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Subsequent generations of seeds resulting from this breeding will be returned to Earth and germinated in StarLab Oasis’s greenhouses. They will then be subjected to ills including drought, pathogens, poor soil, excessive heat and voracious insects. Those which best endure these assaults will be bred from in their turn, in the hope that something valuable emerges.

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/outer-space-offers-plant-breeders-some-curious-advantages/21807014


I don't know what does "from" mean here

  1. I was told "in (their) turn" means "each", then the sentence "those will be bred from each" doesn't make sense to me, "from" in unnecessary.

  2. I found an example sentence "bitches may not be bred from more than once a year." in lexico, also found another interpretation for "in their turn", which sounds like “in sequence" , again "from in sequence" still weird.

2 Answers 2

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They mean "bred from" in the sense of "used as breeding stock", so that future generations of seeds will be "bred from" the seeds being described here.

"In their turn" does in fact mean "in sequence" in this case. The new seeds that survive hardship will be selected for planting "in their turn", just like their parent plants' seeds were selected before them.

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  • sorry to ask again, you said "bred from", so "will be bred from" is not the passive voice?
    – wtdark
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 9:34
  • @wtdark yes, it is in the passive voice Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 22:37
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This often happens when an active voice clause using verb + preposition + object is put into the passive voice with the object becoming the subject. For example:

I passed by the store. <-- Active voice
The store was passed by. <-- Passive voice

You can see that the preposition ("by") gets stranded without an object. Something similar happens in your example:

We will breed from those which best endure these assaults . . . <-- Active voice
Those which best endure these assaults will be bred from . . . <-- Passive voice

"In their turn" is simply an adverbial prepositional phrase and does not directly have anything to do with this issue.

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  • Thank you, the only question is I can't find anywhere "breed from" as a phrase verb
    – wtdark
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 4:36
  • It is not necessarily a phrasal verb; "from" is simply used as a regular preposition. For example: "That mule was bred from a horse and a donkey." We could change "bred" to "produced", "created", etc. Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 4:45
  • Yes, and I was expecting it like "Those will be bred from XXX in their turn". In stead of XXX, it's "in their turn" after "from". That's why I asked the question wondering whether "in their turn" functions as a noun phrase.
    – wtdark
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 9:19

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