After overcoming the main disadvantages of the yellow lupin (hard seed coat, pod shattering, high alkaloid content), a great breeding progress has been achieved over a relatively short period. Further genetic improvement of cultivars of this species is justified by its importance in crop rotation, high protein content of seeds (about 45 %) and ability to grow on poor soils. Major achievements, present cultivar ideotypes and future breeding aims are presented in this paper. A review of investigations on the range of variation and the mode of inheritance of the breeding characters described so far is also included. The range of expression and the practical value of 43 alleles in 20 loci is presented for the following characters: alkaloid content, pod shattering, growth rhythm, colour of plants, flowers and seed coat, plant branching pattern, and resistance to diseases and abiotic stresses. Typelines and/or cultivars with the most characteristic expression of the described characters/alleles are considered (all available in the Polish Lupin Gene Bank). Presented are also the improvements made so far using tissue culture and biotechnology in all lupin species (because exclusive investigations on L. luteus were not numerous), including the following aspects: vegetative propagation, embryo culture, embryo rescue culture, haploidization, protoplasts and somatic hybridization and transformation.