DuPont is seeking bright minds with diverse capabilities to help improve the genetic potential of hybrids sold to customers. Corn breeding has been changing according to growers’ needs. Breeders now can rely on a team of experts in diverse technical fields to help develop hybrids.
Cooper cites four steps breeders require to develop improved hybrids.
1. Technology. Tools such as molecular markers help locate genes that improve yield or other traits. Experts also apply doubled haploid technology to incorporate those traits into genetic lines more quickly and confidently.
2. Seed production. Once they identify the genetic puzzle pieces, seed production experts develop inbreds that breeders use to produce commercially viable hybrids.
3. Testing. Breeders then deploy their considerable experience to test new hybrids. They design the plots and collect data that help determine which hybrids work in specific growing environments and which don’t make the grade.
4. Data analysis. Pioneer employs a corps of data-management experts who analyze the data, sifting valuable information from the irrelevant “noise.” Pioneer is applying increasingly advanced modeling programs to understand how genes convey traits to experimental lines. This helps Pioneer breeders better understand which genetic combinations are likely to produce improved hybrids.
Pioneer specialists can comb through masses of genetic information with advanced computing and modeling programs. “We’re continually refining the models,” Cooper says. “We combine the right data with the correct modeling programs to develop improved predictions.”
Pioneer conducts experiments across the globe to learn more about how corn hybrids perform in different growing environments. As they develop better products and understand where those new hybrids perform best, breeders are better positioned to support the Pioneer sales professionals who help customers place the right product on the right acre.
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