The Journal of Agricultural Science

Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures

Crop biotechnology: prospects and opportunities

J. M. DUNWELLa1 c1

a1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK


This paper is a brief review summarizing some of the important areas of activity in crop biotechnology likely to be exploited over the medium term (10–20 years), with an emphasis on agronomic traits. It provides details on various approaches to improving the tolerance of crops to abiotic and to biotic stresses. Additionally, it describes recent advances in understanding the factors that affect the intrinsic performance of plants, for example, in terms of their photosynthetic efficiency and their genetic composition. The review also provides a short selection of recently granted patents and patent applications, as this information often identifies those subjects that might be commercially exploited over this period. Finally, it provides a summary of the various predictions of the commercial development pipeline based upon a range of transgenes in major crop species.

(Received September 20 2010)

(Accepted September 20 2010)

(Online publication November 25 2010)


c1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: