. It is usually a widely used technique for species that are cultivated with a character of resistance to fungal and insect diseases.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about hybridization and its characteristics.

Plant hybridization: what it is, characteristics and importance

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