This book comprises a series of contributions to the 19th Stadler Genetics Symposium, which was held in March 1989 at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA. The 22 chapters written by renowned scientists cover a vast area in the field of plant breeding from economic models of grain production to genetic modification by particle bombardment. Although the main theme of this book is genetic improvement of crop species in general, practically all papers deal or refer to examples with arable crops, particularly the cereals. Nevertheless, the broad framework of topics, from conventional plant breeding to biotechnology, provides a clear overview of the problems and strategies of up-to-date gene manipulation in plant improvement. The diversity of the topics shows that the editor has succeeded in his aim to illustrate these issues from different points of view. Although the conference was held 3 years ago, the items are still valid. All chapters are lucidly written and very accessible. Furthermore, the variation in form of the chapters, from reviews, and articles to laboratory protocols coupled with index at the end renders this book attractive to read.