Dr. Williams continued to select plants that had characteristics most suitable for laboratory and classroom use, such as:
After about 20 years of planting, growing, and selecting, his breeding process had reduced a 6-month life cycle to 5 weeks. Further breeding refined the population of plants so they were relatively uniform in flowering time, size, and growing conditions - but the remaining variation among the plants is what serves today as the launching point for investigations in classrooms and research. The shortened life cycle has proven effective in reducing the time required for traditional breeding programs, which has led to advances in cellular and molecular plant research.
Today, over 150 genetic traits have been described that are useful in research, many of which are used in thousands of classrooms worldwide to study many aspects of plant growth and development.
For more information on the development of Fast Plants® and other rapid-cycling Brassicas, download the article from the Science journal: