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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Something new under the Arizona sun: a robotic revolution in plant breeding

On a bright, hot day this June in Arizona, a vehicle the size of a Golden Retriever, designed and constructed at the University of Illinois, rolls on miniature tank treads between two rows of young plants. A group of researchers, policy-makers, and farmers have gathered to see the early fruits of an unusual hybridization in modern agriculture: a crop of semi-autonomous robots designed to monitor the growth of sorghum and other crops, born of a cross between plant biology and engineering.

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