Are we ready for back-to-nature crop breeding?

Michael G. Palmgren*, Anna Kristina Edenbrandt, Suzanne Elizabeth Vedel, Martin Marchman Andersen, Xavier Landes, Jeppe Thulin Østerberg, Janus Falhof, Lene Irene Olsen, Søren Brøgger Christensen, Peter Sandøe, Christian Gamborg, Klemens Kappel, Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, Peter Pagh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


Sustainable agriculture in response to increasing demands for food depends on development of high-yielding crops with high nutritional value that require minimal intervention during growth. To date, the focus has been on changing plants by introducing genes that impart new properties, which the plants and their ancestors never possessed. By contrast, we suggest another potentially beneficial and perhaps less controversial strategy that modern plant biotechnology may adopt. This approach, which broadens earlier approaches to reverse breeding, aims to furnish crops with lost properties that their ancestors once possessed in order to tolerate adverse environmental conditions. What molecular techniques are available for implementing such rewilding? Are the strategies legally, socially, economically, and ethically feasible? These are the questions addressed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)155-164
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Reverse breeding
  • Rewilding
  • Sustainable agriculture


Dive into the research topics of 'Are we ready for back-to-nature crop breeding?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this