Exhibition: 100 Years of Plant Breeding

Published on
December 18, 2012

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of plant breeding in Wageningen, there were several activities. As the closing event, the Wageningen UR Library and Wageningen UR Plant Breeding is organizing the exhibition ‘100 Years of Plant Breeding’ in the Forum Library.

From the start of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago, humans have gradually improved the quality and productivity of crops through intentional and unintentional selection. At the end of the 17th century, it became clear that plants reproduce through cross-pollination, during which pollen takes the role of the male seed. In 1865, the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel discovered that traits are inherited in predictable patterns. Initially, the importance of Mendel's discovery was not recognized, but around 1900, different scientists, including Hugo de Vries, saw the value of Mendel’s discovery and further developed his Laws of Inheritance into the independent field of genetics.

Since the discovery of genetics, scientific and applied plant breeding have boomed. Since 1912, Wageningen has played an important role in this development. In 1923, the Institute for Breeding of Agricultural Crops was founded. Both different members within the university as well as different research institutes (DLO) have enormously contributed to developing this internationally important industry and knowledge sector. Since 2005, Plant Breeding has been a collaboration between Wageningen University's Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Plant Research International’s business unit Biodiversity and Breeding. Using the breeding history of the potato, the historical development of this field is traced in the exhibition.

The exhibition closes on the Fascination of Plants Day on Saturday, 18 May 2013.

(newsletter 7-2012)