Transfer of genes between plant species has played an important role in crop improvement for many decades. Useful traits such as resistance to disease, insects, and stress have been transferred to crop varieties from noncultivated plants. Recombinant DNA methods greatly extend (even outside the plant kingdom) the sources from which genetic information can be obtained for crop improvement. Gene transfer systems based on recombinant DNA are available for several crop species and are under development for others. The concerted use of traditional and more recent methods for plant genetic manipulation will contribute to crop improvement.
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