Crop improvement has always been, but will be even more so in the twenty-first century, an information intensive process. For effective and efficient improvement, a range of activities from molecular biology to genetics to indirect selection must now be involved. The rate of progress made by any breeding programme depends as much on the efficient integration of information from these activities as it does on the activities themselves. Plant breeders are now realizing the importance of innovative approaches that include the use of a range of molecular methods and their outputs, and the possibilities of transferring this information from model species to cultivated crops. The use of these high throughput methods in model crops has already generated a large amount of public resources such as databases containing genetic resource, genomic and genetic information; tools for the effective analysis, data mining and visualization of such information; and semantic web resources for data integration. In this chapter, we highlight the role and contributions of bioinformatics to crop research and breeding by focusing on the bioinformatics resources that are available for crop science research and breeding, and indicating gaps that need to be bridged that will allow scientists to access, transfer and integrate data with ease.
In: Molecular Techniques in Crop Improvement, Volume II (Jain SM, Brar DS, eds ). Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp 97–116. ISBN: 978-90-481-2966-9 (Print); 978-90-481-2967-6 (Online); DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2967-6_4