Seeds - the Delivery Advantage
Striking advances in classical genetics and plant molecular biology have opened the way for dramatic modification of crop plants for agricultural and consumer benefit. Crop protection from diseases, insects and weeds is being delivered through genetically modified seeds. Modification of seed and fruit qualities is creating improved products and enhancing crop value. The ability to transfer genes among species reinforces the importance of preserving all plant germplasm, the majority of which is stored as seeds. The term "biotechnology" is not limited to genetic engineering. Many types of "biological technology" must be integrated in order to deliver a high-value seed product to market. For most crops, the seed is the delivery system through which advances in plant genetics and biotechnology are transferred into agricultural production. To function effectively as a genetic delivery system, seeds require not only superior breeding, but also high physiological quality and vigor to establish a crop in the field under diverse environmental conditions. Increased demands on seed quality create new opportunities for enhancing seed performance, such as conditioning, priming, pelleting, coating, beneficial microorganisms, crop protection chemicals and planting technology. The increasing value of seeds as a multi-purpose delivery system for agricultural technology is reflected in the recent consolidations and capital investments in the life sciences and seed industries. The biology and the economics of agricultural biotechnology converge at the seed.