The oil palm is a remarkable crop, producing around 40% of the world's vegetable oil from around 6% of the land devoted to oil crops. Conventional breeding has clearly been the major focus of genetic improvement in this crop. A mix of improved agronomy and management, coupled with breeding selection have quadrupled the oil yield of the crop since breeding began in earnest in the 1920s. However, as for all perennial crops with long breeding cycles, oil palm faces immense challenges in the coming years with increased pressure from population growth, climate change and the need to develop environmentally sustainable oil palm plantations.
In Oil Palm: Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, world leading organizations and individuals who have been at the forefront of developments in this crop, provide their insights and experiences of oil palm research, while examining the different challenges that face the future of the oil palm. The editors have all been involved in research and breeding of oil palm for many years and use their knowledge of the crop and their disciplinary expertise to provide context and to introduce the different research topics covered.