Recent years have witnessed an explosion of molecular genetic techniques and approaches that have enabled large gains in basic and applied plant genetics. These techniques span the realm of genetic transformation, which is the non-sexual introduction of new genes in plants, to DNA-market-assisted genetic studies. DNA markers, in particular, have allowed previously intractable problems, such as genetics of polypoinds and phylogenetics and evolution of crops, to be studied in detail. DNA markers are also largely responsible for bridging qualitative, quantitative and developmental genetics, thereby providing a rich, multidisciplinary environment for plant biology. The application of DNA markers and plant transformation technologies have serious socio-economic implications for world agriculture, especially in the developing world. The chapters in this volume provide not only an update of state-of-the-art techniques in many areas of plant genetics, but also look into the future by defining current bottlenecks and research goals. Special attention has been given to DNA markers and their applications, and a section on social and economic implications integrates laboratory science with the socio-economic realities in which they occur.
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