A growing world population is demanding food and energy at the highest pace in the history of human kind. Plant biotechnology oriented to sustainable and competitive agriculture should lead a trail of innovation in order to address these emerging needs. The last decade has been characterized by the explosive accumulation of vast amounts of discoveries in the field of molecular biology. These achievements have paved the way for the advent of novel developments in plant biotechnology. Several new tools are being applied for genetic crop improvement every day, based on breakthrough versatile platforms that are increasing effectiveness and speed in the generation of new varieties of crops. The latest achievements are not only adaptations or improvements of modern techniques such as intra- and cis-genesis and accelerated breeding based on transgenics and null-segregants, meganucleases, and zinc finger nucleases; they are also the dawn of new disruptive technologies that are reshaping the paradigm of genetic improvement, as is the case with TALEN and CRISPR/Cas. Sitedirected genome editing is becoming precise, cost-effective, versatile, and fast. These new breeding platforms are leading the way to next generation biotechnology. This chapter discusses the most recent updates and developments of new breeding techniques, paradigmatic achievements, future perspectives, and challenges in the context of plant biotechnology.
Keywords: Accelerated breeding, CRISPR/Cas, Genome editing, Intra-cisgenesis, Meganucleases, Oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis, Reverse breeding, Site-specific nucleases, Targeted mutagenesis, Transcription activator-like effectors nucleases, Zinc finger nucleases.