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Wheat Grows Twice as Fast Under LEDs

The LED revolution continues to sweep across the horticultural industry by speeding up nature. "Speed-breeding" uses glass houses with LEDs dialed in to aid photosynthesis in wheat, while being illuminated for up to 22 hours per day. This scientific development has far-reaching implications for addressing world hunger. Through this breeding process, it is now possible to grow as many as six generations of wheat every year. Spped-breeding has increased wheat output by three times more than the current shuttle-breeding techniquies developed in the 1950s.

Critics pointed out that scientists may be able to cycle plants more quickly, but that they will look insignificant and small and will mot produce many seeds. Amazingly, this new technology creates better looking, healthier plants. Seed production did not show a significant difference.

Other important global crops besides wheat can also be "speed-bred". They include barley, pea, chickpea and canola. This is a significant increase compared with widely used commercial breeding techniques. On another globally conscious note, no carbon dioxide was added  in any of the experiments. Another benefit is the ability to understand specific plant genetic make-up. Speed-breeding as a platform can be combined with numerous other technologies such as gene editing to get to the end result faster. 

Increasing crop yields faster is not the only benefit. The ability to identify and react to plant diseases in the laboratory setting is priceless to the food industry. Understanding a plant's genetics allow scientista to customize each plant to its unique climate and growing seasons by targeting traits beneficial to growers.