Bioscience in brief
Plant genetics and crop breeding
What is hybridisation?
Hybridisation is a central process in plant breeding. There are two main classes of hybrids: interspecific hybrids and intraspecific or F1 hybrids
Interspecific hybrids are produced by crossing individuals of different species. The offspring of an interspecific cross are very often sterile. An example of an interspecific cross is the New Rice for Africa (NERICA).
In West Africa two rice species co-exist: African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian rice (Oryza sativa). Many of the Asian rice varieties grown in Africa are highly susceptible to insect pests, diseases, weeds and toxic soils. NERICA was developed by crossing Asian and African rice varieties to find stable and fertile breeds that would combine the yields of Asia’s plants and the toughness of Africa’s.