Shaping our food - an overview of crop and livestock breeding

Last changed: 31 August 2016

You may not have thought about why tomatoes look the way they do, why our pets and farm animals are so calm and friendly, or how it is possible to get a watermelon without any seeds in it. Although the breeding of plants and livestock have shaped more or less everything we eat, few people know about the scientific achievements and the tedious work that results in the food we see on our plates every day.

With this book we wish to give an overview of the background of domestication and breeding, from the beginning of farming more than 10,000 years ago to the molecular work of today. We present the basics of the structures and functions of genes, describe why and how different breeding methods are applied to crops and livestock, and give some insight into legislation surrounding the use of biotechnology in breeding in the EU and in Sweden. We also provide an overview of different products produced through genetic modification, a summary of the economic impact of such crops, and some ethical issues related to breeding in general and to genetic modification in particular.

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Swedish version: Framtidens mat - om husdjursavel och växtförädling

Order printed copy (note: only on in Swedish)     

This book is published within the Mistra Biotech research programme that is financed by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research(Mistra) and the Swedish University of AgriculturalSciences (SLU). 


Editor: Anna Lehrman

Authors: Anna Lehrman, Sevasti Chatzopoulou, Li Feng, Flavio Forabosco, Elisabeth Jonas, Konstantinos Karantininis, Fredrik Levander, Alessandro Nicolia, Lotta Rydhmer, Helena Röcklinsberg, Per Sandin, Jens Sundström, and Li-Hua Zhu

Layout: Viktor Wrange Design

Illustrations: Fredrik Saarkoppel, Kobolt Media AB


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