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Agriculture

Did you know hybrids make a Mojito?

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Lime and mint are essential ingredients of a good Mojito, both of which are hybrids. Limes result from ancient hybrids produced in different parts of the world by combining citrus varieties such as citron, mandarin orange, pomelo with micrantha*, a wild citrus from the Philippines. As for mint, hybridization occurs naturally and there are many recognized hybrid species, all in the botanical genus Mentha. The number of species is estimated to be 13 to 24 distributed across all continents.

Many fruits, vegetables, and cereals we eat today are also hybrids, including carrots, cauliflowers, apples, kiwis, lettuce and many more. Building on natural processes, hybrids are produced by selective breeding, combining desirable traits from different varieties. Besides making our food delicious and nutritious, plant breeding innovation contributes to reducing biodiversity loss by saving millions of hectares of land, and billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, through improving productivity [1].

 

* Lemon (Citrus medica), mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), pomelo (Citrus maxima), micrantha (Citrus hystrix var. micrantha)
[1] The socio-economic and environmental value of plant breeding in the EU - Euroseeds