Speed breeding in growth chambers and glasshouses for crop breeding and model plant research

Sreya Ghosh, Amy Watson, Oscar E. Gonzalez-Navarro, Ricardo H. Ramirez-Gonzalez, Luis Yanes, Marcela Mendoza-Suárez, James Simmonds, Rachel Wells, Tracey Rayner, Phon Green, Amber Hafeez, Sadiye Hayta, Rachel E. Melton, Andrew Steed, Abhimanyu Sarkar, Jeremy Carter, Lionel Perkins, John Lord, Mark A. Tester, Anne OsbournMatthew J. Moscou, Paul Nicholson, Wendy Harwood, Cathie Martin, Claire Domoney, Cristobal Uauy, Brittany Hazard, Brande B. H. Wulff, Lee T. Hickey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations


‘Speed breeding’ (SB) shortens the breeding cycle and accelerates crop research through rapid generation advancement. SB can be carried out in numerous ways, one of which involves extending the duration of plants’ daily exposure to light, combined with early seed harvest, to cycle quickly from seed to seed, thereby reducing the generation times for some long-day (LD) or day-neutral crops. In this protocol, we present glasshouse and growth chamber–based SB approaches with supporting data from experimentation with several crops. We describe the conditions that promote the rapid growth of bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, oat, various Brassica species, chickpea, pea, grass pea, quinoa and Brachypodium distachyon. Points of flexibility within the protocols are highlighted, including how plant density can be increased to efficiently scale up plant numbers for single-seed descent (SSD). In addition, instructions are provided on how to perform SB on a small scale in a benchtop growth cabinet, enabling optimization of parameters at a low cost.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2944-2963
Number of pages20
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 16 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the support of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) strategic programmes Designing Future Wheat (BB/P016855/1), Molecules from Nature (BB/P012523/1), Understanding and Exploiting Plant and Microbial Metabolism (BB/J004561/1), Food and Health (BB/J004545/1) and Food Innovation and Health (BB/R012512/1), and also support from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Development of the benchtop cabinet was supported by an OpenPlant Fund grant from the joint Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and BBSRC-funded OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre grant BB/L014130/1. S.G. was supported by a Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship and the 2Blades Foundation, A.Sarkar by the BBSRC Detox Grasspea project (BB/L011719/1) and the John Innes Foundation, A.W. by an Australian Post-graduate Award and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Industry Top-up Scholarship (project code GRS11008), M.M.-S. by CONACYT-I2T2 Nuevo León (grant code 266954/399852), and L.T.H. by an Australian Research Council Early Career Discovery Research Award (project code DE170101296). We acknowledge M. Grantham and D. Napier from Heliospectra for their help in the choice of LED lights; L. Hernan and C. Ramírez from Newcastle University for their support and advice in the design of the benchtop cabinet; C. Moreau from the John Innes Centre and J. Ghosh from the University of Bedfordshire for help with the pea and grass pea experiments, respectively; and the JIC and UQ horticulture services for plant husbandry and their support in scaling up SB in glasshouses.


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